Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh, well.

You've heard me talking about the Country Folk Art Craft Show that is on this weekend.  Lois and I have been working hard for weeks, getting ready for it.  I had high hopes that it would be a good show, and that we would sell lots of product.
DH and I went to Troy, about an hour away, on Thursday night, to set up the booth.  Then yesterday L and I went down early afternoon, to drag all the product down there, and to set up the booth.  It is NOT an easy task.  Rugs are heavy, the booth sides are heavy, and it takes a lot of coordinating.
The show last night was 5-9, but long before it started, I had an uneasy feeling.  All the vendors I saw on our way in, were heavily 'buy/sell'.  In other words, they didn't make any of their product.
Boxes and boxes of stuff, MADE ANYWHERE BUT IN THE  USA.  Knives, no bake cheesecake mixes, sticks and trees and wooden things with lights, fake wreaths with fake owls stuck in them, roasted nuts, loaves and loaves of bread marked PENNSYLVANIA in 'Amish', but the stuff in my grocery deli looks better.   There were tee shirts, and hats with faces, ice scrapers, cheap jewelry, ah....the list goes on.
There were, of course, a few nice things.  But overall, the show was dark, and depressing, to me.
I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When the show started, it was pretty evident that I was right.  A few lovely people were impressed, and loved everything, they 'got it'.  They understood that they were looking at hand crafted goods, made by me (and L).  Made the old fashioned way.
But most people cruised right on by, and occasionally looked in as if to say, "What are you doing here?"

They were looking for the $5-$15 item, and sorry, but some of the tacky stuff people were dragging around with them was just plain embarrassing.

I was disappointed, but not devastated,  to quote L's response to all this,  "Buck up."
And I did.
I drove home late last night, fell into bed, and got up early so I could take all the extras that we had loaded in my car, back to the studio.

Then when I got to the show this morning at 10am, I quickly loaded all the extras we had under the tables, into my car, for the ride home today.   I knew that it was highly unlikely that we would sell them, so to take them home before the end of the show on Sunday, meant a quicker, less painful, take down then.

I doubt much that I will make the $580 booth fee.  So lesson learned.  
I should have scoped out this show last year.  If I had, I would have known it was not the place for me.
Instead, I put myself, and a few other people through this annoyance.

My lovely middle daughter came to the show today, and said to me, "Go home.  I got this covered."
Dear sweet girl, and sweet granddaughter.  So I did just that.   I took stuff back to the studio, I dropped in on a surprise birthday party for an old friend's daughter, and then I took Roy for a 4 miler.
Roy is wearing his "Easy Walker".....which he and I both LOVE.  Thanks to Karen over at THISOLDHOUSE for suggesting it.   I highly recommend it, and must admit to being totally shocked at how well it worked.

So, hey.   I screwed up.  I admit it.  I made a poor decision, and it just didn't work out.  But you know what???  It's ok.   I'm human.   I tried, and now I know.  I'll take the lesson, and move on.

Times like this, I am inspired to rethink things, and regroup.  I am suddenly so grateful for what I do know, and what I do have, and who I am.
Tomorrow, the last day of this foolishness, will come, and go.
Monday is the start of a new week, and a new mindset.  Which is good, because soon will come a new year, and I want to meet it joyfully.

Life is a process, and I have to be satisfied that I will never get it perfect, I will just give it my best shot.


Deb said...

I really 'got' this post. I had a dog biscuit company and would often set up a booth with all our different selections and baskets and cutsied-up bags of gourmet puppy treats in hopes of getting more customers and stores. Sometimes it was good; most times not. Too much work for little reward. I was happy to make the decision to not do that anymore. I sold the business over a year ago and have carried on with the cat-sitting service that has grown like gangbusters. This I love. So I really understood what you were saying. Your product is far too good to be in most places that have vendors. Around our parts, it is just getting worse with the dollar-store mentality. Lovely to see Roy again. Enjoy those walks. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

Sue said...

So sorry the show isn't working out the way you'd hoped. I only do a couple of shows a year, ones that are totally geared to folks who get it. Wish I felt like putting myself out there more, cuz it sure would be nice if the sheep would pay for themselves, but it's not worth exposing myself to those who see my hand spun, hand created goodies and say "well, I could get that at Walmart for $5". No, you can't, and I'm sad for you thinking that. And unfortunatly I'm sometimes up against vendors that are just looking to cover the cost of materials, not actually make a living, which just makes it harder on all of us artisans.

Your rugs are gorgeous! Too bad the shoppers are fools that don't recognize that.

re'New said...

Yeah, I've learned those "mixed" vendor sales are usually a bust. I do best on "hand made only" fairs... but your booth rent? Holey crapoly! I balk at a 100$ fee! I'm helping host a fair tomorrow. Our booth rent is $25 for a 10 x 10 space and you can get a table for an additional $10. We're doing it mainly to have a venue for us and the locals, so we're not trying to make a mint on it, but we easily come out ahead on it. I can't imagine how much a person would have to sell to cover that rent LOL I commiserate ~ those dang rugs are HEAVY.
Better luck next time :)

Corie said...

Where did you purchase the easy walker for Roy?

Cait Throop said...

Oh boy...I have certainly been there! My worst fair was one that not only had all the vendors you are talking about (you know, the ones who have never hand made anything in their lives!) PLUS, (drum roll)...a DUNKING BOOTH! omg... Well, we live and learn, don't we! How's your head????? Your booth, by the way, looks fabulous and I know first hand how amazing your work is!! Be well, Hilary!

