Blue Genie Art Bazaar: The 2023 Christmas Season
Blue Genie Art Bazaar: The 2023 Christmas Season
Review of application:
If you’re looking for information on all of the specifics and ins and outs for what to expect when you apply to Blue Genie Art bazaar, please visit last year’s blog post, here.
This post will be an updated overview of my 2023 Christmas season experience. I’ll review:
Display Changes: What I changed, why I changed it.
Daily Visits: Yes, I recommend visiting your booth as often as possible.
Biggest Season Yet: What this meant for vendors.
Overall Prep: Think you’re starting your prep early enough? Think again.
Change of Display:
Like any professional procrastinator, I waited until 5 days before load-in to entirely re-design and recreate my layout display (I work best under immense, time-sensitive pressure ).
As a quick reminder, here is what my booth looked like in 2022
And here is my May market display in 2023 (some changes were made).
She’s not bad, but not great.
What I considered in my redesign: I wanted shoppers to be able to immediately identify both the size and the pattern of the bandana that they were looking at, to help the decision-to-buying process be simpler.
this was one of my main inspo photos based on how the bandanas are displayed.
One of the biggest problems I had last Christmas and during the May market (when I say problem, I mean that in a good way), was that my bandanas were folded and stacked in a row, which meant customers had to pull any bandana that they wanted to see out of the shelf and from its place in the row. Additionally, because of the way the bandanas were folded in a square or rectangle (depending on the size), the full breadth of the pattern and bandana size were not always visible. Many days I would come back to my booth and spend most of my time refolding and repackaging bandanas. Customers wanted to get a better idea of size and pattern and were unpackaging the bandanas in order to do so.
My main goal in changing my display for 2023 was to troubleshoot this issue.
I did this by: changing the way the bandanas were folded over the belly band packaging so that you could see both the sizing and pattern more clearly, and by changing the way the bandanas were displayed to prevent more messes. For the display, I bought two curtain rod u-hooks to hang a dowel on, and on the dowel I put heavy-duty shower curtain rings. Each bandana was then clipped onto a curtain ring. This meant: You could grab and hold bandanas without taking them off of the display, and you could also easily remove the bandana that you wanted to purchase simply by unclipping them from their ring.
A fun side effect of this: each empty curtain ring allowed me to count exactly how many bandanas I had sold upon each of my tidy up/restock visits, and it gave me an overview of which patterns were being purchased. I was also able to organize the bandanas by color, which I believe gave a more aesthetically appealing design for customers to look at.
Here’s a full shot of my 2023 booth:
(If I look sleepy in this shot, it’s because I absolutely was).
(new logo! New signage!)
Much like my first year, in the weeks following Thanksgiving, my visits for tidy-ups to BGAB were almost daily. On the weekends, I visited once, sometimes twice a day, just to tidy up. In the future, I would change my personal schedule to allow for earlier restocks and tidy-ups, prior to opening. This was not always possible for me,but I highly recommend it, because once the shoppers get inside, it can get hectic very quickly. If you can’t make it prior to opening, then late evenings are usually pretty quiet, during the week.
(10:15AM, right after opening).
Blue Genie staffers do their best to keep things as tidy as possible but with the sheer amount of customers in the store, especially on weekends, it’s kind of impossible to keep everyone’s booth tidy. Some days you show up and it does indeed just look like a hurricane has blown through your booth, that’s just the name of the game!
My booth after a busy Saturday of shoppers. Sometimes, “it just be like that” 🤷🏽♀️
Biggest Season Yet:
By all accounts, but most importantly, by Blue Genie’s Accounts, the 2023 Christmas Season was the busiest in BGAB history. That’s great news for vendors who had the opportunity to participate! It can feel a bit overwhelming at times to pop into your booth and see that it desperately needs to be restocked, but realistically, it’s a fantastic problem to have! Embrace it. Take advantage of Blue Genie’s text-for-booth-photo option. It can help you get a quick overview of what needs to be restocked before you head over there in person. Start a group chat with your fellow vendors, nobody will help you out like a fellow BGAB vendor with 85 booth photos.
Much like last year, I recommend beginning your production preparations for Blue Genie Art Bazaar’s Christmas season as early as August or September. While I had purchased a lot of my fabric ahead of time, my true preparation did not begin until closer to mid October due to travel, which I did end up regretting. I would also recommend considering how busy you truly want to be overall during the Christmas and Holiday market season. It’s tempting to book your Christmas markets in September and October in addition to Blue Genie, but consider how much product you are prepared to have for both Blue Genie and and your in-person markets before booking that market.
For the 2024 Christmas Season at BGAB, should I be accepted, I will:
-Not change my booth design, except for a few tweaks (add more racks for bandana displays, get rid of the small blue shelf)
-Start ordering Christmas fabric in July so that in August and September I can be sewing and preparing product
-Focus on having classic Christmas and Texas/Austin-themed bandana patterns over anything else.
-Stocking stuffers are key. The $10 price point was a hot spot for me this year!
-Create a better inventory tracking system (this is my achilles heel).
-Have all of my Christmas-specific products ready to be stocked by Black Friday Weekend. Christmas products for me sold like wildfires the week after Thanksgiving (Black Friday weekend) and into the following two weeks.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading! I hope this provides some insight that you can use for yourself at future BGAB seasons, or otherwise. As usual, I had a great season with Blue Genie, and was so happy to be able to participate…Here’s to next season (hopefully!)