This Saturday I attended the Family Affair at UH Hilo. I was a bit nervous going into this because 1) it's been a while and 2) my booth got a complete overhaul and 3) I was introducing a few new products - hats and some new card designs and 4) every location is different, and you never know quite what to expect, so there's that fear of the unknown to deal with.
The Set Up
After getting everything set up (they had guys to help me unload my stuff!) it was pretty smooth sailing. Sorry for these sub-par pictures. The light was behind the booth and I didn't want to spend too much time being a weirdo taking pictures of my own booth. My dad built me the shelf and easels that are housing my products, and I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out. Everything was visible at a glance and I never had to worry about anything getting knocked over.
I have the display set so that people could see everything without having to touch anything. I did this mainly for my cards, which are all packaged on the spot. This time I used a numbering system, like a fast-food drive through. People could put together custom packs by telling me which number they wanted and I'd pull out the corresponding cards. The easel houses a sample of the final product, which also displays the price. This really cut down on my need to talk. In previous events I'd lose my voice explaining how to put together custom boxes. Now all the information they need is concisely explained on the easel, and ordering was quick and easy for both the customer and me.
Everything else I could just quickly grab from under the table.
Events are the best because I get lots of good constructive feedback, and now I have great ideas for what to do next. Stickers are a must. So many people said they wanted heart and honi honi stickers, and while I've done heart stickers before, I never re-ordered after I sold out. I'll be doing that soon and with new colors this time. I also want to make SoPupuka stickers.
The other thing that I kept hearing was how much people loved my business card. Some people took one of each design, so now I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out how I can incorporate my business card designs into a product because seriously…people were crazy excited about it.
I was sad and happy to see that mine weren't the only trucker hats at the event - sad because I had STEEP competition, happy because I got to see other peoples' creativity and that inspired some new ideas for hat designs.
I need to work on branding - putting "SoPupuka" on my products so people know where to find it, and I have new ideas on how to do that without taking away from the main design.
I also had a great time getting to know my neighbors and geeking out over graphics - a great reminder that people are generally awesome and there's plenty of room for everyone.
The Final Word
While there wasn't a TON of traffic, and I shared space with some awesome, well-known brands, the booth fee was dirt cheap and I did pretty well all things considered. I know that my stuff isn't really mass-market, and I'm slowly trying to shift toward things that have a broader appeal but still stay true to my personality and aesthetic. It still blows my mind that anyone buys my stuff at all. It really is a cool feeling, and there's nothing like that face-to-face interaction to remind me that I'm designing for people. I love playing this game of creating, putting my work out there, getting feedback and trying new things. That is thrilling to me, whether I make $5 or $5,000.