Tuesday, March 30, 2010


(View of outside of the Retro Revival booth)
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Retro Revival!  I did two small craft fairs and am preparing for my first big show at the end of April.  Each show I learn a little more about how to get the most out of the precious 10x10 space allotted to vendors like me.  I'm finding that the real key to success is not only beautiful, unique items but attracting attention to lure customers into my booth.  Here are a few things I’ve learned:
The TENT:  I put off buying a tent for as long as possible, because they’re expensive and I wanted to be sure I was buying the best value for my buck.  Researching tents online, I kept seeing poor reviews/ratings for the popular EZ-up tents so I kept looking for an alternative.  Eventually, I realized there is a canopy/tent maker right here in Astatula!  I bought a 10x10 from Peg's Canopy (http://www.pegscanopy.com/); it's crafted from lightweight, durable steel (won't bend like other tents) and looks great.  My tent ended up costing almost double the cost of the pop-up tents but I'm convinced this puppy won't break, bend or fly away and will last pretty much forever (every review I read on the EZ-ups said they bend, break or tear after just a couple of uses).
I've heard over and over again how important it is to have a BANNER so that was the next step for me.  I wanted one with my logo and made of durable material so again I did some online research and bought from a fellow Etsy seller, Wilson Graphics (www.etsy.com/shop/WilsonGraphics).  I think it turned out perfect, although I couldn't quite figure out how to successfully affix it to the outside of my tent and made due with hanging it on the inside.
(I was trying to pose like my Retro Lady logo – ha!)
TRAFFIC FLOW in and out of the booth is important. I’ve been in booths where I can barely move around without bumping into products or other people so I was determine to make my tent inviting and comfortable. Fortunately, this was pretty easy to do since so much of my product (aprons) was hung along the tent walls.  I did experience one “problem” though…I originally placed my retro dish towels near the front of my tent thinking the witty prints would help draw attention into my tent – it worked, but almost too well!  The first couple hours of the show, customers were so enthralled with the towels that they hardly noticed my aprons (not good) so I moved them to the back of my tent near my checkout table so that my aprons would be the stars of my booth.
I wanted to ensure I had a THEME for my booth and product line.  Having a theme reinforces your brand and enhances the look of your wares much more appealingly than just placing them on a table or hanging clothing on a clothes rack.  Since I sell kitchen and bath related items, I displayed them in kitchen-y and bath-related ways – I hung my aprons from clothesline with old fashioned clothespins:
Displayed my retro dish towels in and from a vintage laundry basket:
Placed my shower caps in a cute little claw foot bathtub.
If possible, buy display props that you’ll be able to use in your home, or use something you already own.  My vintage laundry basket normally resides in our guesthouse, housing a bundle of towels!
When planning your display, choose colors that will make your products pop so that they won’t appear washed out or conversely, be lost by colors that or too bold or overwhelmed by busy patterns.  Like mine, most booths have a table to display non-hangable items and for your customers to make their purchases, so a tablecloth is necessary.  Because I’m a collector of vintage tablecloths I was excited to use one or more of them to cover my table.  When I practiced my setup with these beautiful, colorful tablecloths and placed my product on top, sadly the product was lost in all the chaos of color so I switched to a simple, pink flat bed sheet I had on hand.  The pink sheet was a nice neutral to my brightly colored shower caps and lavender sachets.
PRICING.  I find it a turnoff when shopping and can’t find a price on an item I’m interested in and have a habit of saying, “It must be free!”  So going into my shows, I printed up price signs and placed them in clear picture frames beside the items.  Interestingly, no one looked at the signs and just about everyone asked me “How much is this?”  I ended up removing the picture frames (they were crowding the table a bit anyway) after a while but wondered if anyone was turned off by no pricing???  For my next show, I’ll take the time to price each item with a small tag and safety pin.  I read somewhere recently that the specific way you price your items can really make a difference in your sales.  Apparently it’s been studied and proven that customers buy more items and spend more money if you list prices without a dollar sign and the decimal point.
Some customers are only willing to part with a few dollars and I’d heard that it’s a good idea to offer products at a variety of price points.  So in addition to my handcrafted aprons and shower caps I decided I needed a couple of other, lower priced products and introduced my retro dish towels, handcrafted lavender sachets, retro soap baskets and retro glass cutting boards – all under $10.  I’m glad I did this because most of my customers bought aprons and shower caps and then when paying, saw the less expensive items and added one or two of these to their order!
I also debuted a new Retro Revival apon -- my Little Girl's Crayon Apron:
I took eight to the shows and sold four.  (I'll be offering it at http://www.retrorevival.biz/ soon.)
Overall both of the craft fairs went very well – I sold a lot of product, met a ton of sweet people with apron memories of their own, and, GET THIS!  I received an order for 40 – yes, 40 aprons!  Prior to this, my biggest one-time order was seven.  I’m beyond thrilled with the progress of my business and incredibly thankful for all of my customers!
If you have any ideas and/or suggestions for my booth display, please leave me a comment!  And if you know of any upcoming craft shows, please share.
So, back to sewing now!  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at my next show:
The 9th Annual Great American Pie Festival
Lakeside Park, Celebration, Florida
Saturday, April 24, 2010, 11:00 am-7:00 pm
Sunday, April 25, 2010, 12:00 pm-5:00 pm
For the ninth year in a row, the town of Celebration, Florida will become the Pie Capital of the World April 24th and 25th when thousands of pie lovers, tasters and bakers gather together the Great American Pie Festival sponsored by Crisco®.  The highlight, as always, will be the Never-Ending Pie Buffet, featuring award-winning pie, ice cream, toppings and beverags.  Thousands of children will make their own pies at the Crisco Kids Creation Station.  There will be pie decorating, pie scaping, pie tin art and many more pie activities to enjoy.  The Pietopia Demonstration Stage will feature entertainment and baking demonstrations by chefs from across the country, and of course, no pie festival would be complete without a Pie Eating Contest.


Melinda Colassard said...

Hi Cindy! I enjoyed reading your blog. I'm totally excited for you getting 40 orders! I must say, I love the apron that I have purchased from you. I haven't had a good enough hair day to snap a photo of me in it for your site yet. :) I do love your products, and think I might just have to get one of your little crayon aprons for my niece!
Keep up the good work, your items are fantastic!

Anonymous said...

looks great! excited for your next shows and i am sure you will kick butt! you should get a blue dress to wear with your cute yellow apron so you look just like your retro lady! ~ Georgia

Paula, Alexandria, VA said...


The tent looks great in the pictures, I would have loved to see all of the colors in person. At the very least it looks like it's much warmer in FLA (highly jealous). Hugs & Kisses,


donnadoo said...

i love the retro dish towels where in the heck did you find those?

donnadoo, traverse city, michigan