Monday, October 14, 2013

Craft Show Disaster


I was at a craft show yesterday. It was, without a doubt, the worst craft show in which I have ever participated.

I have had a table at several craft shows where the sales were less than satisfying. It happens. And it happens for a variety of reasons. At Spring shows, if the weather is nice, no one wants to be indoors. Conversely, in the Winter, if the weather is bad, no one wants to go out.

Sometimes it’s my product. Not that my products are bad. They’re not—I know they’re not! But sometimes kitchen d├ęcor is not what the buying public is looking for. However, people still stop at my booth, and they still ooh and aah over my products. It’s not a total loss because I networked.

But this craft show was a complete disaster.

As someone who organizes craft shows, I know a thing or two about this.

I did what I tell everyone to do—I did my due diligence. I looked up the organizer: Carlene McCalla. She runs her own business called KaleidoscopEvents, organizing weddings, fundraising events, corporate functions. I didn’t find anything negative about her. I did have the sense that this would be the first craft show she organized, but I wasn’t going to hold that against her. We all have to start somewhere and if she can organize a wedding, she can certainly run a craft show.

So I signed up. The cost was $60 for a table. Not unreasonable. The application and contract stated that the event would be advertised, lunch would be provided for vendors and swag bags would be created for the first 50 visitors (we had the option of adding business cards and other pre-approved items).

I was disappointed when I arrived: there were only twelve tables. Then again, I reminded myself that I’ve been at small craft shows where I sold out, so I shrugged it off and set up. The show opened at eight.

I expected Carlene to come by my booth at some point, but at nine-thirty, there was still no sign of her. By ten o’clock, no shoppers had come through the door. The other vendors started getting a little anxious, and tried to contact Carlene by text and voice mail. There was no response.

Just before Noon, someone asked Dean (the man operating the snack bar) when lunch would be served. He wasn’t aware lunch was provided.

Around twelve-thirty, the vendors started getting angry. Many tried to contact Carlene, but to no avail. By two o’clock, vendors starting packing up. At this point, only six people had come through the door. A Google search of the event came up empty (other than our own Facebook notices), which means absolutely no advertising was done—not even local newspapers.

Someone commented that Carlene McCalla wasn’t in attendance because Saturday was her Sabbath. She did arrange for someone to be present in her stead, but that person left by mid-morning. Another person was asked to step up, but I think she only did it to be polite and the poor thing was left holding a very nasty bag.

I could accept this disaster as inexperience on Carlene McCalla’s part. I could say that it was a one-time malfunction. But now that I have slept on it, and I have made a few queries, I have come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a scam.

She collected our money and, other than sending us a floor plan (which, by the way, was not the same set up when we arrived), we never saw or heard from her again. When I got home, I tried to log onto her site (www.kaleidoscopevents.ca), but it has been suspended. I know it existed before—I looked it up. I would not have participated in a craft show if the promoter’s site was suspended!

I won’t be asking for a refund. I figure there’s no point because I am convinced that Carlene McCalla of KaleidoscopEvents swindled our money and we’ll never see it (or her) again.