Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday - New View

We took a new way into the city and found this cool bridge!

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Day of Spring

Woohoo for the nicer weather...and even nicer weather to come!
What better way to spend the first day of spring than taking the year's Maiden Voyage on the river!

While it was a little chilly, it was well worth it to get out of the house and enjoy the sun for a few hours :)
We did have a little mishap with our new boat, but luckily we still have our old boat and she still runs great. Hopefully the new boat will be on the water in about a month.

We met up with Jesse's aunt and uncle and I love how their dog sits in the seat like a little person :) We're hoping to get to take Harley more this year as well.

And on Saturday we had a wedding reception and decided to get out our "new" car for its official first cruise. Jesse's grandpa left his grandma's sunglasses in the car and wanted me to have them. I love that they fit just right :)

How was your first day of spring?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Features - Spring Wreath

Ever since I made a wreath for my studio door last fall, I've been loving the extra pop of color. I missed it during the winter and now am thinking I need some color for spring! I looked in a few local stores, but haven't found the right one yet. As always, Etsy never disappoints when I go searching. Check out these beautiful finds!

Clockwise from top left:

Which is your favorite?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When Free Really Isn't Free

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I participated in a very large bridal fair last Sunday. I had looked into doing this show for a couple of years, but just couldn't justify the cost. A normal booth at this show costs $850! So when the organizers sent out a chance to win a free booth, I jumped on it right away. The first 50 people to respond got a free 5' x 10' booth.
  
While this is a very small space, I knew I could make it work. And hey, it was free! But then the organizers mentioned that this booth would be 5' wide and 10' deep. Hmmm...how was I going to make that work? 5' deep and 10' wide would have worked great, but I just couldn't find a way to make the narrow booth work. So, cost #1...$300 to upgrade to a 10' x 10' booth. I did also get the bride's lead list with this upgrade as well, which will come in handy for contacting the brides.

Then I went to a meeting for all the vendors and found out that my upgrade did not include a listing on the website. So, cost #2...$100 to be added to the official website. The organizers made a good point that if someone remembers your items, but has misplaced your information, they will go looking on the show's website. If they cannot find you there, they may go with a competitor who is on the site instead. And I did have one bride tell me that she visited the website the night before the show and knew she wanted to stop by my booth. So that made me feel a little better about the extra cost.

Also at the meeting, we were giving forms for renting tables and table clothes. I normally bring my own tables and coverings to shows with me. But since I had a show the day before the bridal fair, I didn't want to have to mess with unloading the tables and reloading them for the bridal fair. Also, my tables are only 5' long and I could rent 8' tables, a tall cocktail table and white table clothes. I'm really glad I went with the white coverings as I think they helped my items stand out well. So, cost #3...$65 to rent tables and coverings.

I also saw a really cool idea online for a cupcake stand that I thought would make a really cool display for my invitations and guest books. I really thought this was something my dad and I could just throw together at a minimal cost...WRONG! Above is the inspiration for my displays. I wanted 18" tree slices with tree limbs in between. Well, come to find out, unless you kiln dry the tree slices, at the size, they will warp...a lot...and very quickly! So I went to a local saw mill to see what other options I had. They made me some really nice oak circles that I could do the same thing with. When I got the cost, they told me the board foot cost and the hourly labor cost, but never mentioned how many hours they thought they would take. We had a huge misunderstanding on the price, but in the end, I had to pay it. So, cost #4...$435 for new displays!! (Live and learn!)

I also printed special brochures for the bridal fair that had photos of my most popular wedding items and pricing for them as well. I also printed business cards to hand out with the brochures. For a giveaway item, I engraved wood wine bottle stoppers with a coupon code and my Etsy web address. I also ordered a banner for my booth as well. I realize this is all part of doing business and advertising is essential for continued business, but most of this cost was directly related to this specific show. So, cost #5...Between $400-$500 for advertising/marketing.

