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Your First Craft Fair

I am hardly an expert on the subject, but I have done a few craft fairs now, and some of my friends have been asking my advice about playing the circuit themselves.  The best I can do is offer links that I have found helpful and pointers I have learned from my own mistakes.

1.  Go for the networking, stay for the sales.  Don’t get me wrong; just because you’re starting out, doesn’t mean you can’t expect to have sales, but craft fairs, especially in this economy, can be as valuable for networking as they can be for turning an immediate profit.  I have gotten many calls after the fair about custom orders and bulk orders from people I have talked to at my booth.

2.  Display is important.  Go to other craft fairs.  How are other booths set up?  If you sell jewelry, which jewelry displays catch your eye?

3.  Planning is everything.  Display is important, yes, but how do you manage a great display when you only have an hour to set-up the tent, the table, the product…  I like to have a trial run of my display in my living room the night before.  Take a picture so you remember what works.

4.  Price appropriately.  If you price too high, people won’t buy.  If you price too low, people think your work is cheap.  Research similar products and price what yours are worth.  Make sure you cover your costs and pay yourself for your time.

5.  Have fun!  Be friendly.  If you have a booth buddy, take a break and walk around and introduce yourself to other vendors.  Make sure you bring food and water if it is an all day event.  Invite your friends.  If you’re having a good time, other people will too!

 

More great tips on the Etsy blog, the Folksy Blog, and a great article about surviving your first craft fair (outside) on Handmadeology.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Craft Fairs

 

Decompress

Wednesday night was the Mixer-Match, sponsored by I Heart Art: PDX. That was the craziest, fastest, most worth-it networking event I have ever been a part of.

Here’s how it breaks down: Upstairs local retailers sit by their numbers. Downstairs vendors await their turn to play the circuit speed-dating style. Everyone has 2 minutes to introduce themselves, give the pitch, and make professional connections. I got great feedback about my line, and especially about my kits. I feel encouraged to make more of the stamped journals (I had been on the fence about it) and maybe even stationary and pottery in similar colors and styles. I am excited to be developing this brand new “product line.”

More to come.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Events

 

Gnomes and Wonderlands

Long time coming: The gnome’s backdrop. Watch for the gnome around Portland! You could get your picture taken with him! (If you spot this backdrop, I painted it!) What a fun project this has been!

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Craft Fairs, On the Side

 

A Change In Plans, or A Moving Update

I expected this morning to be heading northward for the first session of my tax prep class. Just as I was grabbing a power bar and cramming my feet into my shoes to run out the door, the teacher called to say the session had been cancelled. Fortunately, I was able to reschedule, but now my class will be a longer commute and afternoons rather than mornings. As pleased as I am to have the extra time this morning, readjusting my schedule for the next several weeks may prove to be challenging. Such is life.

The move went well last weekend, despite the lack of time to settle in. I still have several boxes in the basement, and I still don’t know where most of my essentials exist. I wore stage makeup for a gig this past weekend, and after failing to find my makeup remover after an extensive search after the show, I gave up and fell asleep in the mascara. I’m sure everything will resurface in due time. I had forgotten just how hectic a move can be, especially with the added element of trying to keep a business afloat whilst relocating.

Last week was full of insanity and commuting all over town for various painting and construction projects, and I’m hoping to take care of some of the technicals (like switching the utilities) today. This week I’ll be preparing for Mixer Match, a speed networking event sponsored by I Heart Art: Portland.

More as the week progresses! Happy Monday!

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Events, On the Side

 

A Planner! A Planner! My Kingdom for a Planner!

Finding the right planner is always a challenge. I prefer the school-year planners that begin mid-summer and go through the next year. 18 month are perfect. But I would rather have a notebook-sized planner over a 5×7, and my favorite layout only comes in a very juvenile style or is not in stock. Each year, I roam from store to store, in an attempt to find the perfect planner. I would make one myself, except that I would rather have a spiral bound over another binding.

What is necessary in a good organizer? Personally, I want a calendar at the beginning of each month, and a two-page spread week breakdown just behind that. What I really need, then, is an hourly breakdown day by day, just behind that. That way I can see how things measure up in the month, I have a spread to see what needs to be done during the week, and I have my hourly schedule accessible at all times.

I have yet to find a planner that includes both a weekly breakdown and also a day-by-day breakdown. Ah, well. I’ll have to start designing my 2013 organizer now.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in The Month Ahead

 

Self-Employed!

It’s official! Though it means hell for my taxes and more weekly paperwork, my Self-Employment Assistance application went through! It’s exciting to feel official, working for myself. It doesn’t really change much, except that I can stop applying for minimum wage office assistant positions for auto parts shops and focus that time and energy on developing my own business.

Speaking of which, I should probably finish my calendar for August…

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Upcoming Events

For those of you who are as crazy about word-related events as I am, I would like to add a regular update of Portland events.

What: A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Mike McGonigal. Fundraiser for the IRPC (Independent Publishing Resource Center).
Where: Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Portland, OR.
When: Wednesday, July 27. 8:00pm-2:00am.
Cost: $7.00 day of the event.
There’s a list of bands on the website. The IPRC are great people. Go give ’em some love.


What: BroadArts Concert: COWGIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!
Where: Urban Grind Coffee House, 911 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR.
When: Saturday, July 30. 7:30-9pm.
Cost: $8.00 in advance (www.BroadArts.org or 503-288-5181). $10.00 at the door.
We’re raising money for our upcoming lesbian cowgirl musical, Bunkin’ With You in the Afterlife. Jody Seay, who wrote the show, is also launching her new memoir, Dead in a Ditch — Growing Up in Texas & Other Near-Death Experiences, and will be reading selections from her book. Yours truly will be performing with the band.


What: Portland Poetry Slam
Where: Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave, Portland, OR.
When: Sundays at 8pm. Sign-ups for open mic are at 7:30pm.
Cost: $5.00 suggested donation.
Come slam with us every Sunday.

I’m adding an events page today, and hopefully I will remember to update it.  But I will still post blog updates as events come up!

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Events, On the Side