Monday, November 9, 2009

Shop787, My First Vendor Fair

This was my first time being a vendor at a big event. Despite the non-stop rain --which forced all the vendors to move from the big beautiful courtyards, into the few vacant apartments of the first floor, it was a success (financially and for exposure).

I'm just starting to get my brand out to Austin, which is good. I haven't been very involved in the Austin community although it has a large handmade following --from my map of sales, most of my bags ship to the east/west coasts of the US.

I plan to attend two more events in December (5th and 8th, eek they are close!), and I hope that I will get more exposure to the city I love. :) :)

While I was at Shop787, however, I learned many lessons:

1. Know your audience.

I assumed that my smaller bags like Hip Pockets, Travelers, and Clutches would sell the best. They are the least expensive items in my shop. But boy was I wrong. The big leather items were the popular ones. The unfortunate thing was that I didn't focus a lot of my preparation towards this, otherwise I would have focused on just Baby Ruche leather bags and Briefcases in leather. Those would have been a better hit at this particular event.

2. Make your presence known.

I had a white table linens, white shelves, white mannequin, and lots of white white white. I planned this so that my BOLD and COLORFUL bags would stand out. They did, but not compared to all the vendors that were surrounding me with their tall racks and big stands. I was also a bit gypped on my space --I purchased a 4'x8' space and because we all had to move inside, everyone was being a bit liberal with their displays and spreading out a little more. I was shoved in a little corner of the "dining room" and though I had enough space for my products, my neighbor took up about 7'x8' of space and I was shadowed out. It wasn't his fault, the vendor next to him had a table next to his booth and when they removed their table, he had more space to fill with customers. I think I saw more backs to my booth than people actually interested. Next time I'll come back with big shelves, big banners, and loud music. Just kidding. But I will attempt to make myself stand out more.

3. Make your space more inviting.

I was excited to share all my products in person because for the first time, everyone could touch, see, and smell my products in person. They feel wonderful! Really. Some of the leathers are super soft, some are squishy, some are pebbly, and some are smooth. My corduroy bags are really great to touch, too! I'm not sure if my space was too "clean" looking that it made it uncomfortable to touch, pick up, and try on, but I felt like customers only tried things on because I told them to pick it up and try it on for size! C'mon people. It's there for you to touch! I'll post a sign that says "Touch me!" next time. ;)

Shop787 Booth
My booth, after I moved my mannequin on top of the shelf and to the center where it made my booth look more noticable. And some of the big leather items sold so I pulled out the Eightfold bags and placed them on the guitar stand which originally held the leather Briefcase.

p.s. I really liked having a teammate there (The Boy). Although I never left my booth to pee, The Boy did bring me food and drinks. Thank goodness. Because I would have passed out otherwise!

It was also a BIG plus that my friends (mostly guys) came to visit me to show their support. The event didn't cater AT ALL to men, so they ended up just getting lots of drinks at the bar. Hah! Thanks guys! I hope you had fun! :)


  1. Sounds like everything went well. Congrats on your first show. Just a thought...I always love the freestanding coat stands. They would be awesome for you to use to hang your items and would add height to your booth. Good luck on your next exhibit!

  2. Good idea, Joanna! After I read that comment, I googled (for like 2 hours) for freestanding coat racks! I think I might try making a really simple one from some extra ply wood that I have. Yay! I'm excited, that was such a good suggestion. Thanks!