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Craft Fairs

Out with the old, goodbye 2012!

Well, it’s taking me a while to package up 2012 so I can move on to 2013 and I am finding myself very eager to move on, so…

Here’s a quick recap of how I did on my 2012 goals:

Goals 2012 Actual
1. Write a blog every week 29 out of 52
2. Establish a percentage of my sales of certain products to charities nope
3. Create a wonderful booth display yup
4. Create 10 new designs (any product) nope – 5
5. Explore new marketing possibilities and try at least two search ads, nothing else
6. Sell at 5 local craft markets 7 markets!
7. Figure out what to do with my now defunct jewelry line nope
8. Increase my total item views on Etsy by 50% almost – 41%
9. Increase my sales $ on Etsy by 50% nope, down by 15%
10. Make a profit! questionable

I did great with my blogs at the beginning of the year and about halfway through I really started slacking off and it went downhill from there. I have no real excuse except that I lost my commitment and just let it slide.

My most viewed post this year was Bowl Breaker

My most viewed post this year was Bowl Breaker

I definitely explored the world of craft fairs this year and worked out several cool displays. I feel like my craft fair experience, although not lucrative, was definitely an area of growth for me in 2012.

My best craft show was the HaHo (Dever Handmade Homemade)

My best craft show was the HaHo (Denver Handmade Homemade)

My coolest new design from this past year was my pirate bat, but unfortunately I haven’t even gotten my bat shirts listed in my shop yet….

Shiver me timbers, it's Feisty Bat!

Shiver me timbers, it’s Feisty Bat!

Marketing wasn’t even on my radar.

All my jewelry and supplies are still taking up lots of space in my studio. I think about them often but never take any definitive action.

Did good on increasing my views on Etsy, although I have to be honest that I totally neglected my Etsy shop this year. Maybe this contributed to the fact that my Etsy sales were down.

Not sure about overall profit until I do my taxes, but I’m still optimistic!

Okay, now for the exciting part, new goals for this year! Out with the old and in with the new, I feel a change in the air!

Me, contemplating the exciting things I will do in 2013!

Me, contemplating the exciting things I will do in 2013!

to be continued…


Fried Cereal, Drag Queens and Dora the Explorer

Charles Phoenix fried up some cereal at the DCF last year in in his Test Kitchen and it was delicious! I know because I tried it.

One of the contestants from last year’s Miss County Fair Drag Queen contest

Meet Dora in the Kids Pavilion on Sunday, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm! And keep a lookout for Swiper, the fox! We don’t want HIM at the fair!

Yes, you can find all these things in one place this weekend….. The 2nd ever, Denver County Fair.

Know what else you can find at the DCF this weekend?

ME!

And tons of other crafty folks in the Denver Handmade Alliance Pop-Up Booth. Come on down y’all and visit us in the craft pavilion!

Here are the details:

Denver County Fair

Friday – Sunday
August 10th-12th, 2012
Hours:
Friday and Saturday 10am – 10pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm – Viva Denver Day!

National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216
Expo Hall, Hall of Education, Stadium Hall & Stadium

I’ll be working in the booth on Friday and Saturday from 1:45-6pm. Hope to see you there!


Cool Down in Historic Georgetown

On Saturday it will be 90 degrees here in Denver, escape the heat and meander in the cool mountain air.

Come one, come all and visit me this weekend scenic Georgetown, home of:

The Happy Cooker

Here I’ll be:

Hit the Road with the Horseshoe Market to Georgetown
Saturday, August 4th, 10 am-4 pm
In the parking lots outside of the Hotel de Paris Museum in Downtown Georgetown

409 6th Ave  Georgetown, CO 80444

An outdoor market celebrating and featuring 35 of Colorado artists, crafters and vintage collectors

For more information, go to http://www.horseshoemarket.com/hittheroad/georgetown


Rejection…bring it!

One thing that I have struggled with in the past is rejection. From a young age (until fairly recently) I let my fear of rejection keep me from taking risks. Unfortunately, this kept me from experiencing a lot of success and joy in my life, work, relationships etc. Sometimes I just played it safe, thinking that ho-hum is better than being hurt. Other times I was more extreme, pushing people away because if I didn’t let them get close to me then they couldn’t hurt me. Right? **sigh**

What are you looking at, huh?!?

