8 day show debrief

Discussion in 'Craft Fairs & Shows' started by Primrose, Oct 7, 2019.

Help Support Soapmaking Forum by donating:

  1. Oct 7, 2019 #1

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    956
    I am back from an 8 day show and my goodness I am a wreck. It was our state's Royal Agricultural Show and not only did I exhibit my dairy goats and coordinate the goat section as I have been doing for the past 6 years, this year I also came on as a 'commercial exhibit' with a stall for selling soap.

    It is probably my first 'real' event having previously just brought along whatever I had to a few half day or one day shows here and there. I was actually there a day earlier and I still have probably three car loads of stuff to take home during the week. Exhaustion doesnt come close to describing it LOL and i'm back at my 'real' job today.

    I had about 20-30 varieties on the table depending on the day and I think that went well ... had some fragrance free. No vegan options as they are all goat milk soaps. I did have a few vegetarian options under the table but not displayed, in case someone asked. No one did. I'm unsure whether to continue making them (they do cost more for me to make) or to just not bother about that particular small sector of the market.

    I had a facial bar (for dry skin) that sold surprisingly well, and I really need to get its partner the oily skin one up and available. I missed sales due to not having shampoo bars and not having liquid soap. Those were on my list anyway just didnt get them ready in time for the show, so will be next year.

    Soap racks sold better than I expected, I had them up for $4 or free with 6 bars, I only bought 50 of them and sold almost all of them. Lots of people bought them without the 6 bar deal.

    Apart from the traditional lavender and lemongrass favourites, the big sellers surprised me. The cocoa butter cashmere that I only ever made one lof of because I just got the bottle when it was on special, sold out. I was surprised that not more of the plain ones sold. Some I thought were pretty ordinary or that I wasnt in love with, were very popular. Some that I love, barely moved. So that is helpful feedback. I also have heaps of ideas for additional products for next year.

    My stall setup certainly needs work and I just used random things I found at home mostly. I need to invest in a banner and some proper shelves/levels plus a few extra racks or display baskets etc to fill up the stall a little more. I need to be far more organised in general next year with more/diverse products, a more cohesive display and have all the stock labelled (I was labelling the stuff to restock the tables at 2am at night). I need to employ someone for a half day shift or so because the 9am-6pm open requirement was a killer when I then still have 3-4hrs of goat feeding, husbandry etc to do.

    I had a baby goat in the stall for most of the time and he worked great to draw people in. It was interesting, I reckon probably 80% of total sales were from people that looked and were going to walk past, except I said good morning, please come in and sniff. As opposed to people who walked straight in. And I would say 90% of those people that I called into the stand ended up buying stuff. So I wouldnt have made anywhere near as much if I just sat there waiting for people to come in and buy.

    It was also interesting that most people were genuinely surprised that I make all the soap myself, with milk from my goats. I thought this was obvious from the business name little goat soapery but clearly not.

    It was interesting to notice that # of foot traffic doesnt necessarily = # of sales. The first day was slowish to start but then steady. The next day we had twice as many people in the shed but half as many sales. On reflection the demographic was different, day 2 it was all families with young children, those people arent looking to buy $7 bars of handmade soap.

    Anyway enough rambling, here are some pictures

    goats at soap.jpg matador.jpg soap stall1.jpg soap stall2.jpg soapstall3.jpg soapstall4.jpg soapstall5.jpg
     
    The Cat Lady, MGM, Zany_in_CO and 9 others like this.
  2. Oct 7, 2019 #2

    dibbles

    dibbles

    dibbles

    Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    5,237
    Likes Received:
    4,795
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Congrats, Primrose! It all looks great. And those goats are so cute!!
     
    Kari Howie likes this.
  3. Oct 7, 2019 #3

    Relle

    Relle

    Relle

    Administrator & Bunny Fanatic Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Messages:
    10,412
    Likes Received:
    3,055
    I love your goat, if he wasn't on a lead and tied up I would have snuck out with him. Forget the soap :p, I can make my own.
     
