HI everyone, I will be having my first event with my dolls on Saturday! It is an outdoor bazaar at a church. Gotta start somewhere!! I’m so excited but also extremely nervous! Do you have any advice for me?? Can you answer a few questions for me? I would greatly appreciate it! TIA
Do I take ALL of my dolls, or just my favorites?
Do I reduce the price for in person sales?
Do I allow people to HOLD and/or touch the dolls??
I did a Street festival in my town and I brought just my best work and let people hold and touch them. Since the festival has food and drinks, I had baby wipes for people to wipe their hands off with. It was amazing! You will have a blast! Here is sort of how I set myself up.
You will love it. I’ve done several of these selling reborns and they are always fun. If you have a tent type canopy like is shown in the picture above, and it’s the size to fit in your space, take it. It will define your area and give you some shade if you end up in a sunny space. I used folding tables I bought at Walmart and they are a good investment if you will be doing a lot of fairs. They are good extra seating at holidays and when you have guests as well. And don’t forget your chairs. Be sure and check before the date to see if you need to bring your own table and what size is ok or if they will be provided.
Take any babies you want to sell and bring blankets and a few small pillows to prop them on in realistic poses. Reposition them into cute poses after people hold them so they aren’t just flopped down on the table. You want them to look like real babies. If any of your reborns have pacifiers, tie them to their arm with a length of thin ribbon so it doesn’t get lost during the fair.
If you have room, a stroller that has a back that can be lowered or a buggy is nice to have with you as well. You can use it to move your things to and from the site and display a baby in it during the event. Covering your tables with sheets that hang down in front will give you a place to hide your packing boxes and your cooler if you bring one.
Having baby wipes that don’t contain alcohol so people can clean their hands before holding your reborns is always a good idea, but definitely let people hold them. People just don’t understand the difference between a doll and a reborn until they hold one and look at it up close. It’s the fastest way to make a sale!
Bring lots of business cards too. You can get them printed at Staples really fast and they are a good way for people who realize later they should have bought a doll to get in touch with you.
If you don’t have a Square reader that will let you take credit card payments, get one and be ready to use it. Most people don’t carry lots of cash at art fairs and expect to be able to use cards. I think Staples have them too. They charge a minimal fee but you are well protected when you take a payment that way…probably way more protected than taking a check. A receipt book is a good idea to help you look back at the sales you made and have a proof of purchase to give your customers.
Be sure to take printed instructions about how to care for a reborn, and make sure everyone who buys one gets a copy. I don’t know if you make birth certificates for your creations or not or if they will have COA’s, but if so have an envelope already stuffed with them and ready to go for each baby so you don’t have to put one together there. Once your booth is full of people you’ll be glad you did some advance preparations.
Take a friend with you if possible for crowd control and to make sure no one walks off with a baby. It’s nice to have someone to talk to as well and to man the store if you need a break. Most other vendors will watch your things if you have to go get your car to pack up or when you have just gotten there and off-loaded and need to park somewhere else. But a friend is even better.
Be prepared too because there will be some people everywhere you go who think reborns are “creepy” or “scary” or who say they “look like dead babies”. Be strong and don’t let it get to you. If your babies are real enough looking to disturb the people who say those things it just means you’ve done a great job. Some people just can’t process a doll that looks realistic but that isn’t a real baby, and they get a little squirrely, just thank them for the compliment and leave them wondering what they said that was complimentary. There will be a few of these, but the majority of people there will love them and beg to hold or touch them. Little girls will fall in love, grandparents will think about making some wishes come true, and adults will start thinking about needing presents for the holidays that are coming!
As for pricing, I usually don’t charge quite as much at local fairs since I don’t send the babies home with lots of extras. They go in what they are dressed in wrapped in a blanket and with their envelope of documentation and pacifier. If you will be sending yours home wrapped in a blanket but placed in a sack, get shopping type bags with white inside. And stress to the buyers that printed matter and some dyes will transfer to the vinyl so they don’t put other things in there that might damage your work.
I know this is a lot, but hopefully it’s helpful. I’ve done a lot of art fairs in my lifetime! Most of all have fun and enjoy sharing your babies with other people. Even if you don’t sell a thing, a day spent bringing joy to other people is always worth it!
Oh thank you so much! Wipes are a great idea! I have a tent and tables (borrowed), and also have printed extra care instructions to bring. I will be bringing a vintage baby buggy if it fits in the SUV once everything else is packed in it. Otherwise I will be using large baskets.
I’m trying to get someone to go with me but so far I’ve had no luck! My husband will be doing dance Dad duties that day with our kiddos. I’m super worried about being alone with only one set of eyes! Eek! I am also bringing knit goods and jewelry that I have made. Not sure if it’s wiseto bring them or not but I desperately need to make some sales and I know people are more willing to buy cheaper items.
