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first wedding show: what we learned

Hello everyone! Been a while, I know. I'm not sure how to do this blog thing very well, its been tricky trying to think of content. (I do a lot of crafts, but I forget to take pictures a lot of the time and then I forget about the craft all together...yeah so I am trying to get better at that!)

Over the weekend, you might have seen on Facebook or Instagram (made an insta for my blog @emyloucrafts!) that I was at a wedding show! It was spur of the moment, just saw it on Facebook, called them up, and asked if they could fit my booth in. Luckily they could! (for relatively cheap, too. Did you know that trying to have a booth at a craft/wedding show costs like hundreds of dollars, even thousands at a few?! Just to try to sell your stuff, you don't even know if you'll have a profit!)

Anyway, it was at Hawk's View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Not too far from my house and a very nice, cozy place. They were expecting at least 100 brides and another 400-500 people (not sure if they made that many, but there were a lot of people walking around looking at my stuff). It was a great experience, especially because so many people thought I was a bride (isn't that a scary, I don't feel old enough to be a bride!) and they gave me a bunch of samples, mostly cake. So much cake. Meeting so many brides and their families was fun, too. Only a couple fiancés, some were in to it, others were like "done yet?!" Some brides get a little...meh, not gonna lie. But most were sweet and interested in what I was doing.

We (as in, my mom, dad and me) got there around 9:30 to set up the booth for an 11am start. I watched some people walk in with furniture, giant backdrops, and crazy decorations and I thought, "ugh, my booth is going to look so amateur." But then I remembered that my mom and I are pretty good and setting things up & decorating, and my booth looked pretty dang cute!

The emy•lou banner was made on my Cricut (the new one I got for Christmas--in love!). The rosette/fans, are from Hobby Lobby & Target. Then everything else is a mix of Hobby Lobby, Target, Michael's, my apartment and Hobby Lobby again because its my favorite.

Over Christmas Break, I printed out little flyers to hand out to local bridal stores to put on display, since mostly what I sell is for weddings. When I went back to school, I did the same. One bridal store offered me an opportunity to have a display over a weekend (still trying to figure that out) which sent me on a tizzy to order signage and business cards. Luckily, my business cards came in and then I came across the show at Hawk's View, so I already had flyers and cards ready to go. I passed out a TON, so I am hoping brides that didn't order with me on Sunday will relook at the flyers down the road. But I did have some orders on Sunday, so that is great!

In love with my business cards. I designed them myself and got the little tray at Hobby Lobby. The bow on the back was so worth the extra I had to pay for double-sided printing.

business cards

What We Learned:

Brides start early. Brides are here months, even years ahead of their wedding! Some don't even have venues picked out so they don't know if the style matches their theme, where they'd put it, etc. That is why I think bridal hangers sold so well, (I sold at least 25 I think?) They match everything since brides pick the colors, are cute gifts, and sell for $5-$7 (but I might be changing that, so don't quote me ;) ) I need to find a way to encourage brides to order through me at a show instead of later or on Etsy. (Etsy gets expensive for shipping, especially when brides are local and I can just deliver.) Or maybe just getting their emails and sending them reminders 6 months down the road. Info cards!

Simplify the ordering process. Ordering is a lot of work when you customize everything! It is overwhelming for the bride, having so many options, and its overwhelming for me trying to remember everything! I think I need to make separate order forms for every product because having to remember each option for them to write down (like for the hangers, what text they want, what color hanger, etc.) is hard. We managed, but organization is key.

Young brides love it. Bulk of my orders are from brides under 25 I would say. There were older woman there, some did stop and look. But definitely more of a young bride style than anything else.

I have orders due in July?! Hmm, like I said, brides start early. They don't need any of the things I make until, at earliest, the shower. And most didn't even care about the shower. So now I have to practice my time management skills (yuck) and remember all these orders 6 months down the road. Which is no problem for me, it was just something I didn't even think of!

Hangers are fun! I had a vendor ask me to make a hanger for her while we were doing the show. It worked out great because I ended up using it as a display and it sold a lot more hangers! Made it with my Cricut, vinyl & ribbon. Here is a picture of it:

Nobody gets married January through April. When is the wedding? May. June. August. September. October. November. December. I heard nothing but these months. Mostly August, Septembers, and Octobers though. Some this year, some next year. Doing shows closer to these times might help with sales.

Raffles are fun and double as an information grab. Through the show host, I raffled off a free "bride" hanger (I had my Cricut with me and cut out her name on vinyl and stuck it on). I was hoping she would love it and order the rest for her bridal party, but she didn't even have a bridal party picked yet, so I lost that battle. Hopefully next time, the winner will be someone with lots of bridesmaid ;). Also saw a lot of booths doing small raffles of their own. That might be a great way to get people's emails (see Brides start early!) and then someone would win something cute, like a last name sign, a hanger, or a guestbook sign. Gotta get that email!

People commented my low prices. Wow, didn't expect that! I tried to keep things reasonable by still making money. But I heard a lot of comments on how cheap everything was! Does that mean I double my prices and make bank? Nah, for now, I'm happy where they're at.

Brides didn't quite get the "I can customize it for you" part. I had a sign with purple writing that said "this way to wedding." Purple matched the wedding it was made for. But I think people saw that, it scared them like, "oh, I don't want purple." Well of course not, it wasn't for your wedding. I was constantly telling brides, "Don't worry, I can do this for you if you don't like the paint color, the stain color, the font. I make everything 100%, so I can try something else, no problem." I don't know if this overwhelmed them or what, but not many girls bought it. I think I need more examples to show the different things I can do.

Having signs ready to buy was a good thing. I made 4 and sold 1. (Thought it would be more for sure :/) But so many people picked them up, were looking at them and wanted it! They just didn't pull the trigger. Maybe I need to offer like 10% off just to make them want it right then. But I think in the future, I will definitely be able to sell them off.

Nobody likes Hershey Kisses. Seriously bought 3 bags. Used half a bag. Of every person that walked by my booth, ONE person took one. (Not including me and my dad.) One lady. And it was the first person there. I think people thought it was part of the display? Someone commented that it was a cute centerpiece for the reception. The candy was there to get you guys to like me and spend time at the booth!

It was a good first show! I made a profit, once you take out all the costs! It is a double-digit profit, but hey, its a profit! I think, at this point, it can only go up! The more shows, the better off it will be. Just getting my name out there is a worth a bit. And I am hoping brides remember me a few months down the road and I get some email inquiries. That would make me very happy. In the meantime, I am going to keep looking for (cheap) bridal & crafts shows to sign up for, research some tips, make some more sample products, revamp my ordering process and a bunch of other stuff. Wooh! Thank you to everyone who ordered and helped me out on Sunday, it was an exciting day! Here are some more pictures.



#emylou #craftshow #wedding #signs

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