This past weekend was the Etsy Made-in-Canada show. It is the biggest craft show I do each year. This was my third year as a vendor at the show in Ottawa.
This year I had quite a few people come up to me to tell me stories about how much they and their kids were enjoying products they had purchased from me over the past few years. I also had people come and visit my booth because they had seen my products on Instagram or Facebook.
I don’t do many craft shows a year, in part due to the amount of time required to build up an inventory in advance of the show. That said, I love doing shows. It is such a great opportunity to connect or reconnect with customers and other vendors. It is a place to get product ideas and hear about what people need and can’t find.
Shows are also an opportunity to see kids reach out to touch or play with the products I make for them. I always put the wooden cars in easy reach on the table so that kids can grab them and play with them. Admittedly this is a sales tactic, but also I enjoy watching the joy and focus on their faces as they drive the cars around on the table.
I get to see the same joy on the face of adults as they approach my booth. They see a wooden car or a wall hook and it reminds them of their childhood and something they loved. Maybe they see something that would make someone they care for happy. I live watching the expressions on the faces of people as they come to my booth. Sometimes they buy something and sometimes they stop to chat and tell me a story about their lives and their family. While I am obviously at the show to sell products, the stories also make the effort of the show worth it.
Last year at another show I was given the idea of making purse cars by a mum who told me my other cars were too big and that what she needed was a small car to keep in her purse. I went home and designed a purse car. By the end of the week I was at my next show with 25 cars. I took 160 cars to the Etsy show and sold 46 cars to 20 people. That means that 20 parents like me now have small wood cars for their kids to play with when their parents need something to distract their kid. It means at least 20 kids now had something fun to play with, that also happens to be safe for them if they choose to suck on or chew on the car. These 20 are in addition to all the people who have purchased these cars over the past 10 months since a mum told me what she needed.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi over the course of the weekend. Thanks for sharing your stories and purchasing my products. You made my weekend!