Sunday, October 13, 2013

Button Sale @ the Quilt Show a Big Success!!!

I had a blast at the Idyllwild Autumn Quilt Show this weekend, and I made $700 bucks!
I'm amazed and thrilled and so-so-so grateful for this, and really surprised as well, because I've never vended at a quilt show before, and my buttons were actually a last-minute addition to the show.
I had called up the organizers a month ago and asked about vending, but spaces for this show had sold out a long time ago. But then, last Wednesday they contacted me to ask if I could fill a space vacated by a cancellation. For $30 ... for a 10x10 foot space, tables and chairs provided, in a gorgeous, well-lit indoor facility, from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. I jumped at the chance!
The only bummer about being a last-minute addition to a show like this is that you don't benefit from any advance marketing or advertising, so I kept my sales expectations pretty low for this event. No one else was selling buttons, and I kind of stuck out amongst a crowd offering fabrics, quilt kits, notions, and the like.
It was fun and so rewarding to spend a weekend with creative people, meeting new customers and old friends, and making two really important business contacts (more on that in a future post). Everyone was so happy and inspired by the beautiful handmade quilts on display, many of them award-winners. I heard that the show was a big success for other vendors, and that makes me happy. Perhaps our local economy is improving just a little bit?
I always like to analyze my results after a show or a teaching opportunity such as a retreat or workshop, to see if I can improve and learn from my success as well as any areas in which I did not measure up to my own expectations.
Some things I did right:
• offered a free DVD with any purchase—a huge bargain, because for a $15 button purchase you got a DVD valued at $29.95!
• offered free candy (good candy too, not cheapie stuff) to everyone, which the kids and the men really liked
• had two long tables full of different handmade ceramic buttons
• kept my sales-pitch short and sweet, and informational (handmade porcelain buttons made right here in my mountain studio in Idyllwild)
• had my handmade crocheted bag adorned with one of my buttons on hand for folks to admire
• was able to take VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards for those running low on cash, thanks to my Square card for the iPhone (about half of my sales were via credit card)
Some things I could have improved:
• my booth was somewhat shabby; I was very rushed, but nevertheless I could have purchased nicer fabric for my tables
• I could have made an announcement on my blog on Wednesday night, but again, I had lots of other commitments taking up my time; this was understandable but nevertheless a missed marketing opportunity
• I suppose I could have tweeted during the show, but nobody reads my tweets anyway so, oh well!
That's about it. I am so grateful that I made some money at the show that justified the hard work and time required to participate. It was lots of fun to see my friends and meet some new folks as well, and receive invitations from other quilt show organizers to vend at their events, too! Also ran into a yarn storeowner who wants to carry my buttons, and a mixed-media artist who wants to collaborate with me on some projects. Fun! I'll share more when I know more....


Julie Panusis said...

I love how you take a craft and make it your own.
You are an inspiration to all women and men too.
Love your stuff.
Julie Panusis

Sharilyn Miller said...

Thanks so much, Julie! I have been inspired by many artists and business people who have worked hard to earn their success. If I can be just a tiny bit inspirational to someone else, I'm thrilled with that!

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