Sunday, August 23, 2009

Outdoor Craft Fair: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Saturday was the first time I’d done an outdoor craft fair (but I’ve done indoor ones for about four years now) & I have to say—not a big fan. The event was the first annual Catholic Heritage Festival for the Diocese of Arlington so there was a lot more going on than just the vendors. Here are my reflections on my experience as one of them:

So the Good—Friends & Family: my friend & downline Areana had a table with me and it was nice to share the day with her. More friends stopped by—our friend Erin, who isn’t even Catholic, drove out with her family. My family came to visit and there were kid activities to keep them happy and they got to see me “in action.” My friend JoEllen, her husband & four young kids helped me pack up quickly when the festival was closed due to a storm coming. I also met a few new stamping diehards for my newsletter and got nice compliments on my display.

The Bad: I couldn’t sleep the night before because the weather forecast was poor and I was sure they’d cancel it completely—kind of stressed me out because I’d already packed the car and worked so hard for so long. The weather held off for quite awhile (albeit it got annoyingly windy) but then they did cut the festival short by about 2 hours due to a lightning storm coming (metal tents=bad place). We were on top of a hill too—not good. There wasn’t much activity the first hour and a half either because there was a mass & mass + shopping = sacrilegious. So there was only about 2 hours of “shopping” but then a lot of people didn’t come to the festival to shop—therein lies the risk of doing a craft fair in conjunction with a larger event. So, while I got some nice feedback, the sales were less than hoped for L. I know it couldn’t be helped but I left a little discouraged nonetheless. The bright side is that I got all my stuff packed up before the rain hit (rain + paper products=disaster).

& the Ugly: So I managed to escape unscathed (ironically, it was at the Bull Run Park near Manassas, site of the famous Civil War battle, and there was a shooting range nearby that I could hear as I drove away—adding to the drama or maybe I’m just easily amused), but then had the perfect end to my day AFTER pulling into our dry garage. When I opened up the door to the van, my box full o f paper items fell out and dumped everything in a puddle that had formed from the rain on the van! Triage was quick. Then, when I brought in my big magnetic board with all my domino magnets on it, I noticed little teeny ants crawling all over it! A sheet I’d left under a table and placed on top of the board had collected the unwelcome visitors & in our rush to pack up, had not been noticed. Sigh.

The Aftermath: Luckily, after the initial shock of puddles and ants, in the end there wasn’t much lasting damage. I did do some soul-searching regarding my crafting hobby though. My conclusion—when this seems to feel like a job, it’s time to cut back! If anyone has insights on how to moderate/balance making enough stuff to have for a craft fair yet still remain sane/don’t bite your kids heads off—please share!!! I’ll be working on that over the next few months (Lord knows I have enough stuff now for the rest of my holiday shows!)

Me & my Shtuff. I went a little nuts with Vistaprint —notice the matching banner & my t-shirt. Then, I also got new business cards, business magnets, a car magnet AND a hat (my daughter was wearing it). It was all “Free” (just paid more than usual shipping). Vistaprint isn’t paying me for this, but it’s great fun if you want a few more marketing items!

Areana's Table. Check out the fun headbands--made from sealed paper! We'll get her to guest-blog about them :-)

Barrettes anyone? The Disney Princess ones were popular.

Quality Control. Then, as you can see, I've become obsessed with making jewelry...think I have enough rings & pendants??



  1. You have great items and I love your photos. thanks for letting all of us at SCS know. I am sorry you didn't have better luck, your items look great. Judy Workman

  2. Neat to read about someone else's experiences...I just did a show this weekend. Wow, your booth was large...looks like a ton of work went into it!!!

  3. Your tables look great and your stuff is amazing.