Looking Back at 2020 Markets

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Well, my market season has officially come to an end. We were supposed to have two Christmas markets in December (6 & 13) but our Chief Medical Officer decreed that only food vendors could sell at Farmers and Crafters markets. That caused something of an uproar as our little market has been diligent in following all the health guidelines that had been imposed while the malls and big box stores were allowed to stay open, selling anything and everything. The assumption that only food is considered "essential" is what rankled the most with the majority of vendors. If that were the case, the mall, except for food vendors, should be shut down. However, I rant.

For our last market, the organizers and I collaborated to find a way to keep the non-food vendors at the front of our customers' minds. I came up with a poster that had QR codes for the vendors who wanted that little bit of customer contact. The market organizers asked if I would man the table with some vendor samples along with business cards and the QR posters. Of course I said yes. It was interesting to hear customer feedback and watch them interact with the table and the posters. It was definitely a way for customers to get in touch with the vendors they were missing, some not even realizing why we weren't there.

How has your market season been, for those of you who had a market season? All in all, even with Covid shut downs, this year (my third) has been my best year to date. My sales were up at least 50% or more over last year. Not only that, my customers are starting to know me and are contacting me through my Facebook and Instagram to order Christmas items.
 
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That's wonderful news to hear about your market successes during this difficult time. Many good wishes for a successful 2021, whether that is through markets, online sales, or any other creative endeavors!
 

jcandleattic

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How has your market season been,
All craft fairs I would even be interested in or want to sell in have all been cancelled this year, so I haven't done any.

I don't mind. The cases here are worse than they were in the height of all this back in April, and it doesn't look to be calming down anytime soon. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if our state officials (not the nations, just my state) don't have another lockdown in store after Christmas is over.
 
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I did two shows this year. All of my other shows were cancelled except one, which was the weekend after Thanksgiving and I made the decision to forfeit my spot due to rising virus cases in my area. The two shows I did were both in August, one outdoors and one indoors, when our virus cases were extremely low, so with a few safety precautions I felt safe doing them. Our cases have risen drastically since August and I no longer felt comfortable - I live in a state that has no mandates, and an area where "masks required" is optional - more people don't wear them here than do. I have one show scheduled for March 2021, I'm hoping things will be better by then. If not, then I'll forfeit my spot again.

This year has been a banner year for me, even with having so few shows. I'm over double in sales compared to what I did last year, and I've been averaging several orders a week since the beginning of Oct - typically my last show of the year is mid Oct, and I might do $150 in sales between then and year end. Christmas is normally not busy... this year has not been normal. I've carried around 30 different soaps all year long, I'm currently down to 17 - and half of those have only 1 bar left. I'm not sure if it's awareness of hygiene, awareness of supporting small business, or if I finally got my product lineup in a good place along with getting my social media marketing up to snuff (I hope to think it's the latter as I have really stepped up my game in both areas). The two shows that I did this year were new to me, so I can't compare their sales to past years.
 

TheGecko

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All our craft fairs were cancelled this year.

From what I have read, the Farmer's Markets were hit and miss. Governor couldn't make up her freaking mind whether shopping outside in the fresh air was 'dangerous' or not., and what could or couldn't be sold. I decided that it just wasn't worth it to try.
 

Angie Gail

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We just started doing craft shows at the end of 2019 (we've had an Etsy shop since 2016) and were planning on doing a full schedule for 2020 and obviously that didn't happen. We were able to do three between Oct-Dec, all single day outdoor shows. We made a good profit at each one but not as much as I would like. The last one we did just last weekend had a big turnout but most were just looky-loos and it was actually our worst one this year. I was kind of surprised at that as it's so close to Christmas and people should be in a shopping mood. We'll hopefully be able to do a lot more shows this coming year at different locations and get a better feel for the best ones.
 
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My plan for this year was to do upwards of 20 craft fairs, but covid concerns, shutdowns, social distancing mandates, astronomically high entry fees (like why are you raising your rates during a pandemic?!), and just being pregnant...I ended up doing 2. It would have been 3 but I had a fever scare in Sept. Luckily, for those two that I did, I did well enough that I don't regret signing up (lol...is that a win??) I also did okay in my online sales for the amount of effort that was put in to social media and driving traffic.

