Friday, March 30, 2007

I Like Making Stuff

I always have. Now, I'm trying to make a living making stuff... sheesh. It's fun, but there are plenty of challenges.

Mainly I like selling at craft fairs and such. I have a great time. Traveling, camping out, meeting interesting folks. I love all that. The up side (along with all that stuff) is I'm getting full retail price for all my goods, personal interaction with my customers and therefore direct feedback.

The down side, I suppose, is the added cost of travel, booth fees... and personal energy. Physical and emotional. Well, that's not really a down side I guess, but a cost none the less. The travel, setup, and breakdown takes lots of physical energy. And being 'on' all weekend, schmoozing customers and such, is exhausting as well.

Still, it is my preferred mode of selling... versus say, wholesaling to shops. That's a separate post I think.

The problem I'm trying to solve right now is, well... there are only so many craft shows. The ones that are good for my stuff are the juried (that is, the show folks look at your goods and make sure they're good quality hand crafts) hand-made only craft fairs. I have done pretty well at imports-allowed shows... but never great and more often poorly. I just can't compete with $10 dresses, you know?

So, I need to (A) find more of these high quality shows to do... there are a few things to figure out here. The bay area has the most, but the competition and cost is high. Not sure I'm quite ready for the super A+ ones yet. Also I do live in the boonies, it's at least 4-6 hours to any shows outside my county. So, finding good ones is a learning process, trial and error.

And/or (B) figure out a way to do better at the schlockier shows. I've considered creating a craft activity booth, which would be fun. But that's also a totally new business, one which would be difficult to do alone. I could add more buy/sell ie cheaper clothing to my selection... but, as the title says, I like to make stuff. Not just sell it. I've also tried scaling my goods down to the least expensive items, but really those aren't what sell the best, even at a crappy show.


So, I'm working on it. I do need to get some more wholesale action probably... and figure out how to get more orders from my web site. I think I'll be taking some business workshops, that might help too.

Yeah. It's not easy saving the world with mermaids you know...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Here We Go!

Ok, well you can all relax now. I got my confirmation in the mail yesterday... whew. Not only that, but it looks like I have a killer spot! All alone on a little island, in the middle of the show. Sweet.

I did this show once before... when I was doing Wax Hand job. That is, the job where I worked in a kid's wax hand booth in college. As I recall, the quality of crafts was mixed... not too high end handcrafts, mixed with buy/sell goods. Well populated, large festival with a difficult setup. I also remember hitting some bars at night and having fun. I think it's a sort of historic section of town.

Anyway... I think I'm set up to do as well as possible, which is all I can ever do. At the very least, I'll cover my expenses. Not worried about that. And I'll get some quality time with my little sis, a rare treat. Get a little visiting time with Dad, also fairly rare. AND get out of town to someplace warm where I'll be doing my thing. Good times.

But first, I have approximately one buttload of work to do before I head out of town tomorrow. Onward!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Goin down ta Jackson

This could be a blues song...

But I hope not. Any day now the Dandelion Days - Lions Club guy is going to call me back and confirm my booth space. Yep. Pretty soon. Festival is this weekend. Ha.

Anyway I'm proceeding as if it's a go. My first ever double booth. Yessss. I've got bead kits, hat kits, dye kits, lots of new jewelry... oh, and some new goodies for my booth set up. Extra baskets, better dressing room and awnings! Oh, I'm ready.

And clothes. I always have lots of those.

Jackson is waaay down near Stockton, so there's a bit of travel involved. I'm getting excited to leave town, now that spring is starting to spring forth. It's gonna be in the 70s! Plus, my little sister will be my sidekick for the weekend. That will rock.

So... yeah... once I can get this all uh firmed up... that will be cool.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Well, it's been decided.

The Same Old People will run the North Country Fair this year... and Washington Whatshisname has resigned as coordinator.

Yippee! I can't wait for September and my same old festival.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Out of Hybernation... I suppose...

Well, I think my foggy winter head is waking up finally.

