A few weeks ago the Well Made crew took part in a long exhaustive effort to show our wares at the Renegade Craft Fair in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Despite the end-of-the-world-style crowds, the weather was amazing and it was a great event. And even better than lining our pocket with enough chedda' to snag a few beers for our team is the ability to interact with people like you.
This little blog entry was designed to give our fans a peek behind the curtain, but also to help encourage fellow Makers to grab the cojones of opportunities like this. So here we go.
1. Stay Close to Home
We can't stress enough how much preparation goes into a successful street fair. Our first Renegade was down in Austin Texas at SXSW and was... a little... turbulent. 1,100+ miles in just over 24 hours led to the display I hauled down on the roof of my car getting ripped apart. I had to rebuild it the night before in the garage of the kindest AirBNB-dude you'd probably ever meet. Choose a fair reasonably close to home to isolate one very stressful element, TRAVEL.
2. Do a Dry-Run
Our main product, STiiCKs, are a magnetic framing system that really needs to be demonstrated to garner interest – so that meant creating a sturdy wall to show them off. A dry run was instrumental due to the expected turn out and as many as 4 employees rotating in and out. (It was so busy, I think I even stiff-armed someone's kid, Will Ferrell-style, to get to a set of STiiCKs. Just kidding. Maybe.)
3. Get everyone on the same page
If it's just you, I wish you luck, but if you have a second or even more, plan you pitch. You know your products with exceptional detail, but does your team? You wouldn't be able to hit the morning rush at IHOP without a little training would you? Your peops are no different. Also, plan breaks and food and OVERLAP everyone's schedule by at least 30 minutes. Trust me.
One of the perks to being local is having the ability to replenish your inventory on day two. If that's not possible, KNOW YOUR INVENTORY. What you have, what you don't, your best sellers, etc. You can't sell what you don't have. Or can you? We ran out of several sizes and finishes and offered free shipping for back orders, and it worked.
5. Have Fun
Lastly, my eternal catch-all. Just get out there and have fun. If your product doesn't suck, you'll make your money back. And if you pay attention, you'll likely learn a whole hell of a lot of stuff that money can't buy.