This experience reminded me of why I had decided to sell online in the first place.
- My Etsy shop is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without me having to be there to watch it.
- I can list one item for sale or 100 items. No need to have a huge inventory....just list what I have made so far or take custom orders.
Selling online is so very different than selling live and in person. It's much like what we went through when our children were younger and used to dance at powwows. We had started doing some Native American performances for schools, groups, companies, and events. The kids had a tough time at first because dancing for an audience is very different than dancing at a powwow. At powwows, they danced in a way that fit the music, coming up with moves as they went along and moving around the powwow circle a lot. For performances, they needed to face the audience more and do more choreographed moves. Our kids eventually figured out how to adjust to each situation.
Selling online allows constant availability and allows you to set up with whatever inventory you have.
Selling in person requires you (or someone you trust) to be there to make the sales and works best if you have a good supply of items to sell. There may be costs involved in getting a space at a boutique or craft fair and no guarantee that you will sell anything. You do have an opportunity to talk to people and get to know potential customers. Having business cards available may lead to some future sales.
I'm not saying that one is better or worse than the other....just different. You have to adjust to the limitations of each situation. One article I found helpful was called "Why I don't do craft shows (but why you might want to)" on Crafting an MBA. If you're considering setting up at a boutique or craft show, Handmadeology offers up The Ultimate Craft Show Prep List.
My employer hosts a boutique every year in November and we are preparing to set up there. One thing I realized while sitting out in the sun and trying to sell our creations was that we need to come up with some better ways to display everything. I don't know if we'll do much more live selling, but I'm trying to improve the experience.