I have my lists of potential craft fairs and application deadlines nicely plotted out on my yahoo calendar. Printed and color coded and pinned to the bulletin board. I'm even sending off applications!

I have my lists and charts of new bead and jewelry stuff all laid out. Sweet. Gawd how I do love going through the bead catalogs and web site. Rather than doing it for 2 weeks, though... in a cave-dwelling haze of notebooks and pajamas... I'm getting it all done in a couple days. Not bad huh?

Sometime today I'll be conferring with The Buz about some new clothing designs. Heehee. I'm gonna have my OWN original designs. So, we need to get going on all that and work out some details.

I'm also working on my booth setup. I want to order a few items to beef up the display a bit... it's getting freakin crowded in there. I've been needing a rolling clothing rack for the travel of wrinkle-prone clothing... and a few other goodies. Barney is working on some sort of removable awnings for the booth tent, so I can do some double-booth festivals... and better survive at a hot show.

Hm... I should do a bit of laundry at some point too. Oh, and I think we have bbq plans w/ friends later on.

So, yeah. I'm finally getting shit done, ok?? Now get of my back. And pour me another cup of coffee while you're up...

Friday, March 02, 2007

North Country Fair Update

(Hey, there's my booth up in the top left corner... see that purple spot?? That's me!)

Ah, the saga continues. You can see my previous posts about this on my Craft Fair Reports list over on the right there... and more recently, here.

So, the other day I got a letter and email from the Same Old People, the traditional organizers of the North Country Fair. They seem more than confident about reclaiming the fair from Washington Whatshisname. So, that's good.

Apparently, they both have submitted applications to the city to use the Plaza for the festival this year. No decisions yet. But, I see also that the city has adopted a new policy of only issuing permits of use to non-profits. That's pretty cool, considering the SOP have now attained that status. They had always worked like a non-profit, but never really felt the need to officially get the papers... because things just worked very well as they were. Anyway, that might be a help.

Also, they have issued a letter to Whatshisname thanking him for his service and notifying him that he is no longer needed to run the fair. However, I know that He has - since having the fair turned over to him last year - filed a fictitious name statement... meaning he 'owns' the name of the fair. Pff. But, that makes him a business, not a non-profit. So, that might be a bigger help.

Well, go to the website. They have the letters posted there... as well as links to many articles following this situation.

I for one am ready to apply to MY same old fair. Woooo!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Not really a secret...

At work, we sell this movie called The Secret. I haven't watched it... but I watched most of Oprah's show about it. Man, she can make even the most deep and wonderful things so very cheesy and lame. I didn't realize that The Secret isn't just a movie, it's a book and a lecture series. A little weird, as far as 'spiritual' type teachings go I think... the method, not the message that is. Anyway, the secret isn't so secret really. Stuff I've lived by for years.

Ask for what you want. Visualize your life as you want it. You create your own reality. That sort of stuff. The idea being, you reap what you sow... or putting out thoughts and energy will create that path for you. I know all that, but I think (aside from the television-cheesiness) it's neat to see it put out mainstream style. I guess. I mean, if that's what it takes for folks to accept some of this info. Things enlightened hippy-types have been spouting forever. Somehow on Oprah it's shiny and acceptable help, late breaking insight. (next week, our annual show about shoes at the oscars!) Whatever.

So I'm visualizing what my ideal Mermaid life would look and feel like. Hm...

I'd sleep in every day, then sit in my pj's on the compy for a few hours drinking coffee. My email would be full of orders from my online store, of course. Every day. I wouldn't work a day job... so I might need to become a better housekeeper, I don't know. I'd do more craft fairs, fancier ones, and almost sell out of things every time. The word 'clamoring' comes to mind. Shops all over the place would be contacting me to carry my clothing. On my terms, because it's so damned popular. I'd have my own giant van and maybe could afford to stay in motels on the road. Aaaaah. Ok, I can picture this. No problem.

Hey! Then they could do a show about ME on Oprah... lol. Nah, nevermind. Gotta go to work now...