Samples and Goody Bags
Many of the big fiber festivals give out goody bags to the attendees. Sometimes all it takes is walking through the door, sometimes you have to sign up for them and/or pay an entrance fee to get one. The bag itself is always useful as a shopping bag which encourages you to buy at the festival. Most fiber festivals are lucky to end up breaking even so the bags can be an unsupportable expensive if they were paid for by the management. Usually they are sponsored by vendors for which they get their logo carried around by each and every attendee. Yes, it's a good thing.
Then there is what you find inside the bag when it's handed to you. Most shows that give out goody bags encourage vendors and associated groups to put something in them. That can be a coupon or a sample - something that will draw the attendees to your booth or it can be advertising for some event going on at the same time that might be of interest to the attendees - like a museum exhibit or a quilt show or even the perfect pizza. We love goody bags and frequently sponsor them so our logo is carried around at the show.
Over the years we toyed with putting coupons in the goody bags but they never seemed to get a great response. A few people would wander into the booth with coupons to use but not nearly as many as the coupons we carefully printed and cut into sections. We do much better with samples.
We could use yarn samples since we sell a lot of yarn but they take a lot of time to measure off and tie so they look as wonderful as our yarn does on the shelf. We generally limit ourselves to fiber samples for the goody bags. They are quicker to make up and look great when you pull them out of the bag. We get people who come to our booth to trade samples - we are happy to do it. Maybe you are allergic to wool or you really want to try the silk sample your best friend got in her goody bag. Or maybe you just really hate the color purple. We are always happy to oblige. We want everyone to have a fun sample to try out. Hopefully it will be a fiber you've never tried to spin before so you get to try out and fall in love with a new fiber.
We also get people who come by the booth who don't spin. Do you have something that isn't fiber to trade? No, we don't so we usually suggest they try to trade it for something from their spinning friends.
Here is the sample making process. First have small plastic bags on hand. Pull the four ounce bumps of fiber apart into amounts that will fit nicely in the plastic bags. Add a business card with your contact information and include a description of the fiber. Tie up the bags with hand spun yarn. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat... hundreds of times.
I've been working on samples for the last several days. I need 300 samples to be shipped to Karla Herre for the Yellow Rose Fiber Fiesta in Seguin, TX the 21st of April. Those need to arrive by April 1st. I also need to send 200 samples to Laura Viada for the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Biennial Conference in Sugar Land, TX the 31st of May. Those need to arrive by May 1st.
I have 200 boxed up so far and am working on the next 100. Then the next 200. Plus we need more for the booth. We sell these samples, called Felter's Fabulous Finds, in the booth for $2 each or 3 for $5.