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Thread: Rock the Village

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
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    7,890

    Rock the Village

    Last night my daughter-in-law Kelly and I shared a vendor booth at The Village at Meridian's open air concert series, "Rock the Village". It was a great experience if not a profitable one. We had lots of people stop by and admire our wares but not enough of them turned into customers.

    The evening started out on the scary side with the weather radar showing very strong thunder storms to our south and the weather service issuing flash flood warnings for both counties south of our position. Strong winds made the set up of our canopy a bit of an adventure and it must have been obvious to any observer that we were rank amatures at this!

    Eventually we got everything set up and we're open for business. There was a tremendous number of people there. Thousands attend these events that feature different performers each Friday evening during the summer.

    We entertained lots of very nice people but noticed lots of people stopping outside the booth and gazing in. As we watched the traffic at nearby booths we noticed that those with their product pushed out to the front of the booth were engaging more people in conversation about their products. We realized that there must be a certain psychological 'commitment' to coming into a booth that many were not willing to make. So, next week we will be arranging things differently and see if our sales improve!



    Oddly enough, this fellow on the other side of the courtyard selling toilet paper holders and dog food cabinets was selling and had already made back the cost of the space for the four weeks he will be there!

    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,992
    You definitely have a lot of good looking items in your booth, Rennie. Better visibility might be a factor, but keep an eye on the smalls and sticky fingers!

    Good luck next time!!!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,008
    Nice wares, but you're right about people and their reluctance to go inside a booth. I'd suggest a front table with some of your showcase pieces, and a few smalls to show that you have some lower-priced offerings, too.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    3,019
    When I walk around those places I am one of those gazing - from a distance". WHY do that? Because I don't want the vendor to engage me into "conversation" (upselling).

    I also notice the money flows freely in the food vendors booths. There is FAR more money in Hot Dogs, chips and soda.

    Your booth looks great and I would have stepped in to get a closer look.

    I really like craft shows - go to several per year.

    I am a cheap yankee, and I don't pull money out of pocket. I would rather put it in.

    I like to observe - where the money is flowing.

    I talk to the vendors sometimes - but the topic is more about their sales and business, and a little about the product.

    I have watched some of them setup and break down.

    Some of them have a serious investment into their small business.

    I dream about selling small affordable, but attractive signs to the crafters for their booths.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    Leo, the food and beverage vendors typically pay a lot more for their booth space than the artisans, at least at the shows I've done. Still, I think they make decent money.

    Regarding the cost of the booth setup, it's real easy to spend $1000 getting the canopy, tables, table covers, display stands, and decorations put together for a booth.

    Oh, and upselling is when you've agreed to buy something and the salesman tries to sell you something more. Engaging you in conversation is an attempt at the initial sale, not the upsell.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,698
    Very nice looking stuff! A few tweaks in the marketing strategy and by all rights it ought to be flying off the shelves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Nice wares, but you're right about people and their reluctance to go inside a booth. I'd suggest a front table with some of your showcase pieces, and a few smalls to show that you have some lower-priced offerings, too.
    Yeah, if I have to get to close I start feeling obligated... so I avoid booths that look like that. Having some draw pieces more on the outside suckers people like me in I think its actually easier to keep an eye on everything when its in the front as well because you don't have to watch the back of the booth.

    Don't forget to use some simple marketing strategies like price bracketing and anchoring to change the perceived value point of the rest of the items.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0809078813 "Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)" by Poundstone is a good (or at least pretty much the original) book on this and will repay your investment in it in about one decent show
    https://fizzle.co/sparkline/most-common-pricing-mistake has some quick examples to illustrate the points as does http://www.helpscout.net/blog/pricing-strategies/ but isn't nearly as complete as the whole book.

    I think the main thing I'm seeing is a possible lack of lower priced "draw" items (where lower priced lands depends on the venue but based on the paper holders guy sales..), although it may be that the jewelry will fit that niche well enough in general I think having some contrasting priced items in the wood section might help sales there. For instance I'd probably have a set or two of coasters next to the fancy cutting boards to provide a price baseline. My bet would be that you'd sell some of those because they would look like a bargain next to the boards and more cutting boards as well because it would pull people in to look at them.

    Looking forward to hearing you're having a great round of sales on the next one!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,247
    Nothing ventured nothing gained is what i say.

    Your lack of sales success is not a function of anything being wrong with your product. Rather its a wrong location/ or product mix for the location.

    First lesson in retail is "location, location, location".

