Last Saturday Mom and I had a booth at the annual craft show at the Shawsville Middle School. I'm just glad she's still speaking to me after 9 months of preparation and eight hours of craftapalooza.
Actually we had a great day. It was the first craft show we've ever done, although we've done a number of yard sales and flea markets together. Somehow back in January I got a wild hair up my butt about doing a show and was able to get on the list at Shawsville. The months since then have been filled with felting sweaters for material, planning and cutting out designs, and stitching items together. I've made wreaths, painted treat buckets, fashioned brooches, and wired bedsprings into hanging lanterns. I've caulked, glued, epoxied, stitched, and tied. I've stained fabric with coffee, glittered felt posies, glued ribbon on clothespins, and wrapped rag balls. I've spent hours cursing at the sewing machine only to be filled with glee when I was able to fix the problem. (Who knew stitch length could be so important?) I scoured the local Goodwill store for votive candle holders on a weekly basis and the nice ladies at the local JoAnn's Fabrics must think I'm a closet hoarder of clearance calico.
Needless to say, our booth was pretty full of stuff for sale.
In the end, the house has been in shambles for months and I'm probably certifiably deranged, but gosh it was fun! And *hoo-eee*, talk about a learning experience.
The Top Ten Things I've Learned While Crafting
1. You should consider getting a tetanus booster shot if you're going to work with rusty metal springs.
2. Glitter will collect in every crack and crevice of a hardwood floor. Vacuuming will not remove it, even weeks later.
3. Some industrial craft adhesives should really only be used outdoors.
4. You won't be able to match colors between dye lots.
5. Profit margins on craft items should always include the value of the time you put into making the item.
6. Never calculate the value of your time while crafting unless you enjoy being depressed.
7. You probably will never sell all of your merchandise at one show, thus requiring the need to sign up for another show to move the merchandise. You will then create new items between shows, thus initiating a vicious cycle.
8. The wise crafter specializes in lightweight items or has a moving team of many, many people to help set up the booth.
9. If you have a unique item, many of the other vendors will spend much of the day scoping out your wares and planning on making it themselves next time.
10. Unsold merchandise makes fabulous Christmas presents.
I also realized that antiques or vintage items are easier to sell in the sense that you might do a minor repair or clean the item, but it's not like you're making that Empire buffet or crazy quilt from scratch. Most craft items require a lot more time to make than you originally thought and you're liable to put more money into the item than anyone is willing to pay for it.
But despite all this, I really enjoyed making my items, preparing for the show, and receiving feedback on my work during the show. It's great when someone really, really likes your work and actually buys some of it. I think the greatest compliment came from the woman who inquired if I had a shop somewhere else. Will I do another show? I'm not sure. I've signed up for a two day show in Floyd next October, but I haven't fully committed to it yet. I think it will depend on who I can rope into working the show with me (seeing how Mom came to her senses during the middle of the Shawsville show and declared that, with God as her witness, she is not a crafter) and what inventory I create between now and then. But for right now I can relax and truly enjoy the holiday season because all my Christmas "shopping" is done for once.