JC said...

I'm sorry about the show.

MarthaVA said...

Boy, it sucks that the show sucked. How nice of your daughter to cover today for you. Good kid.
Lovely to see Roy again. :-) Glad the easy walker is making the walks even better than they were.
Maybe all this stuff that has been going on lately, is actually happening to steer you in the direction of change that you mentioned not long ago? The Universe works in mysterious ways...

Anonymous said...

I purchased something very similar to the Easy Walker for Rowdy some time back.... Hubby won't use it though... sigh.

(GBS) NewsFromTheHill said...

Good for you for putting it all in perspective!
I can't abide that type of "crafts" show.... wooden cutouts of women bending over in the garden and plastic geegaws. Yuck!

Bev said...

Hilary, I feel you pain. I was planning to enter a Christmas craft show here, but I wanted to scope it out this year before I made any decision. It was almost the same as you described. Most of the stuff there was jewelry, and with no imagination at that. NOBODY was buying anything, not even the cheap stuff. Most of the vendors were very disappointed and said they weren't even planning to return to sell on Sunday. I think consignment or selling outright to someone who has a shop is a better bet for me where I live. If I even want to bother selling at all. I can't believe the cost of that booth space! Holy Moley! ...Bev

Dik52 said...

I paid $6 to get into an arts and craft show today in Tulsa Oklahoma, and it was the same thing, looked like a bunch of people went to market in Dallas and decided to have a booth. I really miss the arts and crafts shows where people really DID make their crafts. Love your blog!!

claudia w said...

I have been to those craft shows where there is no craft about it. Sorry you had to do all that work to be disappointed by it. I like the shows where real people are selling real wares that will last longer than a lifetime and the items can be handed down.

tea4too0 said...

Your booth is awesome. Your work is beautiful. Sorry it did not go the way you hoped. Take care, T

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saving me from a trip to that show today! Sorry you weren't similarly warned

Lona said...

We call those "crap shows", and refuse to do them anymore. Cuz we've BTDT, too. $580? Yikes! We have vendors balk at $300 for an 8 day show (spread over 4 weekends). The difference between out east and the heartland, I guess.

Kittymum said...

LOVE YOUR BOOTH!!! I feel your pain. Years ago, when the economy was fine, I entered a Christmas craft sale. I was selling my handmade teddybears. These were one-of-a-kind jointed bears with glass eyes and were very time-consuming to make. IMHO they were very nice. I didn't sell a one!! What sold were things like toilet paper rolls wrapped in gift wrap to be used as "extension cord storage" and various items sprayed with glitter snow! People don't appreciate the work that goes into handmade. Even my friend would not buy one of the bears (I was asking $30). She told me she could go to the mall and buy a Dior teddybear for less than that! Yeah, made in a factory in China and sold by the millions. I've never entered a craft sale, but do make the occasional bear as a gift.

Kittymum said...

(To edit last sentence in my comment) I've never entered a craft sale since, but do make the occasional bear as a gift.

KarenInTheWoods said...

(your booth is fantastic!)

I did a show once where a semi truck pulled up and unloaded 4 spaces worth of woven baskets, all made in some third world country! He did a bang up job selling with three young girls handling the sales. We all did awful.

Another sale I did was so under-advertised and poorly attended, that after not selling anything, all of us vendors swapped items before packing up and I got some nice Xmas gifts outta the deal! LOL

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

Karen said...

Hilary, I went to a Christmas Fair yesterday and I would say 10 booths had wonderful handcrafted stuff from reasonably local artisans... and 30 booths had tacky crap.

Isn't that harness incredible? So simple, doesn't look like it will work because it attaches in the front, and it works like a charm!! no more pulling on my aching neck/back!!

Anonymous said...

Ugg! What a disappointment. I know all the work you have to put into a show and you must be worn out after that forever headache.

People just have to appreciate the quality and workmanship of things made locally. I will go out of my way to avoid the foreign made @#crap. We will never fix the economy if people keep buying disposable stuff that only supports foreign companies.

Ya gotta support the neighbors!

Your booth looked fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Your booth looked so great in the picture, wish I could have seen it in person. I can't believe how much you and L can weave.. my loom are always full and I have only a little bit to show. I seem to give it away as fast as I make it! I get so attached to everything I make, I would keep it all. Good thing I have a big family and friends to share it with!

Love to hear about your weaving!!It is always inspiring!! Deb from CObleskill

spindrift,maine said...

So sorry, Hilary. All that dragging and not much gratification. I have attended only two craft fairs here, and after your story, I think something must be happening this year that can only be explained by the economy. I imagine artists are hurting because fewer buyers have the discretionary cash to buy quality goods. Artists then are more cautious at craft fairs, and the kitch people flow in to fill the vacuum. Which only encourages those folks who like to tell you to your face that they can get one just like that at WalMart. Oh, my. Everyone is burnt, and it is a darn shame. I hope you get some rest. Tell us about your head these days.

Daryl said...

its all we can do .. give it our best shot .. hope the headache is on its way out!

Sojourner Design said...

Sorry to hear about the show. So much work, these shows, and even the good ones are less profitable these days.

I have a similar leash for Bud, my over-enthused at times Border Collie. We always use it when we make our hospice visits and it keeps him Gentlemanly.


Connie in Hartwood said...

All of us who have ever done a booth show of any type have had a show like you did ... I'm really sorry to hear that it was such a bust for you.

I love to see Roy!

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