Like I originally posted in the beginning of this blog, it’s about the lessons learning while growing a crafting empire online. Not all stories are going to be riddled with Fabulous Moments and this weekend certainly isn’t a fairytale story ending in huge success and pockets filled with money… Here’s the story and take the lessons to heart as you persue your empire.
To protect the organization I was part of this weekend, I am not going to mention the name of it.
- Several weeks ago I was starting to get skiddish about the show itself.
- I was sending emails of questions with no responses from the organizers.
- The website hadn’t been updated though it claimed to be updating every 48 hours. In fact, it hadn’t been updated for 6 – 7 weeks.
- As a vendor, I questioned… is something wrong? Is the show still a go?
- I suggested giving away free tickets with my audience, with no response from the organizers about this topic.
- Nearly 2 months has gone by and last conversations were that I was to be at the event the day before to set up my area.
- I packed my car up, decided to check the website again and it had been updated. The event was severly downsized to 19 vendors from 72. The hall was snapped in half by 3. If I hadn’t checked… I would have been there a day early as they times changed, day of movement pushed later by 1 day. I felt I was on the outside looking in, at an event that I am participating with.
- In the entire time, I never seen one advertisement other than myself promoting the event. I thought to myself… who else knows about this event?
I got to the show to unload. It’s now 11am, I am one of the first to set up. 1pm comes around… most of the hall is still empty… 2pm, vendors are just arriving starting to set up. 3pm, late vendors arriving. One poor woman and her husband sat outside in their car waiting for the opening of the show. Paid $5.00 each to get in and walked through a show partially set up.
Friday afternoon and up until 8pm. DEAD ZONE… There were more vendors than consumers… we all sat nearly 2 hours at the end of the night knitting and doing my own thing.
One vendor came in from North Carolina and San Fransico… severely ticked off by the attendance. They paid to fly out, hotels, products were shipped at extra expense. Only to get to a show to sit around.
Saturday Morning Rolls around… no consumers… we had some at lunch time and was trickling throughout the afternoon with 15 – 30 minutes in between consumers. A bowling ball could be thrown down the aisles without hitting anyone. Vendors are bitching… and thinking what can be done differently.
Saturday Afternoon rolls and the crowd is nothing to write home about. Vendors have come to a conclusion the show is a bust. Daniel and I left prompty at 4pm closing reading to come back in the morning.
Sunday Morning comes around… A few vendors had packed up the night before and left leaving the event half empty. Organizers scrambling to come up with solutions. Sunday Morning passes by with no consumers. This caused an entire section to be abandoned and leaving the facility half empty.
Everyone is unhappy. Organizers have lost money, vendors have lost money and people are now questioning what happened?
There could be a number of issues to why an event is low attended:
- Too focused on a specific topic or idea.
- Too much of a clique or exclusive which keeps outsiders from wanting to participate.
- Price of venue.
- Too Many Events in the same region on the same day or too close to the same day.
- No one cares about it.
Many have their own reasons for attending a crafting / trade show. Two major reasons are.
- It is their business and the show must produce a profit because it’s feeding families at home.
- It’s exposure to their business which creates interest at the show and further business after the show.
Many people have adapted that a show is a lost leader. You loose money putting on a show, but the aftermat of the show picks up the slack due to your involvement. This could be like like aftermarket sales.
- What is the expected attendance?
- What does the volume of the show impact your business. Would a show of 1000 people be better than 20,000? Some claim that a lower attended show is better for them because it’s more intimate and the buyers could be more serious.
- Is the show bringing in your demographics? If the knitters are 80 years old, are they willing to adapt to the brand new yarns on the market or do they prefer the same yarns they have been using for 40 years?
- What do you bring to the show that makes a difference from other vendors?
Reality is this… new shows are a hit or miss. Are the organizers ready for the work involved? Have they covered there basis? Are they providing value for the booth space provided?
I would rather spend 4 times the money for a show knowing the show has a known attendance rate. Larger attendance means my audience or target audience has a greater chance of being at the venue.
Location is everything… if the venue is harder to get to or in the middle of no where with no pre-establish basis… I would avoid those shows.
Know your market… I’m looking for the hip granny or modern mom who is open to new ideas and change. I connect with that even if they never buy anything. My mission is to encourage creavity as I believe that is my selling feature and not neccessarily the dollars.