Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My First Craft Fair!

I seriously thought I had typed this up already, but apparently, I was wrong. About 3 weeks ago, I participated in my first craft fair with my baby items. I had done this craft fair in the past with my jewelry and dream catchers, but this was the first public event for my baby boutique.

My mom and I had worked this craft fair together for the past 3 years. She had worked it for years before that, but I joined her more recently. I like this one because there is a minimal fee for booth rental and then a portion of your sales goes to help the youth group (the craft fair takes place at a church/private school). If you don't sell much, you aren't out any more than the small investment to rent your space.

We like to set up in booths that run between aisles. This gives us extra space to display our wares, one table on either side of the booth area. One of my tables was dedicated to my diaper cakes and baby gifts.

The weeks preceding the fair, I drove up to the Dallas area where my mom lives and the fair took place. I didn't travel with many diaper cakes but worked on the projects there and ended up with three each of 3-tier cakes, 2-tier cakes, and baby buggies. For each type of baby gift I had a girl, a boy, and a gender neutral gift. I arrived with only the 2-tier gender neutral cake and the girl buggy which was my first inventory item.

I'll give a short description of the items I created for the sale.

Baby Buggies:
The baby buggies are made with hand rolled diapers to make up the shape. A receiving blanket, wash cloths, and burp cloth are added for the outer shape and pattern. Ribbon finishes off the buggies. I have made buggies with extra baby items on them, but all the ones I created for this craft fair were the basic buggy design.

2-tier Diaper Cakes:
I arrived in the Dallas area with a gender neutral 2-tier diaper cake. This cake was a bath themed cake that included hooded bath towels, wash cloths and baby bath items. To add to that, I built two additional 2-tier cakes: one boy cake and one girl cake. The girl cake  was a mint green, pink, and lavender cake that had receiving blankets, wash cloths, teethers, and a rattle included to decorate the hand rolled diaper structure. The boy cake meant entering new territory for me since it was the first time I had incorporated a bottle into one of my diaper cakes. The boy cake included receiving blankets, wash cloths, and pacifiers plus the bottle to decorate the hand rolled diaper base.

3-tier Diaper Cakes: 

I had to start from scratch on my three 3-tier cakes since I didn't even have one to start my display for the fair. The girl cake included the most diapers since the blankets used were larger than standard receiving blankets. Hand-rolled diapers formed the tiers for the cake which were then decorated with the blankets. Teethers, socks, and wash cloths were added and a carrier toy topped the cake off. The boy cake looked to be the largest because the diapers I used for it were size 3. I will typically use size 1 diapers in my cakes, but occasionally there will be a reason to use larger ones and that is what I had in stock. The boy cake, again incorporated hand-rolled diapers that were stacked for the tiers. I had a great set of navy blue blankets for this cake and I love the way they look on the final product. I added socks, wash cloths, baby powder, and a carrier toy to finish the cake. My 3-tier gender neutral cake was the standard green and yellow. Hand-rolled diapers created the structure which was then wrapped in coordinating gender neutral receiving blankets. I added teethers, wash cloths, baby bath products and a carrier toy to finish this cake.

 I was happy with the inventory I created for the craft fair and I only hoped it would be enough. I also brought along with me, my product catalog which demonstrates the other baby gifts I can make and a description of the items typically included in each one. My original plan was to bring shrink wrap with me and package the diaper cakes as they sold. I felt, and still do, that once they are wrapped, it is harder to see the detail on each cake, but that the wrapping is really necessary for the finished look. Since electricity was a potential problem (as in, we may not have any), I went ahead and started wrapping as many as I could. Unfortunately, I had a shortage of the shrink wrap, so only a few of the cakes were done. In the end, I decided it worked out better that way so customers could see the detail on the cakes without the wrapping and how the finished product looked. Each of the cakes was also accompanied by a card that listed the items included so recipients would have that information as well as my information which was printed on the back.

At the fair I felt I had a pretty nice set up. My display took of plenty of space without being too cluttered. I had a lot of positive response for my diaper cakes and multiple people asking for my card. Unfortunately, I didn't have any business card with me, but I figured it was just as well since I wasn't local to the area. Many of those interested loved my work, but said they didn't know anyone who was expecting currently, so I missed potential sales in that respect. I do wish that I had done a little bit better, but most of the vendors had low sales over the weekend. The most popular cake seemed to be the 3-tier gender neutral cake. I sold the boy buggy to a young woman whose boss is expecting a baby. I did enjoy my time there and I definitely hope to return in the future with my diaper cakes. In the mean time, I have a decent inventory in stock ready and available for sale. I also hope to find some local show and craft fairs that I may be able to participate in where I can get my name out, and this time, I have business cards ready to go!

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