I am super busy getting ready for our last farmers market of the year. We sold so many meat pies I will be frantically trying to make as many as possible for this Saturday. I thought you might like this fingerless mitts post I did a few years ago.
I decided I want to sell some fingerless mitts this fall. Or maybe they are gauntlets or wrist warmers? Does anyone know what the difference is?
First I have to make a pair of resists. I traced my arm from knuckles to almost my elbow. then measured around my arm to see how much I had to add for depth. then I figured on 30% shrinkage.
Naturally, I picked purple wool. I used about 60 grams for the pair. mostly because that is what was in the ball of wool I grabbed.
Here they are finished
They turned out fine and they fit me and my much thinner daughter so sizing is good. I may add some stitching and beading. I think they are a little heavy or thick. I was going to put a thumb hole in but I think it would be uncomfortable with the thickness. Next time I think I will use 40 grams of wool and see how that goes. I may try making the part over the hand pointed too. I think it would look nice.
It was a long weekend her in Canada and I went to a small outdoor show in a small town near me. It was part of Canalfest. It was a very nice weekend with a little rain but not enough to keep people away. The fingerless mitts and bobble bracelets were popular.
I had a great spot right on the end next to one of the main streets and parking. I got to set up so people could walk right through the booth.
I got to meet a young woman who reads our blog. That was really nice. I didn’t get her name but she sells soy candles.
The other great thing that happened was I got to trade with another vendor. She got a hat she wanted and I got this great statue. She has real attitude.
She is by Lynn’s divine Creations. She is a fabric statue but she is hard. Karen help me out here what Do you call it? Paverpol is a brand name and I think she uses a different brand.
I am not sure how it got to be this late in the year but the calender doesn’t lie. I have finished my last show of the year. I had a bigger booth than usual it was 10×20. Usually I want a 10×15 and have stuffed myself into a 10×10. The small booth is really to small but 10 x20 is huge. I also had to adhere to a strange rule, nothing above table height in the first 5 feet of the depth of the booth. It is very restrictive.
When I first set up I had my long table on one end to define the booth and then put the small one at the other end.
This left the boot feeling wide open and not very inviting. I moved the small table to the make an L shape so I could stand behind it and needle felt some sheep and talk to customers.
It was more inviting to get people to stop and then they felt comfortable going into the scarf and hat area of the booth.
Of course as soon as one person is in the booth looking at something others will join them. All in all it wasn’t a bad show.
The next couple of will fly by getting ready for Christmas ( how did the house get this messy) and having guests for Christmas (10) and then sorting things out afterwards in time for New Years.
So in case I don’t get another post in before Christmas I will wish you a Merry Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas I hope you have a great time this holiday season no matter what you are doing or celebrating.
One last thing; as I was writting this post I got text from my some from the barn to say we have a new unexpected lamb.
The guild I belong to, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild, had its annual exhibition and sale this last weekend. I had a booth selling scarves and wraps and flowers and cuffs and hats etc. The guild does a display on a theme and has demos and promotes our classes. It’s our big event for the year. The venue is beautiful it is a community center now but used to be a church and has a huge domed center.
Here are some pictures of my booth and me explaining what nuno felt is to a customer.
This is one of the organisers wearing an exquisite shawl she knit using her own hand spun alpaca.
Last weekend I was a vendor, along with a friend at tour local medieval fair. People have asked to see my outfit so here is the only picture I managed to get. It’s not very good I will try to get a better one and post it on the Forum, http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/index.cgi?
Here is the booth we had. I did take the felt pouches I blogged about earlier and some shawls. We had bloomers and headdresses like I am wearing as well as Mayday style ones.
There was a camp to show medieval life. They were supposed to be on their way home from a battle.
The event isn’t strict about time period or even staying historically correct so we had pirates too
and for the more adventurous a chain mail bikini.
All in all it was a fun weekend. Now I hope to have time to do some experiments with felt.
Over the years I have done several outdoor shows and they are great venues. This week-end I did one I hadn’t done before and it should have been a great show. It is primarily an art show with may visual artists, potters and unique jewellers. However it rained all week-end and hardly anything was sold by anyone.
A favourite topic is always booth design; how best to display your products and how best to entice people into your booth. A lot depends on the amount of space you have. Here is a picture of my booth on a rainy weekend in June. For me it feels very crowded with the walls of the tent on. This was during a brief dry period so I could get a couple of things out front.
Although the sale wasn’t great I did get to meet lots of other artists and had time to chat with them. I have been inspired to knit myself a cool shawl. I am not sure how long it will take. I am not a knitter at all but when I get it done I will blog about it.
Here is a shot inside my booth.
I am going to post some more pictures over on the Felt and Fiber Forum if you want to give a long critique or detailed suggestions pop over and have a look.
