Listen and take notes. When creating product for my sale, I tried to be as varied as possible in my color/style choices. I knew this would be a learning experience and wanted to see what people gravitated towards. My top selling product was my tag blankets. In creating these blankets I stuck with a gender neutral theme so as to appeal to the most customers. However, after 3 different customers commented that they were looking for more "boyish" fabrics, I realized that my gender neutral choices may have backfired! I wrote this down along with a few other comments specific to different products and plan to address these for the next show!
Network. Being in close proximity with other crafters is the perfect opportunity network and learn from them. I was lucky enough to be on a rounded corner of the show so I had a table to each side and behind me. We already having crafting in common so it was easy to strike up a conversation with these lovely ladies. It's easy enough to ask about their products, where they're from, craft show experiences, what they have coming up, etc. Again, take notes, and share contact info/business cards, once home you can continue relationships through support of facebook pages, websites, and shops.
Set realistic expectations. You never truly know what to expect the first time you do something, so don't set yourself up for failure with a lofty goal. I knew going into this show that my only real expectation was to make back the fee that I paid to be a part of the show. If I accomplished that, I wanted to make back the gas money it took to get to the show (my first show was an hour and a half from my house). Once these two goals were met, I figured everything else was icing on the cake! Now that I have one show under my belt, my expectations for the next will be a bit higher, but still focused on the learning experience and how to make future shows more successful!
I'm still very much a novice in the world of craft shows, but after this experience, I can say I've learned a lot and am looking forward to my next few shows!!
Any crafters out there have other advice or suggestions for us newbies? I'd love to hear from you!