So yes! Beary Naise Co. participated in our first big-scale craft fair last Saturday with Public Garden and here are some reflections about the event.
On the crowd
I think the fact that the massive craft fair was held at Suntec Convention Hall and attracted a lot more people made my experience a very enjoyable one. There was a constant stream of people and although not everyone was interested in handcrafted bags and pouches, there were people who loved them.
Maybe I didn’t get a lot of teenage customers, but I could see that the majority of the shoppers were around 20-40s and female.
A lot of people were buying handmade jewellery and accessories!! I think we were lucky to be sandwiched between two jewellery booths and hence the crowd “spilled over”. Haha people will be like, eh why there so crowded??
On the mix of sellers and goods
I think there were at least 200 booths that day, with sellers from all over Asia. All very popular on their own already. I did not have a chance to walk around but only could walk past some booths on my way to the washroom.
There were booths selling bags, cushions, brooches, gift cards, terrariums, accessories, jewellery, totes…. anything! It can get quite daunting, but I chose to be excited instead. Haha..
Most importantly, I told myself not to compare with others, as this is my own journey. What I love about handcrafted items is that they are a product of your individual creativity and nobody else can take that away from you. So, I remained upbeat and focused on selling to my lovely target customers.
On Public garden’s organising committee
Pretty fuss-free. Quick confirmation and verification from the start, probably because I booked a booth very early on – about two months beforehand. I had time to visit their smaller scale fairs at SOTA to check out the buzz, and to picture myself setting up a booth amongst the sellers.
On the day itself, they were at the front door to welcome vendors, and show us to our booths. Our booths are allocated by them. There are pros and cons to that, pro being that you don’t have to go super early to snatch a good place, and con is, you can’t choose where you want to set up booth. But I kinda prefer the booth to be allocated, because that’s one less thing to worry about.
To be honest, two months ago, I didn’t know if I was ready to do a fair. When I saw Public Garden‘s invitation to join this big-scale event, I was a little apprehensive because I literally had NO products on hand. But you know lah, I was very curious. All I did was send an email to ask about more information and it went like this…
“….. Hi! I am interested in renting a booth at the Suntec Convention Centre, by when must I sign up? Do I apply at the public-garden.com website using the contact form?…..”
(You know.. just ask only.)
Then they replied,
“…Hi Zoe, Thanks for supporting us :) We have reserved one booth for your team and will send over payment details shortly. Hope to see you at Public Garden!…”
OKAY, that escalated quickly. Then I was too embarrassed to say, eh no la I was just asking!
And with that, I serendipitously booked myself a booth at Public Garden at their largest event to date!
But two months later, I am so glad that the swift action taken by Public Garden committee has pushed me to really, setting goals for myself, and snap out of the procrastination phase that I had been dwelling in.
Thank you guys! Now that I have gained traction, I’m never going back!
Things I learned from running my own craft booth
It’s really important to plan the layout of the booth the night before, so that you can set up quickly. The fair starts promptly, people were already streaming in but some booths were still setting up.
It’s also important to observe the flow of crowd and then to adjust your items if necessary. For e.g., are more people walking from your left or right? Initially, we placed our bags to face the right side as we thought people would walk from <——, but about 15 mins into the fair, we realised that people were walking from the —–> direction! Hence we adjusted our bags to face more to the left side to capture their attention, and it worked as more people stopped by our booth.
I’d really love to build my display props upwards, but I don’t have enough products yet for extensive display shelving yet. But check out my cute DIY stand (handmade by Hammy) with rope to display my Lip Balm Pouchettes! That really caught people’s eye and interest. I look forward to adding more height using display props/shelves when my inventory gets larger. :)
I discovered my potential customers’ wants, and got ideas for new products. Simply because some people were attracted to my booth, but did not get anything. All I had to do was to ask them, “would you have been interested if this was made into (another product)….?” Most of the time, after you’ve established a friendly relationship with the shopper, they are quite willing to share with you their thoughts on your products. The thing is you must be willing to accept their opinion (because you asked for it). Do not be defensive and start promoting your own products again when they had already indicated that those are not what they are looking for.
Craft fairs are really a chance to interact with your customers, observe, and still observe. Who are the people attracted to your booth? Who are the people actually buying your products? Their age group and preferences. This is a good chance to discover new information that you never knew about your own products and store. For us, it was really an eye-opener because we went with an open heart and got more than we bargained for.
We managed to recoup the booth rental fee, material fees, and a bit to treat ourselves to a nice hearty dinner afterwards. Not only that, we also gave out more than half of our name cards, and are already receiving emails to customise new products. Not bad for a first time!
Sales is important (cuz need to recoup rental fee), but don’t fret if you did not manage to do it. Because what’s important is that you get your name out there, and for people to know that your brand exists. People who don’t buy on the day itself may shop from your online store days or even months later, or will think of you when they need a particular product. That in itself, is already some sort of success.
So yup, I’m really thankful for this experience and it’s amazing how things just fall into place. Thanks to Hammy for his constant support and help, we managed to pull this off. Also thanks to the lovely shoppers at Public Garden for being so sweet, and 3 crazy ladies who dropped by with their support. Haha, thank you.
I’d like to do this again, but venue is very important. MUST HAVE AIRCON.
Cheers to more with Beary Naise Co..