May 28, 2013

Renegade Austin: Recap

I’ll apologize in advance for the murky photos, because the room where Renegade was held in the Palmer Center was essentially a big warehouse, so the lighting wasn’t the best.

I ended up bringing about 160 items with me to the fair, because I wasn’t sure how things would go, and since I knew there was the potential for a lot of people to come through, I figured it was better to have too much rather than too little (because I could always sell the excess in my Etsy shop).  I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, because I wanted a little more variety by including a few different sizes of metal frame clutches, 40” x 40” baby quilts, etc. But considering the still-crazy workload at my full time job, plus the pregnancy, plus other family commitments, I just didn’t have enough time or energy.

My friend Heather was a godsend and helped me put together my booth the day before I left. She supplied a couple of the props, and also helped me make signs with her fancy Cameo printer thingy. The case for the box pouches is actually the shoe organizer from my closet. I decided it would be perfect for the pouches (and it was), so I violently ripped it from my closet and dumped all my shoes out (which still remain in a giant pile on my closet floor).

Overall I did pretty well, especially for my first time out. After talking to a lot of other vendors, most of whom do several stops on the Renegade tour, I found out that not only is the Austin show one of the slowest in general, but this year was particularly dead. There were a lot of graduations going on that weekend, plus we had 4 other events at the Palmer Center to compete with. Given all of that, I think I was really lucky to have made my money back plus a little extra. If nothing else, it was a really fun vacation! Ray had never been to Austin before, and he loved it. Especially when we went out to Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood  - he was in HEAVEN with the brisket and pecan pie!

In case you’re considering Renegade or another craft fair, here's a quick summary of what worked well for me:

  • By far my best sellers were the box pouches, key fobs, and surprisingly the Strap Clutches, which were one of my most expensive items. 
  • People really liked when the box pouches, flat zip pouches were lined with a laminate/PUL to keep makeup, toiletries, etc. from staining the interior. Huge selling point!
  • While the chevrons and bright colors drew people in, they ended up buying the items made with more unique, one of a kind prints like Melody Miller, Joel Dewberry Aviary, Lizzy House Outfoxed, etc.
  • The key fobs were a great way to get people into my booth. A lot of people were there looking for small, cute gift items, so I put the key fobs right near the front of my booth where people could see them as they passed by. I could have charged more, and several people encouraged me to, but my marketing ploy was to have a quick, cheap item people could easily hand a $5 bill over for, and it definitely worked. I sold 22 out of 30 key fobs, and made a good profit on them even at $5 since they only cost about $0.80/each to make. And since most people had at least $5 in cash on them, I didn’t have to pay any credit/debit card fees. And once I had them in my booth, a good portion of people ended up buying additional items after they had the Fob in their “cart”.
  • There is a shortage of hand-sewn items at events like these, so I was lucky and didn't have much competition unlike the vendors who sold jewelry, soap/beauty products, and art prints. This was VERY encouraging to me, and should be to you too!


I'm glad it went well! Love the stall :-)

So glad it went well because of all the effort you went to and it's gutting if you make a tonne of stuff and then don't cover your pitch money. The stall looks fab!!

Your booth looked so pretty with all those cute goodies you had whipped up! The use of the shoe closet for your pouches is so clever and awesome! I am sure every customer had a blast there!

Your booth looked amazing, from what I can tell! I wish I had been able to come see it in person, but I'm glad to hear you did well. I miss you!

Awesome advice for those of us toying with idea of craft fairs. I'm glad your trip was worthwhile. Plus, a side trip for BBQ is my idea of (sing-song voice) heav-en!

I think the photos still came out fairly well. Smart use of the shoe organizer from your closet. Sorry to hear that things were so quiet at the show. Thanks for the tips, it is really interesting to hear these stories for anyone selling really anything, good point about the hand-sewn pieces.

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