Over the years I have worked on putting myself out there in the world, exposing myself (not in a flasher-type way!) and learning to deal with the occasional (or frequent) and inevitable rejection that is a part of this experience.

After starting my craft business I decided to enter into juried craft fairs. I have had to deal with putting my artwork, and by extension myself, out there for scrutiny, resulting in eventual acceptance or rejection. It hasn’t been easy, but I don’t let my rejections get me down. I remember what one of my favorite art teachers once told me about submitting her art to galleries. She said that as an artist you need to get used to rejection because you will be rejected, again and again. BUT, she said that each new rejection brings you one step closer to being accepted. So, that’s how I like to think about it. Each rejection brings me closer to acceptance.

Here is a fantastic take on failure, by Seth Godin. I have copied this directly from his website, but you can find the original here:  Failure, success and neither

“The math is magical: you can pile up lots of failures and still keep rolling, but you only need one juicy success to build a career.

The killer is the category called ‘neither’. If you spend your days avoiding failure by doing not much worth criticizing, you’ll never have a shot at success. Avoiding the thing that’s easy to survive keeps you from encountering the very thing you’re after.

And yet we market and work and connect and create as if just one failure might be the end of us.”

– Seth Godin

Now, to end this post I am going to start what will become my ongoing list of rejections. I’m not doing this to gain sympathy, or ‘fish for compliments’. Really, I’m A-OK with these rejections. Really.

I do hope that by putting my rejections out there I can make someone else feel better about taking a risk. Rejection is not the end, it’s only the beginning. Remember that each one gets you closer to success!

Craft Fair Rejections

Holiday Handmade 2011

Horseshoe Market Spring 2012

Horseshoe Market Summer 2012

Boulder Farmers Market 2012

Longmont Farmers Market 2012

Acceptance

DHA Booth at Denver County Fair 2011

Art by Craft 2011

DHA Booth at Denver County Fair 2012

French Nest Sept. 2012

Up in the Air

Arvada Center Craft Fair 2012

HaHo September 2012

Horseshoe Hit The Road – Georgetown 2012


Lessons Learned and I score Raging Bitch Soap

First of all, here’s the picture that made it into the Westword’s article on Art by Craft:


So, last post I said there were lessons learned and here are some:

1. You can’t control the weather, but it can affect your sales. Who wants to leave their house on the first cold rainy/snowy day of the year? Not me! And not a lot of potential shoppers who may have otherwise come to the Overland craft fair.

2. The other types of vendors at a fair can affect your sales. It’s hard to compete against people who don’t handcraft their items but buy them in bulk from a cheap foreign market.

3. Related to the last lesson – the type of people who attend a fair need to be a good match for your product. The Art by Craft crowd was much more suited to my goods than the Overland crowd. Even though less people came to the AbC, more stopped to look at my table and expressed interest in what I had made.

4. If you need to buy a cashbox, go for the old fashioned kind with the latch on the outside – not the new fangled push button type with the opening mechanism inside and unreachable when it get’s jammed!

5. Having a friend at a craft fair makes low sales much less painful.

6. Kids seem to like my tee shirt designs – at least the cool kids do : )

7. You can sometimes find someone to trade with at a craft fair, like I did. I traded a Feisty Penguin kids tee shirt with Naughty Nicki at Believe Skin Care for some AWESOME soap. My favorite is called ‘Raging Bitch’. I have to admit I was skeptical when she offered it to me and I saw it was honey tobacco scented. Not because I have an aversion to tobacco, but because I love it. As a former smoker, I told her I was afraid of relapse, but she assured me that her soap would not provoke me to go out and buy a pack of marlboros. And she was right, it smells so good. It also keeps its scent really well and I can smell it each time I walk past the shower. Delicious! Oh yeah, and it’s made with beer. How cool!

8. Getting ready for a craft fair (or two) is a lot of work!

9. Some people just won’t get your work. Or like it. And that’s a good thing. I had one woman at the AbC who looked at my tee shirts with a grimace and then shook her head in apparent disgust and walked away. At first I was like, ‘wow, that was rude!’, but then I realized that I was happy that my stuff even provoked a reaction. This reminds me of a quote that I really like and I think it sums up this lesson nicely.  “Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.” ~Libbie Fudim

10. Sales, like life, have their ups and downs. So, just when you think that no one wants to buy what you have made – someone will come along with a super fantastic order – renewing your hope and enthusiasm!


