This past weekend, December 14th and 15th I participated in the 2013 Etsy NY Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. It was my first Cavalcade and it was A-MAZ-ING!
I realized Monday morning when I posted a status on Facebook about the weekend that I based it on monetary gain. It was only after, that I felt badly. Now, don’t get me wrong. The monetary gain is important. And when I look at the overall picture of this little event, it is a huge part of why I’m calling this a success. I made back the cost for the space that weekend as well as the cost of the table I purchased off of another Team member (my days of paying for tables at markets are over), gas to the City, and food. I don’t feel bad about the amount I made, nor do I feel bad for emphasizing the monetary.
What I do feel bad is that I didn’t point out the other ways that the weekend was successful.
- For starters, my newsletter list grew by 11 people. That’s right, 11 people signed up to receive the occasional newsletter from me about my company.
- I also got some incredible feedback on my product. I received so many compliments about my work, including one guy who came to my table toward the end of the show who told me, “Based on the table alone, you do a great job of representing yourself.” I told him that was one of the best compliments I had received all weekend.
- I now know that people want single cards of certain styles. Which I have always been reluctant to offer, but I can take some of those cards and offer them as singles at future markets.
- Understand that my Etsy shop needs to focus on these simple, but elegant things rather than reflect my portfolio. These are things that can still remain priced where they are, but showcase my love of lined envelopes and communication. And while they don’t need to be greeting cards, in the traditional sense, they can be single thank you cards, congratulations cards, etc.
- I learned that people will pay for things they find valuable if you can not only share that story well, but engage with them. Others, may not see that value, and those customers are not the customers I want anyway.
The Cavalcade was a smaller “Market” by comparison to the ones I’ve done before, had much more of an intimate feeling, and the mix of product for sale was eclectic and interesting. You could get things for almost everyone on your list. I had a problem finding something for my youngest brother there, but that’s only because he’s 19 and well, you know how 19 year old guys can be.
Something else I noted was that the energy of the weekend was a bit off. A few people who stopped by to visit noticed this too and said that they didn’t quite a festive energy that they were expecting to feel. It could have been because Saturday turned out to be a whopper of a snow day, which still brought in quite a few shoppers. In fact, I’d say that Saturday was far busier than Sunday, but I think the air of the market was off. It’s almost like in the movie “Elf”, when they talk about Christmas spirit being low, or not existing…that’s how I felt about the market. As though, whatever Christmas spirit there should have been was non-existent. As for me, well, I’m pretty bubbly and am so filled with passion for my product that even though there wasn’t a Christmas tree with lights in my corner, a few sellers even came by to tell me that they wanted to come over to the spot of cheer tucked in the far corner. I’m glad I was able to provide that.
Anyhow, back to business. These two points made me realize a lot more about my target customer, something I’ve been thinking about the past few days since my meeting with the Marketing Strategist, Halley Gray, of Evolve & Succeed . See, the people who bought from me, were my people. They were the type of people who were easy to chat with, who didn’t balk at pricing, who exclaimed, “I love stationery, or paper, or writing,” or “I collect paper from everywhere!” etc. These are my people. They are the people who saw my work and told me, “your stuff is unlike anyone else that I’ve seen”, or “you’re work is really beautiful”, or “I wish I had a need to buy your stuff.” These people are the people who want elegant, natural, simple, are educated, well traveled, and value art. These are the people who want to work with people who have stories and mix those stories. These are those people. I really believe Halley, helped me out a lot this weekend, more than she even knows. (I’ll have to email her and let her know!)
But most importantly, it got me thinking a lot about the story I tell and how even when I’m exhausted, my story is important and there are people who want to hear that story and connect and be part of that story. THAT is why I got into this in the first place. The 2013 Holiday Handmade Cavalcade reminded me of that and that knowledge will help me push forward into 2014, which I’m really excited about!
So yeah, that is why I’m counting the Cavalcade a HUGE success and why even if I don’t do it next year, although, I’m sure I will, I’m really excited to see where I move forward. I’ve learned time and time again that success isn’t just the money you make, but the people you connect with, the stories you exchange, and the lessons you learn.
OH, and before I forget…I had a gentleman come up to my table at one point and chat with me. He noticed my book of photos that I had from my recent trip to Japan and he looked at it and said, “I’ve seen this picture before! Are you the girl that went to Japan and couldn’t speak Japanese, but learned how to make paper?!” I said yes. He responded with, “I don’t know where I read/heard about you, but I read about you! I know who you are!” I was shocked and told him, “No way!” He took my card and said he’d be following up on me. That, is another form of success! Huzzah!