Shopping At Quilt Shows

Selling products at quilt shows is both incredibly fun and frustrating.  We manufacture many of our own products and order others from individuals and distributors.  It's always a guess as to which products will sell the best and what sells well one day, sometimes doesn't sell at all the next.

Recently, we determined that our stemless wine glasses were outselling our traditional wine glasses about 10 to 1.  We decided that we would discontinue the stemmed glasses at the end of this year and wouldn't you know it?  The next two customers bought wine glasses with stems. We're still going to discontinue them, though, and expand our drinkware line in general.

Another example is our wood ruler stands.  A simple description would be boards with slots in them.  The process of making them, however, requires a radial arm saw, a router, a belt sander, a drum sander, spray paint and a drying rack, or a hand rubbed finish.  They were selling really well last winter after being featured in AQS Quilting magazine and we made several hundred before setting out on our long road trips.  The boards sold well on the East Coast, but not on the West Coast.  Does that even make sense?  We sold very few from May - September.  Again, we decided we'd probably discontinue them at the end of the year.  And then in our October/November tour of shows, we sold out!  We'll be making more.

This leads me to wonder what inspires a quilter to buy a particular item at a quilt show.  Is it mostly impulse?  Is it the endless search for the perfect tools?  Is it a color?  We once had a customer buy one of everything in our booth if it was pink. 

What do you look for at quilt shows?