    Kari Howie and shunt2011 like this.
  4. Oct 7, 2019 #4

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    956
    Haha he was such a dude, he settled in really nicely to the role of "salesgoat"
     
  5. Oct 7, 2019 #5

    shunt2011

    shunt2011

    shunt2011

    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    13,239
    Likes Received:
    7,579
    Location:
    Michigan
    Congratulations and I have to agree with Relle. He's adorable. My daughter would be over the moon. She's got an obsession with goats and she's 33. Glad everything went so well for you, you must be so proud of yourself.
     
    Nanette and Kari Howie like this.
  6. Oct 9, 2019 #6

    cerelife

    cerelife

    cerelife

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    644
    "Salesgoat" :)
    OMG - I'm in love!!!
     
  7. Oct 9, 2019 #7

    lucycat

    lucycat

    lucycat

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2017
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    83
    Looks like a great time. I don't think anything is better than a show to make you aware that your customer's fragrance favorites can always be a surprise and different from your own.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2019 #8

    amd

    amd

    amd

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    Messages:
    2,937
    Likes Received:
    3,710
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Great feedback @Primrose this is very helpful to me, I have been contemplating doing our state fair for several years, but have yet to have the confidence to pull the trigger. So much good information in your post.

    ETA: I forgot I wanted to comment on this:
    "It was also interesting that most people were genuinely surprised that I make all the soap myself, with milk from my goats."
    Because I am so glad that I am not the only person who gets this type of comment. It just shocks me how many times I am asked "How did you find this company and get into selling it?" like I'm some kind of MLM! Maybe I should take that as a sign that my soaps and labels are finally looking professional - as do yours. I can't leave this thread yet as I'm still ogling the lovely soap pictures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    Primrose likes this.
  9. Oct 11, 2019 #9

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    956
    It was a real surprise to me amd ... I mean, the stall had a big sign saying "Little Goat Soapery" and I was standing there, and I had a goat, I thought it was plainly obvious that I made the soap myself. But apparently it wasnt!

    I guess though, I was in the same area as a camel dairy that does body products, including soap, and an emu oil stand that also has soap, and both send their milk/oil away and have someone else make the soap. So I guess I was the only stall there that people could meet the actual maker of the products
     
    amd likes this.
  10. Oct 11, 2019 #10

    Dawni

    Dawni

    Dawni

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2018
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    3,325
    Location:
    Philippines
    Congratulations! Your soaps look lovely on display :)
     
  11. Oct 11, 2019 #11

    Marilyn Norgart

    Marilyn Norgart

    Marilyn Norgart

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    1,574
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Awesome!!! I get a lot of "you made this yourself?" comments too. take it as a compliment haha. love the goat--like Relle I might have tried taking him :) , they are such fun critters. It surprises me too that people don't always love the scents I love o_O it took a bit of people asking for lavender soap to realize I just had to make it whether I hate it or not.
    Good job on your set-up. I am constantly changing things with mine--I finally got another table cuz it seems like I don't sell as much when my table is crowded. I have tried baskets but I wind up just stacking three of each kind--2 on the bottom(label up) and 1 on top(label down) of those, people seem to like that. I use shrinkwrap so people get to see the whole soap. I have been wondering when I am going to hit a show that people object to the shrinkwrap
    I am exhausted listening to your schedule---whats that saying "Go big or go home"!!!
     
  12. Oct 12, 2019 #12

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

    Saponifier

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2017
    Messages:
    4,062
    Likes Received:
    2,870
    Location:
    SE Denver CO
    Well done, Primrose! I can see why the Cocoa Butter Cashmere sold out... very attractive soap and packaging on all of them. The blackboard signs were great! Very inviting. For "samples" you might try "soap curls" made from scraps with a potato peeler... just an idea that is easy for people to quickly try and buy?
     
  13. Oct 12, 2019 #13

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2019
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Oregon
    Congratulations!

    I really like those little trays and blocks to elevate other trays...and the flowers. Hope you don't mind if I borrow the flowers for an upcoming craft fair that I am doing.

    I love going to markets/fairs and I always stop at tables/stalls when the owner says Good Morning or Good Afternoon. I usually bypass the ones where the folks are just sitting playing on their phones.