The bad, the better and the fantastic

Okay, so I know you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats to know how the craft fairs went for me last weekend.

Well.

The bad

First of all, no one should ever have to get up when it’s still dark out. But on Saturday I did. It was raining and I was leaving just in time to get to the craft fair at 7am to load in. I ran to my car in the pouring rain and threw my purse over onto the passenger seat, forgetting that I also had my coffee in my hand. I went back inside and changed my clothes. I drove to the craft fair in a torrential downpour in the dark – which meant lots of leaning forward trying to see the lines on the road and hydroplaning. When I got the craft fair it was snowing. Yup, snowing. I had a lot more set up than I thought and 2 hours was apparently not enough. I was still trying to get set up at 9am when the craft fair opened. I was alone in the booth, while Stef was checking on the status of the breakfast burritos she had ordered us which had not been delivered. Before I even realized what was happening someone wanted to buy a pair of $7 earrings. YES! I was thinking, wow this is going to be a great day after all…then I couldn’t get the cash box open. It was jammed. I became flustered. It was probably only a short time, but I felt like I struggled with the box forever! While the customer was standing there, probably thinking I was an idiot. I felt like an idiot. Finally, I told her to just leave the $7 and I would pay the tax for her and I’m so sorry but my receipts are in the cash box too. About two minutes after she left the man next to me pried the box open for me. I didn’t make another sale all day. On the up side, I got to chill with Stef all day and chat.

The better

The next day set up was much smoother and I sold twice as many things as the day before. For those of you challenged in math, that makes two things I sold on Sunday. They were tee shirts, so I almost covered my booth fee. Sunday’s venue was pretty slow with off and on traffic, but I definitely connected more with the crowd there. I had a lot of interest in my table, just not so many sales. I did find out that my skull mug picture was featured in the Westword’s ad for the event. Someone walked by and said, ‘hey, there’s the mug from the Westword’ and I said ‘Hey, you can have this famous mug for just $20!’. The person laughed and walked away. Oh well.

Here’s me in my Art by Craft booth:

The fantastic

I just got my biggest single order to date on Etsy. Someone bought a whole tea set (tea pot, sugar bowl, pitcher, two mugs) as a wedding gift for their friends. I was so happy to see that order! When I showed Jesse (my husband), he said, “If you could get an order like that every day you wouldn’t have to work”. I had to remind him that this was work. Fun work, but work nonetheless.

There were many lessons learned through all of this, but this post is long enough already so I’ll come back to those later.

To be continued…


Nothing in moderation

So, I wrote in my last post about the Overland High School craft fair this Saturday that I’m going to be at with my friend Stef of Redstuff Designs .

Since I don’t want to do anything in moderation I’m doing another craft fair on Sunday too. This is probably no big deal for those seasoned craftspeople out there jetting from one craft fair to another, but I am a mere rookie.

A History of Feisty Owl Craft Fairs

#1 The Denver County Fair – I was included as part of the Denver Handmade Alliance‘s PopUp Booth. I really didn’t have to do anything but show up with my stuff and volunteer for a few hours. I didn’t even handle money. You can read all about it here and here.

#2 Overland High School 21st Annual Craft Fair – hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll be sharing a booth with my friend Stef of Redstuff Designs .

#3 Art by Craft – my first craft fair all by myself – I mean, of course there will be other crafters there – but I will have my own table.

So come see me this weekend, pretty please!

Here’s the scoop on Art by Craft:

The Art by Craft Market is scheduled for Sunday October 9thfrom 10am – 6pm at RedLine Denver in the Main Gallery space and will feature the work of over 30 local crafters. There will also be swag bags for the first 30 people through the door full of crafty goodies from local handmakers and crafty activities for all ages throughout the day.

If you’re like me you’re wondering about what will sustain you through a long day of craft fair shopping. Have no fear! There will be a variety of food truck vendors including; Bubbys BBQ, Gi Gi’s Cupcakes and Lost Coffee.

Here’s a link for a list of other vendors and more info on Art by Craft.

Wish me luck and I’ll tell you all about my escapades after this whirlwind weekend is over. Cheers!