This past weekend I experienced selling at my first event for the Coursewrk brand—which wasn't just any event, it was the Renegade Craft Fair. If you aren't familiar, here's their description from their site and a video about them (that I'm in).
Renegade Craft Fair is the world’s premier network of events serving the DIY craft community. RCF was the first event of its kind when it was founded in 2003, and 11 years later we are still the largest and most far-reaching with 14 annual events in Chicago, IL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Austin, TX; Portland, OR; London, UK. On average, our events are attended by over 250,000 people annually, and hundreds of craft-based businesses have been launched successfully out of the fairs.
I've been going to Renegade for the past few years since I moved to Chicago 4 years ago. Before I even knew I wanted to start a brand, I always thought it would be cool to sell something at Renegade so it's pretty awesome to say I did it as my first event.
It was an exciting and gratifying experience to share my brand with new customers in person. To see how well they received my concepts and designs, and to get the compliments I got made me know that I'm doing something right. Also, to see people want to pay for a product they've never heard of prior to is a pretty cool feeling.
My first day at the show started off super hectic and overwhelming because I had no idea how I was going to fit everything I brought into my small booth space. I paid for a half booth (3'x6') which is basically a table. I show up to my spot and my table was literally sandwiched and budded up against the two other tables next to it. I spent the week before the event building a custom clothing rack with my dad and was planning to use it in addition to my table. That wasn't going to work anymore. I tried switching my table out for a smaller one but that still wouldn't have fit my clothing rack and boxes of inventory. I had to improvise and make an executive decision. I ditched the table entirely and just used my clothing rack. It turned out to be the perfect decision because everything worked out smoothly and customers were able to walk inside and check out things on the rack. In front of the rack I had a chalkboard sign I bought from the kids section at IKEA and used it for product pricing where I also put button pins and business cards inside of the chalk tray. That turned out to be a hit because it attracted a lot of people (especially kids) to come by pick up pins and business cards.
Tip* Make good quality business cards. People walking around the event love collecting cards. I feel like some are just looking for nice cards for inspiration—at least I was that kind of person. If customers grab a card but don't stick around to buy anything, don't fret because its likely they're going to make their rounds around the event and hopefully come back to something that caught their eye when they first came by.
I just want to say thank you to the people of the Renegade Craft Fair for selecting me as a participant and giving me a chance to introduce my brand to their fan base. I also want to thank all the customers and the other makers who came by to listen to my story, shop and give me their support. A special thanks to my cousin Alan Rodriguez for being my "inventory boy"/ intern / hype-man / driver for the weekend. You da best jo!
Enjoy the photos everyone :)
Mr. "Inventory Boy" / Intern himself - my cousin Alan Rodriguez. One of the best guys I know.
Now lower quality photos from my iPhone and other people's Instagrams...
The fam and friends who came through...
My Pops! The handy man who helped me build my clothing rack.
My sewing teacher Nora from Lillstreet Art Center. She's the reason why I can sew labels onto my garments.
My booth neighbors and new friends - Rebecca Mir Grady and Sadie of
Alright, thanks for viewing! Here's to more Renegades and other events in the future. Hope to see all you customers I've met again someday and looking forward to meeting more of you out there.
Never Slack. Stay On Course.