Hillcrest Handmade Bazaar

This weekend Mighty Distractible participated in the Hillcrest Handmade Bazaar, hosted by our amazing friends Gael and Ginny. They have a perfect house for this type of sale - lovely, open, and beautifully furnished. And, because they are both wonderfully creative people, they have a large group of wonderfully creative friends who could contribute. It was an honor to be in the company of such talented people.

Having only participated in a few of these kinds of events in the past, I was amazed by the turnout for this one and with how many sales we generated. Granted, some people sold significantly more than others (one woman is walking away with about $700!) but everyone sold something and we had a steady stream of people through the house all day Saturday. Sunday was a little lighter but we did have a couple of good rushes of folks and, actually, generated more credit card sales than on Saturday. It's also important to note that this was the first year that Gael and Ginny did this sale so it's not like there were people waiting for it to happen.

I thought I'd share some of the tactics we used so, if you participate in a similar kind of sale, you can try them and see if you can replicate our turnout. Obviously, we would need to do this a few more times to prove that these tactics are what contributed to our sucess (and not just that the weather was nice that day) but, logically, I think that this particular combo of things certainly helped a lot.

  • Facebook Event - Gael created an event and each of us were tasked with inviting people from our Facebook friends list to the event. Cassandra created a flyer which we used as the avatar for the event and we could each copy that flyer and post it occassionally into our Facebook stream to remind people of the event.
  • Pinterest Page - Ginny created a Pinterest page with photos of the items that were for sale. We posted a link to the Pinterest page on the Facebook Event and we were all tasked with "pushing" the Pinterest link out to our friends/followers on social media.
  • Craig's List - Ginny posted the event on Craig's List
  • Flyers/Postcards - Cassandra created a PDF of an 8.5x11 flyer that could be emailed to friends/family or printed and posted at our offices. She also made a 1/4 page "postcard" sized version that could be printed, cut out, and put on the counters of local shops. We each got electronic copies of these and were tasked with doing what we could with them.
  • Yard Sign - Cassandra created a version of flyer for the a yard sign and Gael had it printed at Kinkos.
  • Credit Cards - By using Square (you can get a credit card reader from PayPal too) we were able to take all credit cards - and all it cost us was 2.75% per transaction (no additional fees and the reader was free). When it was all said and done, 39% of our total sales went on cards. Plus, people are inclined to spend more if they can use a card.

Somewhere along the line, someone from Gael and Ginny's neighborhood learned about the sale and posted it on their neighborhood list-serve (email group). A number of neighbors walked over having seen it there.

I need to add that I believe that the mix and quality of available items really contributed to the success as well. The people who had greeting cards, jewelry, accessories, and ornaments did best with sales. I think this is obvious because these items are the most "gift-y".

As often happens with these kinds of events, I find a lot of inspiration and a lot of things to buy for myself. I'm a little embarrased to admit that I only purchased one gift for someone else. Very, very selfish.  Here are a few of the items I walked away with:

Gorgeous silk scarf, hand dyed with botanicals (for me)
The one item I bought for someone else. A pillow for my neice made by Gael.

I'm completely enamored of these beautiful paper ornaments which came with handmade boxes!
How's this for cool "yarn"? This is made from "spinning" fabric.

Overall, we had an amazing couple of days. I met some incredibly talented and good-hearted people and enjoyed the comraderie of a house full of "makers".  If you ever have a chance to do a sale like this, I encourage you to try some of the things we did to generate interest. It really worked for us!

- Alex

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