Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review- The 2012 Beach Plum Festival

If you haven't been following my recent blog entries- a quick catch-up... The economy has really affected my small handmade jewelry crafting business and with one of my favorite shows approaching, I decided to make a personal investment. Best case scenario, it would be a good show and I'd make my money back (and hopefully a decent profit) or worse case, I would have replenished my inventory and would put everything into my Etsy shop and gear up for holiday sales.
The Festival- for those that live in the NJ area, the Beach Plum Festival is held every September on Island Beach State Park (near Seaside) The park is gorgeous, the beaches very clean and one of the few beaches in NJ staffed with lifeguards after Labor Day. The Festival attracts several handmade crafters, displays featuring local non-profits and food vendors, along with many displays featuring the topic of the day...Beach Plums (the ice cream and jellies are outstanding, BTW) The show is very well run and receives quite a bit of local media attention. For crafters considering this event, the show always attracts a great deal of foot-traffic- many who plan to hit the beach and stroll in find a great festival in progress. If you have a beach-theme craft or business, this should be a must-do show. An overview of how the festival went for me personally would be- better than expected. I really didn't know what to expect because I was not selling much out of my Etsy shop and other crafters had reported below average sales over the summer. With many fellow crafters cutting back on shows, I didn't really know what to expect. The show started out slowly sales-wise. There was a large crowd right at the start of the festival (perhaps beach-goers) and I had a lot of foot traffic, but very few people looked to be making purchases anywhere. The traffic continued to pour in and I decided to find a few pieces in my collection to make into pendants for necklaces. I began wire-wrapping several pieces and that seemed to draw a small crowd and that seemed to change the "luck" for me, as I starting selling a few pieces. By noon, it was clear I would cover my expenses and make a little money. I'd love to say this was my best year at this venue, but it wasn't. But with the expectations I had coming into the show, I have to admit that I am so happy to have made the investment in myself because it seems that people are beginning to feel good about the economy. And they appear to be looking to buy something different and unique.
I'd love to find another show to do before the holidays, but realistically, I'm probably not going to find a better match for my product than this show. Island Beach State Park's Beach Plum Festival and my handmade sea glass jewelry just seem to be a perfect match for me. But I'll keep looking for the right spot. After the show, I sat with my hubby and discussed how the show went and realized there were a few trends on my sales and a things that helped me make sales that I hope to blog about soon. A few of these are ideas that I will continue to do at future shows and these thoughts might help fellow crafters make a few extra sales at their shows in the future. 'til next time, R

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