For 2021, I'm totally overhauling my brand, I'm going to spend more effort on photography and social media, and hopefully, get in many more shows than I did this year. I'm fairly confident that the markets will be better next year after the vaccine has been released, so we'll just have to see.
 

jcandleattic

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I was kind of surprised at that as it's so close to Christmas and people should be in a shopping mood.
I stopped doing December shows for this reason. Typically people are basically done shopping for Christmas by then and are looking mainly for stocking stuffers, which one would think soap would be perfect for, but nope. I've never done all that well in December shows. Finally gave up the ghost and admitted they (for me) were just not worth it. Others may have different results, but this has been my experience.
 

Angie Gail

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I stopped doing December shows for this reason. Typically people are basically done shopping for Christmas by then and are looking mainly for stocking stuffers, which one would think soap would be perfect for, but nope. I've never done all that well in December shows. Finally gave up the ghost and admitted they (for me) were just not worth it. Others may have different results, but this has been my experience.
I took a lot of small soaps that would be great for stocking stuffers (lump of coal soap and reindeer poop soaps). I got a lot of compliments on how cute/funny they were but only sold a handful.
 
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I took a lot of small soaps that would be great for stocking stuffers (lump of coal soap and reindeer poop soaps). I got a lot of compliments on how cute/funny they were but only sold a handful.
I usually make one batch of Poop soap and one batch of Unicorn poop each year and sell out. Not this year. I did sell a few but certainly didn't come close to selling out. Ah well... they'll be part of next season's head start. Or, I'll send some to my son for his (4) boys.
 

Angie Gail

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I usually make one batch of Poop soap and one batch of Unicorn poop each year and sell out. Not this year. I did sell a few but certainly didn't come close to selling out. Ah well... they'll be part of next season's head start. Or, I'll send some to my son for his (4) boys.
I'll give some to family and hang on to the rest as well. I have them on my Etsy shop and for the Reindeer poop (scented with a chocolate FO - not specifically Christmas scented), I'm going to repackage and market as just gag gift soap (in non-Christmas packaging).
 

Lin19687

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I did No shows as I didn't want to spread or get it and knew I would be out of the markets for all of 2020 and most of 2021.

I did have many that ordered online to which I do not have a big online following.
I made No soap since my huge Oct 2019 batches and still have much left. I won't even make any more that ran out till this is all totally under control.

That being said I did about 1/3 of what I normally make.
 
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All my craft fairs and farmer's markets were cancelled this year. I lost all of my deposits although technically I was told they can roll over to 2021 if they have them next year but still I got stuck out of pocket on stalls and vendor fees. Who knew 2020 would not be the year to open a new business officially. Blah. I did have some small online sales. I only made about $1000 on online sales. I guess it's not a bad start but I was hoping to recover the launch money I put into my business this year.
 

earlene

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Well, my market season has officially come to an end. We were supposed to have two Christmas markets in December (6 & 13) but our Chief Medical Officer decreed that only food vendors could sell at Farmers and Crafters markets. That caused something of an uproar as our little market has been diligent in following all the health guidelines that had been imposed while the malls and big box stores were allowed to stay open, selling anything and everything. The assumption that only food is considered "essential" is what rankled the most with the majority of vendors. If that were the case, the mall, except for food vendors, should be shut down. However, I rant.
As if SOAP isn't essential in a pandemic! Maybe you could call him up or send him an email. I know it's obviously too late for this season, but in future, the Chief Medical Officer has to realize that soap is essential & he just wasn't thinking.
 
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As if SOAP isn't essential in a pandemic! Maybe you could call him up or send him an email. I know it's obviously too late for this season, but in future, the Chief Medical Officer has to realize that soap is essential & he just wasn't thinking.
Oh, it's been brought to her attention many times. Dr. Bonnie Henry has even written a book about the importance of soap during pandemics; it's titled "Soap, Water & Common Sense". That's one of the reasons we were all a little mystified that someone selling Cake Pops or Hard Candy could sell their wares but those of us who make soap, something she herself recognizes the value of at this time, could not. Apparently, the common sense she wrote about is in short supply.
 
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