Sunday, October 18, 2009

5 Lessons I learned from Craft Fairs

It IS the season of crafty goodness. Fall here isn't complete without hayrides, hot cider, hot chocolate, pumpkins, apple everything and tons and tons of crafty goodness. I have been busy trying to balance normal life with crafty life and taking part in the crazy pre-Christmas festival season. I have a lot of respect for people who do this year round, all the time. I don't think I'm cut out to be a lifer but here's a little snapshot of what I've experienced so far.

If you wanna make it in the craft world.....

1) You have to draw people in....
Dozens of doggies in costume and competing for various puppy prizes at the Pumpkins and Pooches Festival....a must see for animal lovers.

2) You have to stand out from the crowd, you need to have an original idea...
This lovely local man started making reindeer from leftover wood a couple of years ago, he shows up with a truckload of little Rudolph's and often goes home with an empty truckload....even I couldn't resist having one of my own after staring at the little guy all day.

3) You have to be professional....your booth and your work should look like a million bucks but your prices have to make people feel like they're getting a deal.
Evelyn Villegas is a very talented woman who sells Peruvian jewelry
, some of which is intricately woven together in the technique of her ancestors. Her prices were so amazing, I dropped a bunch of money on Christmas presents right there.

4) You have to be kind to your fellow crafter. It's amazing how many wonderful people I've met just by sitting next to them during a long festival day. Watching each other's booths, lending supplies, swapping ideas for upcoming the end of the day, you feel like you've made it through an ordeal together and become friends.
My favorite crafter to sit next to is of course my mom!

5) You have to be brave. It is not easy to let people touch, look at, comment on or pass by the things you've taken hours to make. It makes you just want to sit down and cry when the wind knocks over your carefully placed display. It certainly is not logical to get up early in the morning, lug all of your wares out to the car, travel to the fair site, set them up frantically and then take it all down and start over again another day. You have to be gutsy (or nutsy!) enough to do this without knowing the outcome. This is the hardest part for me as it is with all of life.

If I knew that doing something would bring great success, much joy and plenty of moula....of course I would do it. But most times we don't know for sure, we're just stepping out in faith. You can't get anywhere if you don't start somewhere. Keeping your eyes and ears open along the way. So many times I want to stop and figure out if something is worth my time, worth investing my heart in....will I waste money, will I waste time, will my heart get broken? I believe in making wise decisions but if I waited for the answer to all of these questions I would be unable to move. In the wise words of Bob Wiley from the movie What About Bob? all you need is one baby step at a time. "Baby steps to the elevator, baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps..." Happy baby stepping!