Happy Monday, fellow bloggers.
With the pleasantries out of the way, let me begin my tale of woe.
Mind you, I am usually one of those glass-is-always-half-full kinda gals, so when I do go on a rant, it's either for letting off a little built-up steam or to get a chuckle.
This time it's a little of both.
Yesterday I attended a well-intended fundraiser as a vendor. The vendor booth fee went directly to the fundraiser, which made me feel good. (See how I'm staying positive?) And, yes, I actually sold some items to cover the cost of the vendor fee. (Barely.) And I "may" have made one solid contact with a potential new customer. This is usually the case at every event I have attended in my five years as a Close To My Heart consultant.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about today.
It's the whole vendor/trade show dynamic that's interesting to me. Here we are, all the same women moving from show to show, selling our wares. We've learned each other's names and networked over the years. It's actually very nice. Do we get customers this way? Not usually. We walk around and check out each other's booths, chatting lightly, exchanging business cards, but don't usually buy from one another. We're there to make money, not spend it, right?
Initially I enjoy the excitement of setting up my booth alongside the rest of them. We're all hustling and bustling, unloading our boxes, making our area pretty, commenting on one another's displays. It's fun, I have to say, and every time I set up at one of these I think to myself, "Maybe this will be my best show yet. People will flock to my booth and love everything they see and buy lots of it.... maybe I should have made more items... what if I run out?!"....
Ha-ha. You silly fool.
This particular event drew a fairly big crowd, I have to say. Probably the most I've experienced at any show. Women mostly, which was perfect. I was feeling encouraged by the crowd flow.
But as I sat and watched shoppers stop at my booth, pick up several items, ooh and ahh over everything complimenting my "beautiful work" then place them back down and walk away, I was left to wonder...
Are my prices too high?
Is my artwork not truly as beautiful as they said?
Did I forget to put on deodorant?
I'm telling you, I don't get it. Every single person (minus the four who actually purchased something) picked something up, reacted the same adoring way, set it down, and walked off.
I sat there screaming at them in my head, "WAIT! You said you LOVED it! You said how CUTE it was! How clever it was! What happened?!! Where are you GOING?!!!...."
It's a mystery still.
Do they just not have a use for my items? Who doesn't have a friend or relative that wouldn't love to have a handmade card or mini album made by Annette Green?
Apparently I'm not yet as famous as I might have thought.
There are always a few people who don't give you a single glance as they walk right passed. I don't even mind that. I prefer it actually. They know what they like, and it ain't your stuff. S'all good.
And there's always a few that are bold enough to declare to their friend right in front of you, with a mild form of disgust, that they "don't like crafts." Or "I don't have time for scrapbooking."
Again in my head I'm screaming, "DON'T HAVE TIME?! I've done all the work FOR YOU! For goodness sake, all you have to do is slap a few pictures into my already-made, apparently not-as-beautiful-as-people-are-saying mini album!"
There were a few fleeting moments of glee when I would make a sale, then two more, then another. But over all, not a huge success. It simply boils down to the question of "Do you enjoy doing these shows? Is it worth it?" I'm sure there are a few gung-ho consultants out there who would say YES. Any little bit helps, any contact you make can lead to more. Maybe I'm just getting old? Or just plain tired?
As a designer and artist, I often make the mistake of trying to imagine what people like, then making that. When what I should be doing instead is making what I like. There's got to be at least a handful of lunatics out there that like the same stuff I do.
But I digress...
Definitely feeling discouraged this morning and trying to figure out what the heck to do with all these "cute" things I made, but I keep remembering one great thing from all of this...
I spent the day with one of my favorite people on the planet, my daughter Jamie, who was surprisingly happy to help and to keep me company all day at my booth. We giggled all day together, and that certainly made it a wonderful day after all.