I do have square that I just got last week and I have PLENTY of business cards, (like 500!). I’ve been going crazy trying to get ready for this event. I am anxious to get the dolls out there and educate some people! I won’t mind if people call the dolls creepy, Im used to it. I take it as a compliment. I’m just praying this event goes well! I’m putting my heart and soul into this!
I hope you can find someone to go with you, but if you can’t, just make a new friend or two with the vendors next to you. You can each watch out for the other and even work in any needed breaks that way. Most people who work these fairs are really friendly and if you feel like you are getting overwhelmed, they can likely give you some good pointers. Some vendors have been doing fairs for years and know all the tricks! I’ll bet you’ll meet some wonderful people. You’ll probably hear about other fairs that are in your area too and there may be some you might want to participate in this year or next.
So glad you have a Square. My sales went way up when I got mine!
Sure will be looking forward to hearing how it goes!
I usually take 8-10 babies to a doll show but I usually only get one 8 foot table and any more than that crowds them. It’s harder to pose them realistically if there isn’t enough room. I do let people hold them. They’re always very gentle with them. I charge the same regardless of where I sell them because they take the same amount of time and effort to make and I send mine home with 2 outfits, sleeper, accessories and some extras.
I take my babies to the shows wrapped in a blanket in the box I would ship them in if I were mailing them. It protects them during travel. I pin the price to the clothes the baby is wearing with a small safety pin before I wrap it in the blanket. I also take a list (for myself only) of the price I’m asking for each baby in case it falls off or gets removed. I put the care instructions, birth certificate and anything else that goes with the baby in the box too. I put a post it note with the baby’s name on it on the box before I store it under the table to make sure I get the baby back in the right box when someone buys it.
I also tie baby shower helium balloons to the front corners of the table. You could also tie them close to the corners of a canopy. People can see them above everything else and curiosity brings them over. Decide ahead of time what payment methods you’ll accept. Make sure you bring change for cash payments. Wear a fanny pack and keep cash on your person. Get a receipt book and make one out for each sale. Square is great for credit cards. I occasionally take a check but it depends on how I feel about the transaction. If you do take a check, get their phone number. Ask to see their driver’s license and write that number down too. Make sure it matches what’s on the check.
I have stand up acrylic picture frames for my pacemaker caution (8 1/2 X 11) for babies with magnets and which credit cards I accept (5 X 7).
Bring lots of business cards but don’t put out more than 10 at a time. I had someone walk off with all of mine. Why, I couldn’t begin to guess.
Most of all, HAVE FUN! Let us know how it goes.
I’m definitely getting shower balloons, that was one of my first thoughts. I like your idea of pinning the price to the dolls clothes and having a list for yourself with the prices as well. That’s great!! I’m so nervous that people will find out the prices and gaff! I know I will be doing lots of educating that day. I’m sure more people have no idea what goes into these dolls.
Your pace maker sign is do great too! I hadn’t thought of that, even though I do have that warning in my care instructions! I’m so thankful to have such wise ladies to give me advice on this adventure. Thank you all!
Just thought of something else. Take a bare kit or at least an unpainted head. It’s really hard to explain all the work you put in to make the realistic skin tones, and being able to show where you started compared to the way they ended up makes it very simple. Hope you have great weather and a wonderful weekend!
Hang in there, the first one IS the hardest. Every time you do another you’ll have learned something that will help you do it easier. Just get everything prepped as well as you know how and try to not worry too much. Things will fall into place and once you’re there and set up it will be fun.
Make sure you have your money things all in one box and plan to set up your tables first thing. Put the sheets on them and hide the bank underneath and out of sight while you set up. Do a practice sale or two of a dollar or so to yourself or your spouse so you know how the Square really handles. And make sure everything is priced ahead of time.
Put a good charge on your phone and gas in your car and have a few snacks and drinks ready to take with you. If the fair is Saturday, you can probably go ahead and load your tables, chairs and canopy Friday. I wouldn’t leave anything valuable in your car overnight unless it’s going to be inside in a garage, but have everything ready to load fast in the morning. Plan to get to the site at least an hour before the fair will start so you have time to set up. The first time doing that is the hardest too, and if you’ve planned your table layout ahead of time it will save you time.
If you’re like me you probably won’t get too much sleep for running things through your brain all night worrying you might have forgotten something. Put a pen and paper next to your bed in case you actually think of something, there have been too many times I did and didn’t have anything to write it down on! I never get much sleep the night before no matter how many fairs I do, and I’m really tired by the time it’s all over. But I’ve never failed to have a good time and I’ve always sold at least a few things and made a lot of good contacts. You’ll be fine, but I truly understand how crazy it must feel right now. You can do this!