I had a booth at Urban Air Market's Holiday Show in the Dogpatch this past Sunday, and it was a BLAST!
The weather that morning didn't bode well at all. There was torrential rain during load-in, deep puddles that forced a number of vendors (including Jeff from Krakatoa Design) to relocate, and high winds that gusted through the giant roll-up doors and knocked over several booths. I honestly couldn't imagine that anyone was going to leave home in favor of a gusty, freezing warehouse. Boy, was I wrong!
When the event opened at 11am, the rain died down, people trickled in slowly, and I mentally prepared myself to not make many sales. But then around lunchtime, it started picking up. And it didn't slow down until the event ended at 5pm. I definitely got the vibe that people had holiday shopping to do, and they were on a mission to get it done that day!
A lot of my friends came out, including my parents, my partner Phil's dad, aunt, and grandparents, half a dozen members of my cycling team, two of my financial advisors, several family friends, and, of course, my best friend Jasmin. And just like last time, I ran into a few friends who didn't know I'd be selling there -- the look on their faces was priceless!
I had a lot of great conversations with fair-goers about my process and my background. I especially enjoyed talking shop with the folks who had some welding experience. I can now spot them a mile away! They're the ones who immediately pick up a piece and start turning it over in their hands, trying to figure out how I'd made it. For this craft fair, I added an iPad to my display that played time-lapse videos on loop of me welding and sanding. It ended up being a useful tool: it drew a lot of passers-by into my booth, and I was able to better show the work that goes into each piece.
When I got home at the end of the night and checked my sales numbers, I thought I'd accidentally pulled up the wrong date range -- the total was over double what I thought I'd made. Still incredulous, I checked to make sure I hadn't accidentally overcharged someone by, say, $1,000 (I hadn't, thank goodness). Once I was sure that it wasn't a mistake, I celebrated! I still have a ways to go to make Elektra Steel a sustainable business that pays all my bills, but Sunday's show told me that I've got a good product-market fit, and I'm on the right track.
Major thanks to Phil, who was a champ for helping me with load-in and load-out logistics, all of my friends and family who showed up to support me on a stormy day, and to my growing list of customers! I'm heading back into the shop now to finish up a few remaining holiday orders. Cheers!