Over the past few weeks, I’ve done a handful of Christmas fairs. The main purpose was to sell and promote my books, but I also had a sideline of various cross stitch bits and pieces to help cover the cost of the table.
The first fair was very slow. I don’t know whether it was the weather (miserable and rainy), the fact that I was upstairs, poor marketing, or something else entirely. Everyone else seemed to be finding business quite slow too, so I didn’t take it personally, and I did sell some books.
The highlight of that first fair was when a boy was being led off down on aisle by his parents only to spot my stall. He yelled out, “books!” and instantly rushed over to me. In the end, his parents decided (probably correctly) that he was a little too young for my books so they didn’t buy them, but I heartedly approve of that attitude on seeing a table covered in books.
The second fair was much busier and I sold each of my books at least once, some more than once. What surprised me though were how well the cross stitch badges went. I nearly ran out of stock! I had to get busily sewing before the next craft fair.
There were a few highlights from that second fair, including the woman who literally recoiled in horror when I said the books were science fiction – I’ve never seen such a strong reaction and it made me laugh. There was also the guy who bought eight of my badges, including a Babylon 5 Earth Alliance logo, despite not knowing Babylon 5 – I guess he really liked badges. But the best moment of the fair had to be the expression on a teenaged girl’s face when she saw I had the pan pride flag as one of my badges. She just lit up with excitement on seeing it in my little badge collection. I’d been a little hesitant about doing the pride badges (especially since one of the fairs was at a church hall and I wasn’t sure what the reaction was going to be) but that expression made it all worth it. I’m definitely sewing a replacement of that for the next set of fairs.
This weekend was the final fair. I covered my table costs and sold a couple of books, but only because I sold some things to other stallholders. In terms of general public, the fair was dead. More than half the time there was no one looking around at all, so it was just all the stallholders chatting to each other. On the plus side, I sold a bookmark before I even finished it. I’d taken along a half-finished bookmark in case things got slow (I should have taken several because slow didn’t cover it) and one of the stallholders saw me working on it and asked, “Is that spoken for?” She bought the bookmark when it was still incomplete and I spent the next couple of hours finishing it before I joined the ranks of the bored stallholders.