Thursday, April 22, 2010

The lights at the end of tunnels...

Well, I had a much more fantastic craft fair experience this past weekend! In my humble yet naive opinion, Handmade Promenade was a delightful success! Record Store Day at Luna Music in Broadripple provided the perfect backdrop for the edgy and diverse talent presented at this renegade craft fair. I felt honored to be there, and I enjoyed great sales and live, local music all day. The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, and people really came out!

It felt great to have interest in my work again, and it was right on time after having a slow couple of months. I never really consider myself trendy, I'm more of a creative-type, so after emerging from my creative cocoon it's always nice to have some positive feedback. While watching strangers peruse my booth, I am often reminded of the first time I cooked for my husband... he is a man of few words and fewer obvious emotions. After eating for several minutes he said "No one has ever made anything like this for me. This is awesome." SCORE! The anticipation was awful, but the result was well worth it.

I presented a new item this time around, and I got great feedback from it. The belt bag/hip bag made a great debut! I thought of it as a result of participating in craft shows... it's always such a pain to have to keep track of your purse and money while in such an open and busy public space. It is also difficult to have several hundred things draped from your shoulder when going anywhere with your children... and for baby-wearing fans, a shoulder purse just complicates the whole scenario of wearing your child around and constantly smacking them with your bags. So, the belt bag was born!

They're made of vinyl and cotton with aluminum rings, thereby making them completely vegan. I try to find remnants and upcycle things I find in the thrift store to make these... I also try to avoid calling them fanny packs. But to be honest, the function behind a fanny pack cannot be denied... it was just the aesthetic that needed work. This particular one was purchased by Jenny Elig, the style columnist at the Indy Star. She wanted to show them in her column! Wow! Look for links and bragging later...

So, I've decided that I need time to stock my goods. I'm taking the summer off from craft fairs. I plan to spend the next 6 months sewing fleece sets for children, innovating other accessories to be ready for winter, and delving into the world of Etsy. I'll return to the craft circuit in the fall, just in time for holiday bazaars and cold weather. Here's a sampling of the kids sets I made last winter:

I might actually have time to do some personal sewing as well... which would be great for me and my daughter's wardrobe! Mother Tucker will be sewing indeed...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Inaugural Bloggural: Hitting the Craft Fair Circuit

I made it out to my second craft fair of the year today, and this evening I am licking my wounds at the agony of defeat. Rough Day! Though I'm new to the craft fair scene, I am fairly familiar with the brutal and honest feedback from a good old-fashioned art school critique. I was reminded of that slight feeling of being exposed today. True enough, the country hills of Indiana probably don't offer much in the way of an Indie craft scene. However, all my handcrafting comrades out there know how MUCH work and care goes into conceptualizing and creating your pieces, and how hard it is to not see that work reflected in your day's sales. Never mind the endless late nights at my sewing machine after the kids go to bed, the near complete depletion of my already modest bank account, the days of finding the appropriate PBS show to babysit my children when they are awake, and the constant nagging feeling that no one may like it in the end. When all is said and done, you want at least something to show for it!

So, I had a rough day in the craft fair trenches. No sales. Lots of compliments, though. That's nice... truly. If only I could make my next few scarflettes from compliments. One good thing did come from today... I met Sunday Afternoon Housewife, who's work I admire. We commiserated on our shared rough day, and I was invited to participate in the Handmade Promenade at Luna Music for Record Store Day next Saturday, April 17. All was not lost! It was a good thing I came out after all, and I got to try out my new booth set-up too (I'm thinking I'll do a post on the evolution of my booth soon.)

This craft fair business is a whole new world for me. We shall call this phase of making it in the craft fair scene "baby steppin." Wish me luck. Here's a little preview of some scarflettes that will be offered at Record Store Day's Handmade Promenade next Saturday:

Thanks for reading!