Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Post-Craft Show Reflections

Two days before the show I was sick in bed with a fever, major sinus congestion, head and body aches, along with a throat that felt like someone had made a few harsh passes with a cheese grater through. While I do have regular ailments (migraines, some allergy issues) it's been some time since I've actually caught a serious virus and this just seemed like a perfect case of Murphy's Law in action. The worst part of it cleared by the end of the next day though and I just had to tangle with the congestion on the day of the show.
In this photo you can see the three white pedestals I used to add some height to the display. Two were vintage finds from Etsy and the largest one is actually a cake stand from Target.

To my delight, the craft show went surprisingly well. I was afraid my inventory of prints and jewelry wouldn't adequately cover the surface of the two tables I brought, but in actuality I could have used a third table. I was anticipating one or two sales which I was hoping would cover the $40 entry fee, but I ended up selling enough to cover the investment I made in the EZ Up Tent, a sturdy Samsonite table, and the entry fee. Those items weren't all of my investments for the show of course, but they were the major ones (I probably would have ended up buying most of the jewelry supplies anyway). The overall reaction to my work was really positive and I was invited to participate in two other upcoming area shows.
In the background you can catch a glimpse of the letterpress printer's tray I used to display my earrings.

Several years experience as a customer service agent in a phone center has left me rather pessimistic and jaded when it comes to dealing with people in a business capacity, and that position made me wary of dealing with potential clients at the show. (I still have a day job with the same company but in a different department with minimal direct client contact so things are slightly better now.) Thankfully I found that the context of the show was so different than at my place of employment and I could be at much greater ease interacting with the public.
Here's a sneak peak at the necklace I was posted about two entries ago, along with some other soon-to-be-posted necklaces.

I'm planning on participating in next year's show and perhaps one of the shows to which I was invited later this year. Right now though I just want some time to be free to leisurely create for my own fulfillment again without a looming deadline, although deadlines are certainly motivating. I have been gradually adding some items from the show to my Etsy shop and there are more items to come (I still need to properly photograph some of them)! There are also a few more photos from the show forthcoming, including one of the paper bunting I made.
My print display system consisted of vintage drawers from old sewing machines. You can also see the manila tags I stamped with pricing information.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Panic Mode

The craft show I've been trying to prepare myself for the last six months is now looming only eight days away and panic mode is truly starting to settle in. In comparison to my normal, not-in-preparation-for-a-craft-show production rate, I think I've accomplished a lot, but when I think about setting all of my current items out on the display tables I feel like my booth will seem a bit sparse. I keep on consoling myself with the fact that it will be quality over quantity and I do think that is true, but I will still like to have more items to offer. I'm expecting to pull several all-nighters in order to add a selection of more affordable items like earrings and basic leather cuffs to assist with this issue. As this is the first craft show I'm participating in more than a decade, I don't expect my booth will be the top notch, most high tech, polished, and über-professional one at the event, but I hope it will rise above the amateurish, be creative, and compliment my work.

I've been planning to redesign my logo and overall "look" as I no longer think it best suits my current style, but in the midst of actually crafting work for the show I just haven't had the time to do so. This means that I'll be using my current business cards and I did not get the opportunity to have an official banner printed. So in lieu of a sleek, vinyl banner I made myself one in the form of a paper bunting. I was inspired by the photos Cathe Holden took of various booths at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair (oh how I wish we had Renegade Craft Fairs around here!). Almost all of the crafters featured made their own signage in the form of buntings (even the logo at the top of the post incorporates one), so I decided to try my hand at one. My work doesn't really jive with the primary colors and triangular pennant-like shape of the more traditional buntings some of the San Francisco crafters used, so I modified the design a little bit to suit my style and so far I'm really pleased with the result. I still need to string the individual flags to hang them as a unit and I want to create a spacer flag with the image of an old skeleton key to separate the two words, but otherwise it's all done. Last week my boyfriend and I wandered into Creative Inkling, a scrapbooking and craft shop in Lahaska, PA, for the first time and I bought all sorts of goodies including some gorgeous letter stamps which I used on my bunting. In addition to those I purchased some other items I plan on using for my other signage including large manila tags which have vintage postcard typography on them. I'm planning to use those as signs to list the various prices for my matted prints.
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