Monday, July 21, 2008

The Trip to Atlanta in All its Un-Glory

Okay so I learned a few things when I was down there about doing craft shows. Some things I discovered that would have made me happy, but the show didn't turn out so good. Here's what went down piece-by-piece.

The Show Itself:

The show itself was a flop to say the least. Firstly, there was hardly no one there attending. This was a very big decline from last year. Last year there were at least a few hundred people in all. There had to be at least 30 vendors as well. This year there was maybe 10 vendors and we were the only ones from out of town. I think it had more to do with gas prices and people just not having enough money to travel from far away on the hope of making that money back. So basically the locals attended and I was highly disappointed at the turnout.

We got there Friday before noon and tried to check into the hotel, which didn't have the two rooms ready. They had only one room available even though two rooms had been booked. We were so mad. We each had to take turns going in and taking showers and freshening up from the drive. Once we got that done we checked back with the front desk to have the lady tell us that the rooms would be ready by the time we returned. Okay fine. We left to attend Jumuah (muslim Friday services). Once we got there we were fooled into thinking the turnout would be fine. It was just because we were all crammed into the Morris Brown Gymnasium. Once jumuah was over we saw that some people had set up their tables already to start selling. Most of them were food vendors so we got some food and decided that we should go back to the hotel, get a good nights sleep and start fresh in the morning.

When we got back to the hotel we saw there were a whole lot of people waiting to get in. It was a family reunion and it was a LOT of them. We went up to the front desk to see what the status of the rooms were. Surprise surprise they weren't ready. Then the manager had the nerve to say they weren't reserved and no one had paid which was a complete lie. So after about 30 minutes haggling with him we got some rooms.

That Saturday we set out for day 2 of the show. We got there fairly early and began setting up the canopy and the tables. That took about an hour and a half to do. People starting coming in and the day started deceptively well. We figured that as the hours ticked by more people would show. They didn't. We all were very disappointed by that.

Things I learned:

1) My product and spiel is much improved from last year to this year. I would say an average of 80% of the people that visited the table bought something. Under optimal conditions this is excellent for a seller at a show. However, because of the low turnout and the fact that my target market was not present this didn't give me a whole lot to work with. The profit margins on soap is relatively low, so if a sell 10 things I haven't made that much money. I tried to draw attention to my pricier gift sets, but people just didn't have the money. The good news is that I was able to talk more about the product thusly making people more interested in it. It was unspeakably hot, so I could ill afford to be long winded while people stood in the hot sun. I had little time to make an impact and I was able to do that. The bad news was that I can't sell soap to the same 10 people over and over, lol!

2) Always stand to greet customers as they approach the table. Never sit. It seems to make people walk away faster as if you are not acknowledging their presence. Always stand to greet them and immediately began the sales pitch. Not too pushy, just start extolling the virtues of your product. The more you say about it the more you can pick up on what they want to hear and say more of that. For example, I started talking about how good handmade soap is for the skin. I started talking about people's sensitivities to color and fragrance, and I was able to pick up on the ones who had sensitive skin and market my color-free fragrance-free soap to them. Others I could tell liked fragrance if they picked up the lotion and sniffed, so I was able to market the fragrance soap to them. In short, learn to quickly read your customers. The more good stuff you can say in a short time, the more likely they are to show strong interest for later or buy something right then.

3) Learn which customers are totally not interested in your products. You can tell when a person is just looking and when they are interested. For those uninterested people speak kindly to them and do not start the sales pitch. They just walk away mid-sentence or get an uncomfortable look on their faces as they wish you'd shut up.

The Overall Trip and Stone Mountain:

The overall trip was quite enjoyable despite not making as much money as I'd hoped. We even enjoyed Monday morning at Stone Mountain! Here are some pics.

This is a pic of the carving on the side of the mountain. Sorry I forgot who they said the people were. I wasn't listening. It was inexpensive to get in there. It was only like $25 to get in each adult, and with a Krogers card you could get like $5 off. My sister and I wanted to go to Six Flags but our husbands are lame and didn't want to go, but the mountain was cool though. It was a toss up between this and Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. We chose this so we wouldn't have to stop once we got on the road. I want to take a trip where we go the same route and stop at all the cave attractions that litter Kentucky and Tennessee, and stop at Lookout Mountain. Here are some more pics and a video that's also up on youtube.

1 comment:

kristina said...

that stone carving picture is very cool