Although we are huge fans of social media and the power of the internet, without promoting your product or meeting your potential customer face to face, it is difficult to attract traffic to your online business. We decided to take Stickibox on the road and to visit of selection of craft and gift fairs in the Oxfordshire area.
We carefully chose two markets to begin with purely on location and target market. We read the literature of what to expect and the financial commitment to secure a place and booked ourselves up.
We left for our first craft market with great optimism and excitement for what lay ahead. Would we have enough stock? Would we be able to handle the crowds and what if our card reader didn’t work? Looking back, I think our excitement of physically introducing our product to the world clouded our business brains.
After a mad 30 minutes of unloading, running up and down several flights of stairs and setting up our stall, we felt very proud of what we had created. We had a finished product, the stall looked great and we had plenty of treats to attract the customers.
What we didn’t expect was the slow start. A handful of customers drifted through the doors and mooched around the various stalls of jewellery, bags and greeting cards. Unfortunately for us, the customer base had the average age of 70 and were just happy to chat. In the first 2 hours we had given away more sweets than flyers.
Another few hours passed by and we had attracted a little more attention by the families that had arrived. The children seemed very excited about our product and we had a few ‘i’ll have a look at them online and think about it’ from the parents.
Then, just after lunch the hall suddenly filled up (mainly due to the rain) and we had a lovely lady with her daughter come and ask us about our products. After a short chat she decided to purchase one of our kits for a birthday present. We were more than thrilled to make our first purchase of the day and to a customer who was so encouraging. She loved our product and our branding which really gave us that boost we needed.
The day may not have been a financial success but we had some amazing feedback and lots of encouragement and recommendations on where we should sell our products.
We’ve learnt that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take time and a lot of effort to get our brand and product out to the masses. Social media and having an online market place is great but we also have to remember that they too need promoting. We also reminded ourselves of the importance of some basic marketing principles. You may have a great product at a good price but if you’re in the wrong place with the wrong customer base you simply go home worse off.
We’re not going to give up on the fairs and markets, we are just simply reviewing the where and the when.