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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alachua Spring Festival



I did a one day show in Alachua, Florida this past weekend.

 

The Alachua Spring Festival had about 200 vendors as well as live entertainment. The event meandered through the entire main street of the town. The weather was perfect - not too hot, no smoke (we have wild fires and one had been burning up that way just a few days prior), and no bugs. The music was good, good enough to keep us energized throughout the day.


And the town, oh my, I'm in love. The second we turned onto Main St. I knew I was in love with Alachua. Or maybe it was all the signs for natural springs and the green rambling hills while we were heading to the town. Main Street is lined with old buildings, buildings with lots of character and history. And tall, tall trees. Just beautiful.


 The show itself was very busy, people and dogs filled the streets throughout the day.

I'd spend hours sitting here  - sipping a latte, reading a good book, whilst the nanny tended to the children (something like that).

My sales were nowhere near what I'd have liked, but I was so enamored with the town, the show, the people that I really didn't mind at all. And, an added bonus, a friend who lived in the area stopped by to visit - my very first friend after moving to Naples, Florida in 1986. We hadn't seen each other in years yet it felt like yesterday.  Pretty awesome added bonus!

I've been devoting some time and energy getting the craft show tent set-up where I'd like it. It's not there yet, but each show I have more ideas of what I want/need to do to improve, and have created a pinterest board of craft show ideas. Of course, the biggest resource is my many years of retail experience and what I learned owning my own store -- some of which doesn't work in a craft show setting, but much of which sure does. While I still have much to learn and do I have found a few little things I wanted to share.


After the last show I knew I needed to add height to the tables. It draws the eye and adds selling space. I've seen some great boxes and cubes. I scoured Ikea looking for just the right piece to add height and more space. My criteria for fixtures is simple - must be pretty, easy to move around, and take up very little room in the car, oh, and very inexpensive. I found just the right thing for $3 and $5 in the clearance section. Simple damaged cabinet door fronts. They're white, pretty, and, flat. I planned to use glass block to raise the shelves, but in the last minute rush of craft show prep I forgot to get them. Instead I stopped at the dollar store and picked up a couple sets of green plastic cups, as well as a package of foam stickers. The green cups match my color scheme and I attached the stickers to the bottoms of the cups, which I used upside down, to keep the door front from sliding around. Perfect solution, and two shelves cost a total of $11. To make a taller shelf I could just improvise with a taller cup or something similar (be creative).


 I wanted something to display bow ties, a simple fixture with pegs. I had more fixtures than one could ever need when I had Ditto Kiddo and didn't want to go spend an arm and a leg for something I'd given away just a few years earlier, so heading to the fixture store was going to be my last option. Instead, I had an old small ladder tucked in the garage which I spray painted white. A generous neighbor cut the ends of some pegboard pegs and drilled holes into the fronts of the ladder step and top. I glued the pegs into the ladder with white Gorilla Glue. Voila. It folds up (not perfectly, but it's so tiny it really didn't take up much space). The bow ties, attached to printed card stock, fit perfectly and the top shelf is still available to display more items. In the future, as the need arises, I may add teacup hooks to the sides of the ladder. Total cost: less than $4.


A child's chair, small table (cut the legs down, if needed), even a 1x6 would have worked too to make a peg display and shelf. Be creative.


My last "new" display fixture for this show was this set of stacking bins. They don't collapse into each other, but still didn't take up a lot of space and are very lightweight. By the end of the show they were utilizing a bit of floor space but on the table they added nice height and interest from the booth front. I simply bought spray paint for plastic and painted bins someone had given me. Next show I'll add card stock labels on rings (or tied ribbon) to the front to make it easier for customers to know what was in them. Cost: $3 for spray paint.

Next show I'm going to turn the front right table so the opening to the booth is larger, and will add more height to the back table, and the sign will be along the back wall as it's eye-height for some. The booth was dark, but we had the cooling shade of a tree ... kind of a give and take on that one. Oh, and the craptastic plastic tablecloth was also at the dollar store, I'd forgotten to make one for that little table.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like a neat place! Also looks like you had a lot of fun!

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  2. Thanks Joey. It was fun, very neat little town.

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