    Then ask yourself how many people attend a Rock the village community occasion intent on making an impulse buy in your price range, then that they would have to carry around with them. The whole environments mood/vibe is not conducive to selling your quality of output.

    I am sorry it did not pan out like you would have hoped.
    But that's the point. Hope is not a marketing strategy. Hope is also not a marketing/sales plan.
    A crowd is not the basis of a customer base either.
    Ryan provided some great links to a few books that if purchased or borrowed / acquired second hand and perused would help you move forward with better success.

    I suspect you had your arm twisted by certain ladies in your life to expose your wares at the venue to help soften the cost of the booth.

    As to your clocks i would not display multiples of them at one time. It takes away the uniqueness and lowers the perceived value. They need to be seen as one of a kind craft pieces. Not batched production. They lovely pieces worthy of a good price and lots of sales. But if you merchandize them in this way you lowered the value.
    My apologies for my directness but it aint going to help you for us to be mushy if we want you to be successful. And i believe in you and your work and believe a customer should be so lucky as to be able to acquire a piece of your work so want nothing more than to see you have sales in abundance beyond your wildest dreams.

    Dont be discouraged. See this a school fees. You gonna pay them one way or another.
    Key thing is do as we did when we were starting to walk as toddlers, get back up dust off , get going again. We never learn to walk on first go, we never rode a bike without falling and selling and marketing is the same.

    Rennie invest some coin in marketing yourself and your etsy store online.

    Rennie i believe your urns have serious potential do more marketing of them like you did way back when u first made them. Look at having parts outsourced to someone with cnc to make them more cost effective for distribution. Pm me if you wish to discuss.
    Best of luck with next adventure.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
    Posts
    4,351
    Rennie,
    My booth is usually set up similar to yours.. I use a "U" shape... a table down one side, one at the back and an "A" frame(Ladder type) arrangement on the other side.. I have peppermills, wine glasses on wood stems, kerosine oil lamps, bottle stoppers and bowls in my booth... no pens any more, just got tired of making them... when I see that a show has a music theme like yours, I generally will avoid them... people come to see the musicians and hear them rather than to shop... I do a weekly farmer's market in Knoxville that's about 120 vendors... about half are farmers and food trucks, the rest are crafts... it's relatively inexpensive to set up there and usually I do okay... not always great, but okay.

    I keep my most attractive items out along the front of the booth and then move others to the back side... I generally have pretty good luck with people coming into the booth. I try to stay to the back and greet everyone as they come in... sometimes I do have to invite them in if they're standing outside looking in... lots of fun.

    As Vaughn, it's costly to get set up... I bought my tent (an EZ-UP canopy) some years back from SAM's, my tables came from Lowe's... they're the 6' folding tables... a little cumbersome to handle, but sturdy... my ladder type racks I built myself with lumber from Lowe's and have them painted -- by now several times -- I have 3 folding book cases that sit on one table I got from Amazon and I also use two folding corner baker's racks that I picked up at Hobby Lobby... I think $1000 is probably pretty close to the total expense.

    At my farmer's market, the farmer's and the food trucks do pretty well... people walk about eating the entire time.

    This isn't at the farmer's market, it actually at a local marina where I did a show the first of June, but it's the latest picture I have of my booth.
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    Last edited by Chuck Ellis; 07-13-2015 at 01:20 PM.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    That's a pretty nice looking booth to Chuck.

    I notice you have some bowls out front, have you found those pull in best? My guess is that at most of these things some fancy pulls but mostly mid priced sells?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    That's a pretty nice looking booth to Chuck.

    I notice you have some bowls out front, have you found those pull in best? My guess is that at most of these things some fancy pulls but mostly mid priced sells?
    I agree on Chuck's booth. Looking good, buddy!

    Ryan, I generally put a few "showcase" pieces up front, but had others scattered on the tables deeper in the booth. Most of the showcase pieces were on battery powered display turntables to make them catch people's attention. I think that helped draw people in. And all the showcase pieces were priced high...I wasn't real anxious to sell them. Still sold a few of them over time. Once had a college-aged kid in Malibu who walked in, asked no questions, picked up a $280 bowl and turned it over to see the price, then reached in his wallet, took out three $100 bills and said "I'll take it."

    I also did as Chuck does and generally hung out at the back of the booth, greeting people as the come by. And I always told people "feel free to pick anything up...it's all meant to be touched". That seemed to help people relax a bit.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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