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Monday, April 4, 2011

Woodstock Market - Review

  • Woodstock Market: Website

  • Location: Old Wal-Mart parking lot in Woodstock

  • Dates: I attended April 1-3 show, but the market is held the first weekend of every month March thru December

  • Hours: Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 11-6

  • Entry fee: $70 for single booth, 10x10 space, all three days

This was my first time attending the Woodstock Market. The weather Friday was gray and chilly and there were no customers. None. I have never had a show where I did not make a single sale . . . . until Friday, April 1st! Saturday was better, there was a car show going on in the adjoining parking lot that I think brought in some more customers. Sunday I didn't return, but let me circle back around to that later. There were about 70 vendors at this show including food vendors (funnel cakes, pork rinds, that kind of fair food). There was a good mix of vendors, it was not jewelry-heavy as so many shows tend to be. Lots of variety - soap, candles, canned goods (jelly, salsa, etc.) wood-working, photography, glass work. I only spotted 3 or 4 commercial booths, one selling a type of jewelry cleaner, another selling a type of home cosmetic party item. There were quite a few first time vendors and a handful of vendors that have done this show for years.

Things I liked about this show:

  • Cost - $70 for 3 days cannot be beat

  • Location - Easy to find (as long as you do not follow your GPS, but pay attention to the building numbers once you turn onto Main Street)

  • Vendors - Good variety and everyone was so friendly

Things I didn't like:

  • Location - Yes, I said that above because it is easy to find, however it is located in the parking lot of an old Wal-Mart building. People have to drive to this location, it is not in an area where people are going to stumble upon during a stroll nor is it within a vibrant shopping area with a built-in customer base.

  • Number of days - Why on Friday? According to most of the repeat vendors that I spoke with, Friday is always incredibly slow in terms of sales. It seems like a weekend show would make more sense. It's also hard for me to take a day off from work on a Friday.
Ah and the weather - outdoor shows are nothing if not challenging when it is windy. And Saturday? WINDY. If you have ever been under a canopy tent in high winds then you know they basically act like sails on a sailboat. If I had been sailing Saturday, I would have had the most awesome sailboat day ever! Sadly, I was not sailing, I was trying desperately to keep my tent grounded. . . and my tent did not live to make it through the end of the day Saturday. It was weighted down very well with the professional concreted filled pvc pipe, chained and bungeed, but the top frame gave up the ghost during a big gust. I was not the only one to lose a tent Saturday either, sad, sad day for tents. Unfortunately, my jewelry does not do well in hot midday sun so I had to forfeit Sunday as my tent was a crumpled mess.

Little bit of a tangent on tents if you happen to be thinking of investing. I had the Swiss Gear tent. Not great in wind at all, very flimsy canopy support and legs. It cost $99 and lasted me two years, but that was primarily due to having lucked out with great weather at shows. A couple of the tents that were mangled Saturday were EZ Up brands. Up until Saturday, this was the brand I had planned to invest in, but they really did not fair much better than my tent. The only tents that did well during the winds were the First Up tents. I watched and even during the highest gusts those tents would barely move while the EZ Ups were shaking all over the place! The merchandise inside the tents is an entirely different story, because wow, so many vendors had things broken or mangled Saturday. Why did the First Up tents do so well? The vents in the top. Genius! So I am investing in a First Up and will report back at the end of the month after testing it at two more outdoor shows. Wind vents, I think they are the answer! (fingers crossed)

Oh yeah, another thing, plastic milk jugs tied to your tent are not ok to use as weights. One gust of wind and your tent is toast!!! Probably your neighbor's tent too.

Ok, so Woodstock Market. Very cute little show, friendly vendors, but alas, not many customers. Apparently they are doing more advertising this year than in past years so perhaps the customer base will build as the season continues. I hope so, I think it could be a really great market with the community's support. I am not planning on signing up for this show again in the next few months because I have other shows that coincide with the same dates. I do plan to go back in the fall and shop around though.

So if you are thinking of doing this show, my advice is to go visit next month, look around, buy a few things, maybe eat a funnel cake, get a feel for the market and decide if you want to be a vendor. Just don't forget the weights if you become a vendor. Seriously, don't forget.

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