Last weekend, I “sold” my handmade books in a craft fair. The lights were all on but I had to focus hard to see what these artisans had made. The room was filled with the holy dimness of a Catholic school basement-sanctuary.
It was dark. And freaking cold, my kids would say. I could not get warm anywhere. Every once in awhile I managed to put my discomfort out of conscious thought, and then a cold wind would pass down the center of the room like a giant angry ghost.
I say “sold” because very little selling actually occurred. The invites for the show encouraged me to imagine a bustling, crowded springtime fair with moon-bounce, face-painting, and a show space full of interested shoppers. The reality was slightly different. In the huge parking lot setting the school far back from the busy road, passing travelers may have noticed a moon-bounce far away back there along with a few tables, all lost on the huge empty space. I wouldn’t have turned in either.
I didn’t make my entrance fee back, not even close. That’s always the chance you take, of course. You can never predict whether your work will happen to pique interest enough for people to actually give you money in exchange for what you’ve made. (It still amazes me every time it happens.) Customers are all individuals and their interests and tastes are varied. But the one thing vendors ought to expect from fair promoters is a good-faith effort to attract visitors.
And maybe to turn on the heat. Worst craft show experience to date.