I’m sure there are more than 10 ways you can improve your booth display but these are some major issues that you should address when displaying your products. You will be amazed at the difference a little change in your display will have on increasing your sales. It is worth your time and effort to create the most eye-catching and welcoming booth to attract more customers to take a closer look at your work.
Neatness – Make sure that everything is neat and tidy. You should have table coverings that reach all the way to the ground so that you can use the space under the tables for storage. Make sure all boxes, gear and anything that isn’t a display or your product is hidden from sight.
Warm and Welcoming – Your booth should be welcoming to your customers. Try to avoid the “cave” appearance. Do you have room to add any cozy touches such as a floor lamp? You should also have some type of flooring, even if it is an indoor show. For someone who has been on their feet for a while, it is nice to have something soft and cushy underfoot. For outdoors, you might try the interlocking foam squares and for indoors perhaps a piece of remnant carpet or carpet squares.
Full Displays – The displays in your booth should be full but not overcrowded. Avoid cramming pieces in but you also don’t want only one or two pieces alone. Bring enough product to refill your displays immediately after making sales. If you run out of something, then remove that display or shelf entirely or fill the lower displays with silk flowers or driftwood so the displays don’t appear empty.
Group Products – Have enough of each type of product that you carry so that you can group them together. If you have a choice of colors, make sure that the group of products shows these color choices. Grouping products also helps with your signage so that if a product needs explanation, then one sign can be placed by that group.
Match Displays to Products – Everyone has different products and so no one type of display will work for all. The display should show the product to its best advantage. Does it need light shining on it? Should the item be propped up? Does the product need to be filled with paper to give it shape? The key to the right display is visibility. If it can’t be seen right away, then the customer won’t see it. Can you display your work vertically? What type of display makes your work the most visible?
Bring Products Forward – The less distance the customer has to travel to be able to touch your products, the better. If you are selling small items such as jewelry, perhaps all the display cases need to be at the front of the booth. Use shelves that are shallow and avoid deep cabinets. With deep shelves, the products towards the back will be less visible and in the shadows.
Eye Level Displays – Put as many of your products at eye level as possible. Things on the floor/ground will be missed. Make it easy on the customer, so that they can see all of your beautiful work without having to work at it. Also use different levels in your displays to give interest.
Branding Banner – Use a large banner in the back of your booth with your “brand” on it. Make sure it is easy to read from a distance and includes an eye-catching color or photo. The banner will help to draw customers from a distance. If you are selling small products, it would be wise to invest in posters with blown up photos of your work that can be seen from a distance.
Improve Lighting – Color sells. If a customer can’t see the colors or details in your work, you will lose sales. Lighting is the key. Be creative with your lighting. There are many types of battery-powered lights these days. Perhaps your products would look good with under lighting. Use a piece of plexiglass with a battery-powered light underneath to add light to your displays.
Tell the Customer What to Do – Use simple signs to let your products speak for themselves. Perhaps your sign will say “Felted merino scarves, the softest scarf you’ll ever feel”. Or it could be “Scented felt soaps – Smell me!” Get the customer to use some of their other senses besides sight. Encourage them to pick up the product and you will see more sales.
Once your made your improvements, continue to tweak your booth displays and designs. See what works and what doesn’t. Look at what other artists do that works. Can that be adapted in some manner to improve your displays?
I’d love to see some photos of your booth at a craft fair. If you have some, please feel free to add it to our Flickr group or start a post on the forum.
For the next couple of Marketplace Mondays, I will be focusing on product display. The display of your work can be the difference between excellent and dreadful sales. Planning your display in advance and doing a little research, will go a long way in your success.
To get an idea of what options there are for display, look at other booth displays to see what you like or dislike. You can do this at local craft shows or there are several Flickr groups, Craft Fair Displays and Arts & Crafts Fairs are two examples, where you can find booth and display photos online. When you’re looking at the various displays, think about the following:
What colors draw you in?
What makes certain displays stand out?
Does the signage catch your eye?
Do you like the arrangement of the booth space?
How does lighting affect the displays?
Do you immediately know what product is being sold?
Does the display complement the product line?
Once you’ve gotten some ideas on what you like and what works well, you need to start considering what you want your booth to look like. Remember that your booth should help to draw people in but shouldn’t overshadow your products. If customers are frequently complementing you on your beautiful displays and booth, you need to rethink your display ideas as the displays are outshining your work.
Consider all of the following when working up your booth design:
Space – how will the floor plan be laid out?
Theme – can you use a theme to reinforce your brand?
Color – what colors will work with the color palette of your products?
Levels – how can you place your products at various levels to create depth and interest?
Signage – how much signage do you need and for what purposes?
Lighting – how can you use lighting to emphasize your products?
Simplicity – how do you create a display that doesn’t overwhelm your product?
Answer these questions to get started on designing your booth. I’ll discuss these ideas and more in the next article. If you have some great display ideas or photos of your displays, we’d love to hear about them and see how you display your work. Feel free to add your display ideas to our Flickr group photos.