Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bumbershoot: Things I learned

Well, the Bumbershoot event is over and while I didn't make thousands of dollars, I did have a nice time and got some good exposure. 

Logistically speaking, things went amazingly well.  We went over and set up the booth on Friday, the day before the Festival started.  It took us longer to get to Seattle Center than it did to set up, thanks to very heavy traffic.  I took two of my kids with me to set up and we were done in less than 90 minutes. 

The next day was the first day of the event and I was nervous!  I picked up Judy, who I hired to help me and we were on our way.  Getting down there was smooth sailing at 8:30 am on a Saturday morning and we got in and set up pretty quickly.

The first day I was still trying to figure out how to display things and the wind was blowing pretty good, so things looked a bit messier than I wanted.  One thing I did the first day that I did NOT repeat was putting candy all over the table:

Initially this seemed like a cute idea, but it became clear as the day wore on that this was a mistake.  The little kids would see the candy, start whining to get some, and the parents would drag the kids away from the table.  I think I actually lost a sale because a mom who was looking at some bracelets got fed up with her kid picking up the candy so she left.  I decided later that evening not to do that and it worked out MUCH better!

So, how were sales?  Well, the first day was really depressing.  I think we had four sales total all day (thank you to the customer from Chicago who made a very large purchase!)  The next two days went better.  The second day we had 20+ sales the third day we had about 25 sales.  I got a lot of compliments on the items, and from looking at my photos I can see that improvements need to be made in displays (which I think I did get better at on days 2 and 3).  I talked with several vendors who said that sales were down from years prior for them, so at least I wasn't the only one with low sales.

The people I hired to help me were fantastic.  They all showed up on time, worked hard, were customer friendly, and reliable.  I don't think one dollar was misplaced or lost.  I definitely recommend interviewing and checking references if you hire people you don't know because it definitely worked out well for me.

I'll write more about specifics later, but I'll end this post with this photo of some cute young men who offered free services at Bumbershoot:

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