This weekend felt both really long and super short. Saturday I had my first big craft fair and only my second craft fair ever. I will say I am a lot more organized than I used to be so all the logistics that I was worried about didn't come into play at all. Really the preparing and loading and setting up and taking down was easier than I ever would have dreamed it could be. The fair experience itself was a mixed bag for me. There was the good and the not so good. I will start with the not so good so I can end on a positive note, because truly, I do feel like the experience overall was a positive one. The worst part was that it was very slow. Painfully so. A huge venue, 200 vendors and a very sparse crowd. And from my vantage point and talking to other vendors this was by far the slowest they had experienced at this particular craft fair which is usually hustling and bustling, upbeat and very profitable. There definitely seemed to be a vibe in the air that if tumble weeds would have started rolling down the isles I wouldn't have been surprised. I walked out breaking even which I felt really grateful for in the end. I think I was lucky to do so.
The good parts were on a more personal level - and really those are the longest lasting. Being online all the time with both my business and my blog, I wanted to do something that was "in person," be apart of my local community, have the opportunity to network and meet other people. And that was really lovely to do. I am really glad that this afforded me the opportunity to that. I met people whose products I have been admiring on local shop shelves for years and new extremely talented artists who I am so excited to know about (I'll share some of their work in a later post). I also met and exchanged information with several shop owners, which was another reason I wanted to participate. While I have my designs online (obviously) and in shops in other parts of the world and the country, I don't have anything here in Portland.
In the end, I am not so sure I am going to be adding craft shows to my repertoire. I am not sure it's the right fit for me. Plus breaking even does not include time spent, and these things are a lot of work, and seriously I did the minimum. I wanted to use a bit of restraint not knowing how it would go (though i wish i would have gotten better pictures of mine, but i just snapped a few. it was fun seeing everything together outside of my own shelves). Some peoples booths were just amazing, I couldn't imagine the hours they put into it. And as I learned you just never know, one year it might be overwhelmingly busy and the next you might walk out with a deficit. And with that said, it also validated that the way I have naturally been inclined to run my business and the way my business has organically developed works really well for me. But validation is really great sometimes, and like I said, I walked away with a lot of good things - all of which wouldn't have happened if I didn't do this. Another benefit of doing something like this is that it makes me appreciate normal life. Being non-stop busy for three weeks preparing makes me nostalgic for things like having time to clean my house, read books, visit people and reinvigorates me to keep putting my energy into working toward the things that I have been steadily been working on building and growing. So honestly while, like I said, that might be my first and last big craft show, I am really happy I did it. And never say never, right?
Sunday I was tired! I wanted to go do something "new," or at least not something I always do, but considering my energy level and my big step outside of my comfort zone the previous day, I opted to stick to the tried and true. So when I was asked what I wanted to do for mother's day morning I chose my favorite little french crêperie and a trip to Powell's bookstore. Which I think just set me all right back in alignment. It was a really beautiful day and the crêpes were better than ever and I came home with a healthy stack of books and read - completely ignoring the fact I still need to unload my car and put my house back together. Today I my sofa is finally arriving! I am pretty sure that will get me in the mood for cleaning and organizing.
How was your weekend?