Yesterday morning, I woke up early and ventured north to Worthington, OH (on the northern side of Columbus) for my first juried craft fair, the Worthington Craft Guild’s Spring Calico Craft Show. To say I was excited about the show would have been a understatement. (Of course, I was plenty nervous, too.) The Worthington Craft Guild’s quarterly shows are well-established events. In fact, my pastor’s wife, who lived in that area several years ago, told me that she’d heard great things about the fairs and about the quality of the artisans who worked the show. Indeed, I was among great company; the fair included some wonderful crafters with innovative ideas and fun products. It was very obvious that the fair accepts only the best vendors.
Unfortunately, the fair was very poorly attended. Until I filled out the vendor survey at the end of the day, I didn’t realize that the Guild’s spring show usually takes place the 2nd Sunday in March, not the 3rd. The Guild moved the fair to the 3rd Sunday for the first time this year, in an attempt to stay away from the lost hour as a result of Daylight Savings Time, which begins the 2nd Sunday in March.
However, by moving the fair away from DST, they scheduled it for the same day and time as Ohio State’s graduation, which also happens to fall during spring break for all the local school districts and, this year, overlapped with Ohio State’s game in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Also working against a good attendance was the weather: it was the first beautiful day in weeks, with warm temperatures, a sunny sky, and a light breeze. I could hardly blame the people who stayed away. If I’d had the option, I’d probably have enjoyed the great outdoors yesterday as well.
None of these problems were at all the fault of the Worthington Craft Guild, just an unfortunate choice of timing. The other vendors repeatedly told me that the low attendance yesterday was unusual for this fair and that it has in the past been much busier.
On the plus side, the fair was by far the best organized and most professionally run that I’ve attended so far, and I had a great time chatting with the shoppers who did come by. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to try out on my own some of the “selling tips” I was given by my friend L, who worked the CUMC Ladies Night Out event with me last week.
In addition, one of my good friends, who lives in Columbus, came to work the fair with me. It had been several months since I’d seen her, so we had a great time catching up. My brother and his wife, who also live in Columbus, stopped by for a bit, and two of my Cincinnati friends came up for the afternoon. I felt wonderfully supported in my endeavors and was reminded yet again how blessed I am by my friends.
I also came away with several new ideas for my booth setup. Since this was my first juried fair, it was my first opportunity to examine the booths of truly professional crafters. My next show isn’t until the end of April, and I am going to make several significant changes before then. (More on what kinds of changes in coming posts.)
All in all, the fair was an excellent experience, although not a particularly profitable one. I’m very glad I participated, and the Worthington Craft Guild shows are definitely ones I would recommend to other crafters.