7 Quick Takes Friday - Craft Show Edition

Joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday...

The craft show is tomorrow. Which means a significant amount of stress for a few hours in order to have FUN and make some pocket money. I have high hopes every year and dream of handing the Chief a wad of cash while saying "Here, honey... Christmas is paid for!" Maybe this will be my year.

A couple kids are finally old enough to help me out so now there will be multiple members of my family experiencing fatigue, sensory overload and an uncomfortable sense that we must have the approval and money of complete strangers in order to be happy.

I love the mental aspect of selling at craft fairs. It's kind of like a game. A woman approaches the table. She's walking quickly with the don't-talk-to-me-I-know-what-I-want-and-you-likely-don't-have-it-look. She's clutching her pocketbook close to her side. Her scarf is wrapped around her neck. She is cold but rosy cheeked from scoping out the various buildings at a furious rate. You know you shouldn't say a word but are desperate for that first sale...

"Good morning!" She hesitates... not sure whether to walk away or give your items the obligatory once-over. She finally picks up an item that took you 15 solid hours to create and says: I could make one of these myself for a third of the price. She walks away indignant... her pride injured by the brazenness of my salutation.

She didn't buy my stuff... BUT I got her to at least look at it. It's a draw. :)

My ideal craft table would be extremely Catholic. Lots of Blessed Mother for sure. The problem is that, even at a parish fair, Catholic stuff just doesn't sell very well. Every good Catholic has a drawer full of rosaries. Catholic mamas love blankies and pillows featuring Mary but are far too frugal to pay handmade prices for them. I have had many lovely bonding moments with those like-minded ladies over a Catholic taggie, but haven't sold a whole lot.

I once had a Protestant grandfather buy a blanket with Blessed Mother all over it. He said he didn't know much about Mary, but she was so beautiful to see and think of that he wanted his newborn granddaughter to have the blanket.

My parish craft fair is not a cozy family event. It boasts 700 plus tables. Which means that even if you wander around for an hour you still might never find me. It also means that there will likely be at least two other people selling the exact same thing you are. For me, that's a business killer. For others, it seems to make no difference. Case in point? The cheese plate lady who has a table across from mine...

The cheese plate lady (aka Mary) is a tiny white-haired woman who wields a cane and makes cheese plates out of recycled booze bottles. She sits quietly behind her table while customers line up to throw money at her. This in spite of the fact that there is a man about 50 feet from her who sells the exact same thing. In fact, she usually sells out. Looking for a new line of work? Your future is in cheese plates. Get on that.

Selling online is much more profitable for me than craft shows, although there is something about the craziness of the show that draws me back. I think of it as a challenge. I hardly ever do well enough to justify a return but... NEXT year... that's the year! But I want you all to hear me now and remind me of my words come April when the 2012 applications are due:

I never want to do this again. That's it. No more craft shows. Period. 

Just remind me how I can charge more money for stuff that I actually love to make, sell it in greater quantities, and all from the comfort of my home... online.

Please don't call me today. I'll be busy sewing. And bonding with my family as we work together to prepare for this day of FUN and profit. You might be wondering how I found the time to put this post together considering how busy I'm supposed to be. I might as well be straight with you. it's 3:00 in the morning and I intended to work on a little bit of sewing to ease my mind so that I would sleep better instead of think about sewing. Instead, I'm practicing unhealthy techniques called procrastination and avoidance. I'm also causing myself to stay up so late that I will end up sleeping in and getting even less done in the morning. And the real kicker is that I suspect this is one of those nights when I will fall asleep within 5 Ave's. Perhaps I should put my prayers on Blogger.

Posted on December 2, 2011 .