Sunday, October 05, 2008

You mean ... I can rest now??

Well, I meant to try to get to the computer yesterday and let y’all know how the craft fair went, but we’ve been busy visiting with Bjorn’s sister, and I have also been really exhausted, so this is the first chance I’ve really had.

(Me and my booth, with the Teenager looking like he’d rather be home in bed. I hate how fat this picture makes me look ... and goofy. Bjorn still hasn’t figured out how to take a decent-looking picture of me!)

So ... I guess things went alright. I’m wondering if people are just kinda freaked about the economy and that’s why we didn’t have just a gigantic turnout. I didn’t meet my goal of $200 minimum sales (I made about $140), but at least I did do better than at the Catholic church’s craft fair last year. What’s surprising to me is the things that didn’t sell – no one bought the coasters, I only sold one Christmas card set, and a couple of frames, also one of the general note-card sets. I didn’t sell a single one of the Scripture flip-books, either. So most of what sold were the individual cards. People admired the other stuff, but no one bought it. And even though it was advertised as a “Christmas Arts & Crafts Bazaar”, there were only a few specifically Christmas items there (someone had some stuffed Santas and a few other fabric things). There were a TON of jewelry booths. The organizers billed it as a place to buy Christmas presents (which is why I made the frames, coasters, etc.), but I guess lots of people aren’t quite “there” yet, on buying Christmas presents. Anyway, I got the impression it wasn’t just me who didn’t have quite the success I was hoping for, so it was either the economy or people weren’t into the “Christmas Bazaar” idea yet.

I was invited to be in the Catholic church’s fair again this year, but discovered it’s on a Sunday, and I don’t really want to sell things on a Sunday, so I’ll probably skip that one. Theirs starts at 11:30, so I’d have to skip my church service, and I don’t want to do that to sell things. One of the other vendors also was telling me that her church was going to have a huge craft fair at the beginning of December, and she said she’d e-mail me about it, so if she does that (or I may just call the church and see about it), I may do that one. It’ll be too late to sell the Christmas cards then, though.

Anyway, it was both fun and a bit frustrating because, this only being my second craft fair, I still haven’t figured out how to encourage buyers without being pushy, and I really don’t know how to “read the market” yet, either. Seems like the cards are the best way to go, for me, though.

My sister-in-law said she got the impression some people might not have realized I hand-make each and every card, that none of them are mass-produced (other than me just ‘mass producing’ them by making several at once), so I need to be sure to emphasize that next time. I also think there are a lot of people who have no idea how much work goes into this card-making thing. As you fellow-stampers know, it's not just smacking a stamp down onto a piece of paper and slapping it all together on some pretty paper. It takes thought, organization and planning, and TIME to do these things, whether it's creating backgrounds with techniques, paper piecing, coloring, embossing (heat AND dry), cutting all that paper, doing the embellishments, planning the color combos and figuring out what patterned papers will go together with what other stuff (or with each other), etc., etc., etc. And making four to six of them at a time (or sixteen, in the case of the Christmas cards) ... yeah, it's not "kid stuff", it's ART, plain and simple. There is creativity and an "eye" for arrangement and order involved. I SO appreciated the people yesterday who understood all that. (Especially if they bought the cards they were praising! lol)

Well, now I can just kinda kick back and make stuff “for fun” again, though I really did enjoy focusing on the craft fair for awhile. I have neglected my TJ techniques woefully for the last couple of months, and I have an all-new newsletter to play with now, so that will be fun. Also now I can work on my story without feeling guilty. And I can SCRAPBOOK! Whoa! There’s a concept! I definitely want to get back into doing that. I was thinking I might start on my London Semester album. It has been exactly 20 years since I spent a semester in London (and met Bjorn there!), so it would be fun to go back and scrap that (I’ve already been collecting paper for it).

Lots of possibilities. And I’m still seriously considering selling my stuff online, I just need to figure out the right venue. Etsy and eBay are too competitive (and have too many competitors who undercut prices), so I’d like to just sell maybe from my blog, or from my own little online store. But I need to get a post office box first. I don’t feel comfortable having my home address “out there” on return address labels, KWIM?

It’s getting late, and I’m SO exhausted, still. It’ll be nice to get back to a more “normal” schedule next week (unless that means I’m now responsible for actual HOUSEWORK???? Gaaaaaa!).

Hope you all had a great weekend, and blessings for the week ahead!

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