1. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Some people want to talk while shopping, and some don't. I found that a simple greeting made it easy for me to gauge people's interest and help them shop if needed. Also - I was a little nervous that someone might steal my stuff, and greeting people is a deterrent. And talk to the other merchants! Everyone seemed distant at first, but I was really glad that I made the leap to chat with them - we made friends with the ceramic artist next door!
2. Get a dolly. No more lifting for me - my shoulders are killing me.
Like father, like daughter. And there's Meghan in the background.
3. Family is invaluable. My whole family came to help this weekend and keep me company. My sister, Meghan, drove in on Thursday and stayed through Monday. She made me a new logo, hand-wrote all my signs, drank beers with me and did a lot of the heavy lifting (literally). When things got a little slow on Sunday, we traded off leaving the booth and shopping. Who else would do this but family? Sidenote: we both fell off our chairs within a 24 hour period - Meghan on Sunday night, me on Monday at the yarn store. Yup, we were tired.
4. Have one awesome thing that catches the eye and draws people in. For me, it was the "Mounted Curios" display. People would laugh and point, and then they would come and look at the rest of my stuff. One kid even walked toward it like a zombie, chanting "mustachesssss." I think next time I'll make one giant mustache and see how it goes!
5. Branding is awesome... to a point. So many people commented on the "brand" of my little booth. There were lots of "cute" comments and I was the only red tent on the street (Under the Red Umbrella-tent!). Turns out there's a reason for that - red tent means the light looks red, which means your merch looks weird. At least I looked less pale?
6. The tent is not waterproof. Luckily it only sprinkled for about a half hour on Sunday morning. Whoops.
7. Practice your set-up beforehand. I set up my table at home beforehand, and took a picture for reference. At the fair, I was able to get the table up in 10 minutes!
8. Square is a lifesaver. If you're thinking of getting into small business, go for this card reader. It works with your phone, and takes a small percentage of your transactions, but the best part is the app it comes with. You can manage cash and credit card transactions, easily calculate sales tax and take pictures of your sold items. Very useful!
9. People either love or hate the mannequin head. Little girls kept petting that blonde wig, and some people were outright afraid of it. Meghan and I named her Lulu.
10. Relax a bit and have fun. On Saturday I was a ball of nerves and only left the tent for about 10 minutes. But on Sunday, I was feeling a little more relaxed and took some time to step outside the tent, do a little shopping, and eat a corn dog, and I had a much better time because of it. It's a fair - have fun!