Monday, October 3, 2011

Cider Days Topeka, KS 9/24-25/2011

I had high hopes for Cider Days. I had heard this was a HUGE event and thought surely out of the sheer numbers of people I should have a successful show based on the numbers. At this show I joined forces with several friends. My friend recently opened an Etsy store, HeatherMelody, selling her beautiful jewelery. This was her first craft show so I went as support, and because she thought she couldn't fill an entire booth. Hind sight being 20/20, she shouldn't have invited as many people to join her in the booth as she did, because the space was not as big as we thought it would be. Now that she has layed out all of her product and displayed it she now has the confidence that she can fill a booth by herself!

Anyway, on to the review of Cider Days. There were a lot of people there.  There was a high potential to do very well, but we missed the boat. Our display set up on Saturday was horrible. The booth looked crowded, we had 4 people trying to man a booth that could have been handled by 1 person, and we had a giant board displaying the HeatherMelody jewelery that covered up the fact there was a table behind it. Despite all of OUR mistakes, the administrators of this craft show also made several mistakes.

The quality of booths allowed to be inside the Expo center were mislead to us. We were told there would not be food allowed inside... there was. We were told everything was to be handmade... it wasn't. There were several booths near us with items made in India and China. I know that some people take a store bought item and personalize it or add a little something special to it, which is a touchy subject to some people. The hard part was that there were several booths selling hair flowers and headbands like we were that had their marked at 3 for $10, well if you are making a quality product, there is no way you can sell it at those prices. So we were under cut quite a bit with these less than handmade booths.

Other complaints we had about this show were we still haven't received a receipt for tax purposes, when it came time for tear down the expo center workers were in the way taking down the dividers. Those people were getting PAID to be there, we were not! Let us tear down our things BEFORE you start cleaning up for your job! They also didn't have the consideration to get out of the way when we would pass them with arms full of things. RUDE!

This was a two day event, Saturday was filled with people, but Sunday was basically customer free. It turned out that there were several major events and other big craft shows in Topeka that weekend that may have taken potential visitors away. Since we are not from Topeka we didn't know about this other events until we got there.

As we visited with other vendors during the day on Sunday, because there was PLENTY of time, we found that they were also not happy with the goings on of the day and the weekend.

Even though this event turned out to be a financial disaster for the 4 of us, we learned invaluable lessons from it. Who knew there was such a thing as a show that is too big? Not Me!! I also know now that being in a jewelery booth with my unique items (I spy bag) might be a little tough on sales, unless I bring my item to the front of the booth. People have seen tons of jewelery in their lives, but they may have not seen an I spy bag before. Lessons learned and now it is time to go on with more shows and improve! I love learning and improving! Biggest lessons learned for me? Topeka is a cruel mistress, and has always mistreated me, so I will NEVER do a show there again! Lesson learned! :)