Two Seaside Babes participated as a vendor in Carmel Fest 2009. It was my first show and I was quite pleased with how well it went, considering the amount of money I spent preparing for it and the time getting ready. It was a wonderful opportunity to get out and sell my product in person, to network with other crafters and professionals, and to enjoy the sites of the festival. The first day was wonderfully sunny but the second day rained. Regardless, I still consider it a wonderful success.
I was excited how my booth setup turned out. I had two 6 foot tables, a blanket rack, and a tri-fold screen as my main product displays. I created hat stands from wood and painted them blue and white, while weathering them to create that "beachy" look. I covered my tables in light blue covers and had PVC racks attached to the backs to hang my fuzzy blankets. A wooden blanket rack was created graciously by my beau, along with a tri-fold screen made of wood and lattice to hold all my hair clips. I could not have been more pleased with how easy and professional looking I felt my booth looked. I softened the entire booth by hanging white sheers from the canopy (something that got me many compliments from the other vendors).
Here is the front of the booth prior to the start of the festival. The next show I do, I would definitely like to add some more things to the booth. I would like to hang a full length mirror horizontally from the canopy so that numerous people can try hats on and see how they look. I had a tiny stand mirror that didn't work well for this. I would also like to add a tarp to the back side of the canopy for shade and weather protection. The first day I got burnt. The second day I had to sit my director's chair in the tent to keep from being wet. I would also like to add an inexpensive outdoor rug in a sandy color to cover the concrete and to ease the weary feet of my customers.
I found that color coordinating slightly allowed customers to find what they were looking for much more easily. I think it was also more pleasing on the eye. My little octopi were the smash of my booth! They attracted so many kiddies who thus forced their parents to come in and check out my products. As a note to myself, I must remember to crochet many, many more Amigurumi creatures as these were probably what brought the most amount of people in. And I sold quite a few too! Surprisingly however, these were items that I was considering doing away with on Etsy.
Of course, my Buckle Beanies went over very well. It's quite comforting to know how many people loved this hat. Even in the hot Summer sun, my wool Buckle Beanies were still being tried on, bought, ogled, and commented on. And in the pouring rain, the cotton ones were being purchased to keep heads dry.
Two items of mine that were also surprising hits were my adult cloches and my cotton flapper beanies. I only had 3 cloches in the booth and 2 sold. I decided to crochet up a few more different colors to offer for my Autumn and Winter shows, and also on Etsy. I also sold a number of flapper beanies, but was disappointed that I hadn't crocheted more in larger sizes as that was what most customers were asking for.necklaces were commented on to death! But none sold, so I was a little disappointed in this. But they were eye-catchers, so I will definitely keep those for future shows. My hair clips were also a slight disappointment as I didn't sell as many as I thought I would. My Neapolitan ones, however were a big hit, so that is definitely something I need to make more of.
Overall, I made sales totalling almost 4 times my booth fee (which was a hefty sum). While I didn't profit anything due to costs in materials preparing for this show, I'm confident that my next show will bring me profits. To anyone considering Carmel Fest for future shows, I highly recommend it. The other vendors were professional, kind, and helpful. The staff was supportive and wonderfully communicative. The festival atmosphere was utterly festive. And I would definitely be remiss to not mention that amazing display of fireworks (my daughters saw the fireworks for the first time and were amazed!).