In the beginning, I thought $850 was way too much to pay for a booth at this show. But in the end, I spent about $1350 for this booth!!! I realize the cost of the advertising/marketing materials would have been an additional cost whether I paid for the booth or not and the cost of the displays would have been additional as well. But I wanted to break down all the special costs that went into this specific show. So next year when I'm deciding whether to participate or not, I'll know that if this year's show was a success, it won't be any problem to just pay for the full booth up front :)

Have you had to learn any lessons the hard way lately?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Craft Show & Omaha Bridal Showcase

As I mentioned last week, things have been a little crazy around here. Over the weekend I participated in both a large craft show and a very large bridal show. And I'm happy to report that both went well.

I will say that the craft show was a little slower than expected, but luckily I met my goals for the day. Traffic was great in the morning, but a little slow in the afternoon. I was hoping the nice weather would bring people out, but I think it had them at home thinking yard work. I've found that Spring shows are a little hard to predict, which is why I do very few of them. During fall shows, shoppers are all thinking about Christmas and gift-giving. But during Spring shows, shoppers may not have a specific gift-giving event in mind or may just be browsing for themselves. So they tend to do more looking than buying. But I have already received one order from someone who saw my cutting boards at the show, so that's always great!

The bridal fair was amazing! I was a little concerned that it was only 4 hours long, but by hour number 2, I could see why they didn't make the hours any longer. I was exhausted! By the end of the day, I had handed out about 250 wine bottle stoppers that had coupon codes on them. At least 300 brochures and even more business cards. I think I talked non-stop for 2.5 hours straight! And so did my mom!

 
It was also nice to talk to some of the other vendors after the show and have them comment that they wished they had a booth next to mine because it was always busy and drew quite a crowd. That really made me feel good since this was my first bridal fair of this size.

As you can see, I had a completely different setup for the bridal fair than I normally do for craft shows. I liked the white table clothes better for this show and loved how the wood looked on it. I had some new displays built specially for this show and they worked great to display my invitations and guest books.

Now comes the waiting game. Bridal fairs are just for advertising and networking, so time will tell if the show was as successful as I'm hoping. This is a very pricey show (compared to craft shows), so I'm excited to see the outcome and whether I will participate next year. I'll just be sure not to do back to back shows again...I'm still exhausted!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Life Lately

Life has been a little crazy lately, as I'm sure you can tell from my lack of posts. So here's a quick rundown of what's been going on...

First Spring Craft Show
 Along with filling regular orders, I've been restocking things that sold out last fall for my upcoming show on Saturday. After my last show last fall, I just put everything away so I could focus on Christmas orders. I didn't take inventory and didn't realize how low I had gotten on stock! Still hoping to get a few more pieces ready before the show (isn't that always the case!).

First Big Bridal Fair
Back to back craziness this weekend! I have my first big bridal fair on Sunday. There will be 450-600 brides attending with their entourage! I'm both excited and nervous at the same time. My display will be completely different at this show than any of my craft shows. I'm working on last minute pieces for displays and last minute giveaways and flyers. Luckily my mom is here to help me prep and will be here to help me with the show!

Family
Speaking of my mom...my parents have been in town for the last week and a half. And when my parents are in town, I try to spend as much time as I can with them. That means I get all my work done, but things like my poor blog fall to the side.
My grandpa has also been in the hospital for a few weeks now. Every time we think he's showing progress, he takes 3 steps back. So that has been weighing on my mind and I've been trying to spend time with him when I can as well.

New Laser!
To end on a good note, I also ordered a new laser! It will be here the week of the 16th and I'll have training the following week. I am beyond excited to have a bigger, more powerful laser! I can't wait to get it up and running. I better start clearing a space for it!!!

I hope things aren't quite so crazy in your neck of the woods! And I hope you're all enjoying some nice weather. I'm so glad this week has been sunny and warm!
Stay tuned for updates on all these upcoming events!
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