    As for missed sales...some good advice that I received reminded me of a quote by John Lydgate: "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

    I figure the market is big enough that I don't have to 'please all of the people all of the time' (one stop shop). I currently offer four products...soap, goat milk soap, salt soaps and bath salts. The first three tie in with one another with minor adjustments, the bath salts required more committment, but the jars and labels will tie in with some other products I will add much later. And that is key for me...having common ingredients, common equipment, common storage.

    Not surprised your soap racks sold...soap accessories (aka 'add-ons') are important (advise from another maker). I have purchased a small quanity of Cedar Soap Decks and Loofah Body Buffs for the craft fair.

    I adore your labels, I'm struggling with mine. I bought what I though were perfect labels off Amazon that came with various templates that you can download, but the one I need is corrupted and won't open. I contacted the owner and they sent it direct, but I still can't open it. I have requested that he save it in a different format, but haven't heard back from him. I need to start labeling so I will have to come up with some kind of work around.

    What did you do for shopping bags? I found these little bags with fiber handles at the Dollar Store that come in different colors and will hold six bars of soap easily. I picked four colors that I like and then designed 'shipping' labels for both sides. Sister who is doing the fair with me (she designs gorgeous cards and other things) thinks the bags are a waste of money. Hubby likes the bags, but thought the labels were a waste of time and money. But then I explained the marketing strategy...women will notice the pretty colored bags and seeing a label will read it, take note and look for my booth. And the bag will be pretty enough to reuse and thus kept and a reminder of where they bought the soaps, that no longer have a label on, from.
     
    Zany_in_CO and maya like this.
  14. Oct 12, 2019 #14

    MGM

    MGM

    MGM

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    818
    Location:
    Canada
    I love everything about this post, @Primrose ! Great story-telling, but super-useful information for sellers (also, built-in cautionary tale for those of us who think we might want to do this but just don't have the energy). BEAUTIFUL soaps. I was confused right at the beginning when you were talking about your "state's" "royal" fair, but then I remembered where you live :)
     
  15. Oct 12, 2019 #15

    maya

    maya

    maya

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    783
    Likes Received:
    294
    Location:
    northland
    I am verklempt at your goat. Your soap really is gorgeous. <3 thank you so much for sharing. The way you tell everything is really wonderful.
     
  16. Oct 12, 2019 #16

    Stephanie Pendleton

    Stephanie Pendleton

    Stephanie Pendleton

    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    17
    Your soaps are so pretty and displayed very professionally. I love the variations in colors and styles.
    Where did you get those little wood trays?
    Your lil goat is just adorable!
     
  17. Oct 13, 2019 #17

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    956
    Thanks Zany, soap curls would be a good idea except I don't tend to plane or bevel so very rarely have those types of scraps. What I did was cut my end pieces into smaller bits and sold them for $1 each, was surprised they went so well I actually ended up cutting down a heap of 'seconds' and overflow bars I had as emergency stock. Many people purchased 7 x samples rather than one $7 bar so they could try a few different types. And these are soaps I usually would use myself or give away so it worked well using them as samples to sell
     
    TeresaGG and Zany_in_CO like this.
  18. Oct 13, 2019 #18

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

    Saponifier

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2017
    Messages:
    4,062
    Likes Received:
    2,870
    Location:
    SE Denver CO
    Clever girl! :thumbs:
     
  19. Oct 13, 2019 #19

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    2,124
    Location:
    Virginia
    Congratulations Primrose and thank you for sharing the experience with us in such an engaging way. I will remember to look for this thread if I ever decide to sell. How could anyone not stop with that adorable goat right there.
     
  20. Oct 13, 2019 #20

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Primrose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    956
    The trays are actually palm leaf plates, which I got from eBay. They are marketed as an environmentally friendly option for fast food, catering etc as opposed to paper/plastic plates.

    I really did want proper wooden trays but with putting 30+ varieties on the table and the cheapest trays I could find being $7, I just couldn't afford it. It's on my bucket list but I think the palm trays worked well for now
     

Share This Page