Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sea winds brought her to me

Woo hoo! I've got my first craft show under my belt. This past week has been a frenzy of preparing for it; hence no blog posts. I had to figure out display, pricing, packaging purchases and keeping track of my inventory. Oh and fretting about whether I had enough to sell. I did.

So yesterday at 6:30am, I woke up, got dressed, ate a hearty breakfast and dragged myself over to the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Community Center. This trip to Seattle proper made me remember why I love this city so much. The old neighborhoods are so interesting and quirky. And have giant old converted schoolhouses as community centers that people can rent for various events - very cool!

It was freezing outside as we waited for the custodian to show up and unlock the door, but warm and toasty inside the auditorium. The organizers patiently pointed us to our spots and thus began the slow process of carting everything from the car and setting up. (I was smart and had packed everything into the car the night before - lord knows I would have forgotten something if I had waited until morning to do that.)

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on this event - what if I don't like selling at craft fairs, and plus, I don't want this to take over my life. Oh wait, I think it might be too late for that.

So I used tablecloths and a beaded table runner I already had, which worked great. For display I used a few of the little props I bought at Goodwill for my photography, plus the trays we got from Jasmine and Chris as a wedding present, and the corkboard I use to hold my own personal jewelry at home. I got a couple of compliments on the corkboard idea, but I can't take credit for that one - I saw it in a book. Oh, and the 1995 Big T Caltech yearbook was another display platform because it's just a smooth solid black.

It took the better part of an hour to set all my stuff up, and in the meantime, my table sharing partner Kirstin showed up and set up all of her fabulous recycled cashmere scarves and pillows. You *must* check them out - they're gorgeous, soft, and eco-friendly. These would make great Christmas gifts. No one could walk by our booth without touching her scarves, and I think I benefitted from that attention, too.

So then it was 9am, and the official start of the show. We waited patiently. It was a pretty slow start, but Kirstin and I chatted since we had never met before and that kept me entertained for much of the day. I guess it could have turned out very differently - as most people know, I'm easily annoyed - but she was a *great* person to share a table with for 7 hours.

I was a little peeved because there was another jewelry seller right next to me - I knew there would be several, but I was hoping they'd try to space them out a bit. This woman had the craft show thing down - credit card machine, tons of inventory, quick setup. But my work was pretty different from hers so it worked out ok in the end.

Eventually people started coming by. I am so lucky to have such good friends in Seattle. I sent out an email inviting everyone I knew to attend the craft show, not to buy stuff from me, but just to come and see all the fabulous handmade stuff there.

I was *so* pleased to see Chris, Catie, Mrs. Bryant and Jenny - and pretty surprised since Jasmine and Chris's new baby Charlie was just born earlier this week. Understandably, Jasmine and Charlie were at home sleeping :) Mrs. Bryant bought one of my favorite pieces as a gift for someone - very cool.

Then Lisa came, and it turned out she works with the crafters sitting at the table directly behind me! Small world, I guess.

I had a steady trickle of both known visitors and new ones all day. Hans and Doyle showed up to chat for a little while (and buy something - woo hoo!), and so did Carey and her cutie pie son Greyson, who I haven't seen since he was a baby. Carey and I worked at Deloitte together, and then eventually she ended up at Microsoft so we got together for lunch several times (yay Mexican food) when I was still at Microsoft.

In the end, I sold 10 items, which was 9 more than I was hoping for! Of course, there's this little nagging doubt in my mind about whether my friends were just being nice. I hope not.

One of my sales *was* actually to someone I didn't know beforehand, so that made me feel better. She bought a bracelet that I wasn't sure anyone would like (except me, of course). TJ certainly didn't like it, because it was had bright orange flower beads on it.

The day passed rather quickly. I still have to work on my sales persona. When someone stopped to look, I definitely said hello and smiled, but didn't want to seem pushy so I let them ask questions before I said anything more. One lady tried on one of my necklaces, but I didn't say anything to sell her on it - maybe I should have pointed out its features while she had it on. She didn't end up buying it.

A couple of people took my business card so hopefully they'll be online shoppers later.

Thanks to the wonders of my Motorola Q cell phone and its Internet access, I could delete items from my etsy shop as they sold, so I didn't have to take even the slight chance that someone would try to buy something that's unavailable.

Next Saturday I've got another craft show in Redmond, at the Redmond Senior Center from 10am - 3pm. I think the crowd will be very different but I'm looking forward to it since it's close to home and pretty short. The organizers claim that they've advertised in several places, and I've put it up on several websites as well. As Leslie told me, it's an inexpensive way to do market research so even if I don't sell anything, I'll probably learn something.

Oh - and one of my custom orders reached its recipient on Friday - it was a set of mother-daughter necklaces. Apparently they *love* them. Too cool. That was a fun project, for which I have my dad to thank for the referral. Thanks Appa.


  1. That's awesome that you sold 10 things! And, BTW, sales to friends and people you know totally do count. :) (I sold 2 things, and one was to Julia, who is in EtsyRain. :) )

    Your table setup looked really nice, too. I liked the tablecloth and runner combination a lot. Very elegant looking, but with color too.

    I'm trying to decide if I'm going to be able to haul my bookcase out of the living room again, to use to display hats. It works great, but every time I move it, it starts falling apart a little bit more. Stupid cheap furniture...

  2. @dawn - thanks for the compliments!

    Your bookcase seemed like the perfect way to store all your hats - can you reinforce it somehow, even with duct tape or something?

  3. Well, I'm hoping to avoid duct tape, but I did ask Jerome if he could put some screws in through the sides, just to keep the shelves stable. Most of them are still mostly stable, but I'd hate for it to just give up and fall down... :)


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