Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Craft Show Experience

Earlier this month I participated in my very first craft show.

I spent so much time preparing. I pretty much neglected everything else. The blog. The antique booth. Cleaning the house. Showering. Ok, I jest. I showered. But everything else was pushed to the back burner while I prepared.

Paint and varnish! Order business cards! Buy a receipt book! Get the Square set up to work on my phone! Figure out how to display everything! Put price tags on everything! Pack everything!

It took a lot more work than I expected to prepare, especially since it was a fairly small craft show.

And it went horribly.

Please excuse the horrible phone pictures!

Everyone around me was selling things left and right. 

I sold 4 bowls. 4 of the smallest bowls I had too.

But that's not what bothered me.

What really bugged me was that this "craft" show had about 25-30 vendors, and probably 5 of them were selling things they had actually made.

I was literally surrounded by resellers. Mary Kay in front of me. 31 to my right. Manufactured oils and vinegars to my left. Scentsy, Avon, Advocare, Origami Owl, and so on. Not that there is anything wrong with those brands. I just don't think they belong at a craft show. A craft show.

How am I, a small maker of handmade goods, supposed to compete with these mass-produced products? Quick answer - I can't. Those other products are rolling off production lines at super speeds. I spend hours finishing one bowl. Everything they make is perfect and without flaws (read: machine-made). Mine are handmade, and yes, have an errant dot or two. When placed side-by-side like they were at this show, nobody wanted to even look at the handmade products. 

It was really disheartening, but I learned a good lesson.

I should have done more research.

A friend of mine talked me into this show. She makes awesome scarves and they sell wonderfully wherever she goes. She was convinced I would do great too, so I took her advice and signed up without really reading the fine print.

I should have paid attention to the vendors who have participated at this show in the past. Had I seen all of the resellers, I would have run the other direction.

But I didn't.

I jumped in with really high expectations, only to be crushed in the end. Crying-on-the-ride-home crushed. 

But I picked myself up. I reactivated everything in my Etsy shop right when I left the show and moved on, realizing that craft shows like that are not my target market. And when I heard a "cha-ching" from my phone that same afternoon indicating an Etsy sale, I knew I had found my place. Etsy's the way to go for me.

Thanks for reading through and listening to my little rant! I felt the need to explain why posts have been scarce lately, with all of the preparation and the catching up that followed. But now I'm back on track!

The New Year's coming and the posts are scheduled!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2014 is a wonderful year for all of you!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday's Seven - New Year's Eve Decorations

I can't believe it's almost 2014. I still haven't gotten used to writing 2013. Sad, but true!

What is it about New Year's Eve that makes me want to put glitter on everything? I haven't figured that out yet, but apparently I'm not the only one. New Year's Eve decorations tend to be sparkly, shiny, metallic, shimmery, and glittery. And I love it!

I've found seven fun ideas to add some bling to your New Year's Eve celebration. They're all fairly simple and quick, so you can definitely make a few before the new year!

Be sure to check out the sites for instructions!

1. Starburst Decor  |  Examiner
2. Glittery Wine Bottles  |  Linen, Lace, & Love
3. Wrapping Paper Streamers  |  Martha Stewart
4. Tinsel Drink Stirrers  |  A Kiss of Colour
5. Tinsel and Glitter Party Hats  |  Heart and Craft
6. Pop, Fizz, Clink Champagne Flutes  |  Tiny Prints
7. Paper Bag Luminaries  |  DIY Weddings

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday's Seven - DIY Christmas Trees

Christmas is almost here!

And where have I been? Not blogging, apparently. Between craft show prep (total fail - post next week) and Christmas prep, the blog sadly took the back burner. Time to get everything reorganized for the new year and back to a regular posting schedule!

Anyways, I have a few more days left to get everything ready for Christmas. And that means more decorating! I absolutely love having Christmas decorations everywhere, and if you can make them yourself and save some money in the process, that's a big plus. So I've found seven fun little Christmas trees you can make yourself. Pick one (or all!) to make and spread some extra Christmas cheer around your home!

Be sure to visit the sites to find out how to make these beautiful trees!

1. Pine Cone Tree  |  I Don't Know How She Does It
2. Pipe Cleaner Tree  |  Lady Behind the Curtain
3. Linen Tree  |  Urban Vintage Soul
4. Tinsel Tree  |  Home Life Abroad
5. Wire Tree  |  My Home My Style
6. Pallet Tree  |  Accidentally Wonderful
7. Book Page Tree  |  Organized Clutter

Monday, December 2, 2013

Etsy Shop of the Week - Gift Ideas

Ready for more gift ideas?

I'm really happy to suggest some more beautiful handmade items today. The days of running into a crowded department store to pick up gifts are over. It's so easy now to stay at home and shop on Etsy. Plus, you get to find some really unique and truly one-of-a-kind gifts - something perfect for everyone on your list. And as an added bonus, you know you're supporting the individual who lovingly and carefully made your product, not a giant corporation.

On to the gift ideas!

For the nature lover, bring a little bit of the outdoors in with this gorgeous tree sculpture made from wire and gemstones. Marilyn at Marilyn's Trees has so many beautiful colors to choose from - her work amazes me!

I love these earrings from Gilgulim. They're so unique and fun, and I love the combination of the copper and the turquoise.

Here's another pair of earrings, slightly more traditional, but equally as beautiful! One of my favorite color combinations in turquoise and orange, so these earrings from The Astral Charm are perfect. Plus they're a great deal! A perfect stocking stuffer!

For the babies and toddlers on your list, be sure to check out the adorable wooden puzzles at Aksel Arts. I'm partial to the octopus!

Also from Aksel Arts is this adorable fox. He's quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen!

For the little boy (or the boy at heart) on your list, be sure to check out Kimmeen Shop. There are some awesome handmade models of planes, helicopters, cars, tanks, and more. They're really cool-looking, and they're made without nails or screws! 

Have fun shopping!

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