Sunday, November 15, 2015

My First Craft Fair

After 3 months of knitting like crazy (or as crazy as you can when you can't put down the steampunk series you just discovered), I managed to produce a decent handful of stuffed toys. It wasn't nearly as many as I had hoped to fill my table space, but fortunately I had a plentiful stash of previously unsold items to display - a few tops, scarves, shawls, and hats to show off my range of ability and style.

I also spent several hours putting together a portfolio of my best work, since commissions have always been my best source of sales.

The sale was in the church basement directly after the service, so for the first hour, we had a built-in stream of customers in an exit-through-the-gift-shop kind of way. I made two sales and lined up a commission very quickly, and then a visit from friends garnered a third sale. And then, as the congregation made their way home, I eagerly awaited the dozens of people who would surely make the trip to our little tucked away corner of Hillsboro for such an event.

The hours crawled by. The kids of vendors popped in and out but rarely was the sound of the basement door opening accompanied by the appearance of an actual customer. By the time 3 o'clock rolled around, I hadn't made any more sales, and I had an awful lot more to pack up and take home than I had expected.

Despite the dismal turnout, I could hardly have asked for a better "practice fair." The cost of my table space was a percentage of my sales rather than a flat fee, so there was no risk of losing money. Most of the customers already knew me, so they weren't (visibly) annoyed by my embarrassing lack of business cards or shopping bags. There was a ready supply of coffee and snacks, for which I was especially grateful since I had entirely forgotten to bring a lunch. The woman who won my hat in the raffle was adorably gleeful and didn't take the it off for the rest of the time she was there.

 And a special shoutout to my husband, who was not only endlessly supportive and helpful while I was knitting and agonizing over inventory and pricing, but took care of the kids the whole time I was at my table, shuttling them home from church and back again to pick me up. And then sprang for beer and gyros. What a guy. ^_^

I had hoped to walk away with more cash and less yarn, but all in all, it was an exhausting, educational, and most certainly memorable experience.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Hoo boy.

I started attending a UU church back in May. Fabulous people. Completely welcoming. I love everything about it.

So, this past Sunday in the weekly newsletter I happened to see a notice about a craft fair in November. Craft fair! Those words make my heart sing and my brain flood with the smell of wool and fabric glue. Blithely refusing to think it through, I marched straight to the coordinator, Sandi, and asked her what it would cost to have a table.

Much to my delight, the table is free! With a requested donation of a craft item to the raffle and a suggested donation of a small portion of my earnings for the day. Absolutely! Sign me up!

Apparently they are really not lacking for knitters (imagine that), and especially not lacking for knitters who mostly knit hats (oh darn), but Sandi pounced when I stuttered out stuffed animals in the list of things I could potentially provide. There used to be a knitter of stuffed animals, I was told, until she moved back to Germany, leaving quite the sad, knitted-stuffed-animal shaped hole in the UU church craft fair offerings.

Blitheness unchecked, I cheerfully asserted that I could certainly knit a table's worth of stuffed animals in barely more than 90 days. While raising two tiny children. And finishing the gifts for my new niece and nephew. Absolutely. Piece of cake.

Hoo boy.