Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Handmade Chicago and Updates!

Hey folks! It's been too long.

I just wanted to check in and post some about things and such.

First off the Handmade Market was really fun, I broke just about even for the day, and I met a whole lot of great people! I don't think I'll be doing it again though because they allowed smoking, and well, I sell yarn and no one really wants smokey yarn so I'm going to have to air it out now. Not to mention my throat is still on fire. No thanks.

I did learn a whole lot of stuff though and I want to share it with you.

Oh and before I get into a long list, I want to let you know that I'm going to have a booth at the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival's High School Craft Show. It's on the 27th and 28th (Saturday and Sunday) from 9am - 5pm. I just got verified today and scooted in on it at the last minute (apps closed like Sept 1st, but they thankfully had a couple of booths left, they have like over 100 vendors I think). Thankfully I was able to get work off so I'm all set... kind of... I need someone to give me a bathroom brake, any takers?

And here is a picture of my table (it was dark in there):

So "what I learn at my first craft sale ever":
-Make sure the venue is non-smoking if it's in a bar/restaurant type of place

-If it's inside and darker, bring extra light bulbs in case the one in the lamp brakes in transit

-Test not just setting up your display, but collapsing it to make sure it fits nicely under the table.

-If your space is limited and you just have one table, use an extra empty container as a "table" for your cash box/credit card swiper so it's not in your lap.

-If selling kits, have items made up from them as displays with the kit (even if you have nice pictures, people will be more likely to buy it, if they can see it and hold it)

-Hand out business cards with every purchase, make up little cards (like no bigger than 3 x 4 ish) with info about you and your business and contact info, especially if you do custom work (I do custom dyeing and Craft Leftovers is more than just making stuff, it's about bringing purpose to materials that at first glance are valueless).

-If a vendor likes your stuff/you like theirs, ask about swapping! Swapping is fab! (Another vendor bought some yarn and I really wanted some of her earrings but didn't make it back up to her both and she probably thinks I blew her off, I wish I would have asked about swapping with her.... I learned my lesson).

-If you are being friendly and chatty (which you should be) with your fellow vendors, make sure to ask what shows they like and if they think you would be a good fit, write it don't, you won't remember (I didn't and wish I would have).

-Pack a lunch

-Have all your admin stuff in one box (pens, pencils, tape, scissors, project to work on while your sitting there, cash box, swipper, recipe book, etc).

-Have all your display stuff in one box (if it will fit) including extension cords and table cloth and signs.

-Make your signs when you set up your display (I totally forgot to make signs.. lame)

-If you have a 6 foot space, use a 5 foot or less table so you can get around the sides.

-Have a banner (ran out of time to make mine, but will have it finished for this next one)

-Bring chairs (I had mine by the door, but neglected to take them).

Stuff that I did right? There were some things:
-Collapsable display stuff is great (all of my shelves and such fold into themselves)
-mailing list and business cards on the table in a prominate spot where people can see it
-If you have multiples, just put one out and store the rest under the table
-Freebees because people like those (I gave out free vintage buttons and print outs of the patterns)
-There were other things too, just your standard stuff, like change, having prices at 50 cent intervals so all I had to worry about was quarters for change.

Listen to the feedback the customers as well as people who pass you by give you (even if it's a snide comment, which thankfully I didn't this time) on everything from prices, product, to display/set up.

On to other things.....

I finished my first mobile for the Junk Mail Project that I'm working on. Basically I have been collecting junk mail for the past 6 months+ and am re-purposing it into objects of aesthetic and commercial value. In it's end product it will be a site specific installation with one year's worth of junk mail from just one person, me. I'm constructing mobiles, paper pulp forms with press molds, sheets of handmade paper, and sheets of quilling.

Here is a picture of the mobile (please ignore the background, i'm hoping to get professional shots of it soon), it's about 7-8' x 5-6' (i need to measure it):

And a detail:

The whole thing is less than 2 days worth of junk mail. Crazy right? The only thing I didn't like about it was the supports, the river reeds look a little, well wrong.... so in crit we worked on how I could make rods out of junkmail too. I'm going to work on replacing the supports in it. It might honestly be easier to take it apart and restring it completely. I'm not going to worry about that right now, I'm just going to try to get the new rods worked out.

I'm also working on a series of animations that will take place in a doll house that my dad built for me when I was growing up. I'm working on refinishing it (it's been in the basement for too long). I'm also working on making the figure and various props and clothing articles. I forgot to take a picture, but I have a little cardigan that I knit for the figure on size 000 dpns and a little tee shirt that has strawberries on it. I'm making little pants too, so when I get those finished up I'm make sure to post a picture of it.

Here is the doll house:

I'm working on also getting my apartment cleaned up and doing about a month's worth of laundry (I need to get rid of some clothing so I can't go that long without doing laundry).

Have a good week, hopefully I'll start posting more regularly soon, it's just been so crazy!


feli said...

thank you so much for sharing your experience.

I will have my very first craft show next month and I am very nervous.

A girlfriend of mine taught me something, she made an apron with a zipper over the pocket and she stored her cash flow there. So the money is always on you.

Kristin said...

No problem. I know I looked up everything I could before doing my first one, but there are always things you don't think of.

I like the "cash on you" apron. That's a really good idea.

Good luck next month! I'm sure you will do great!

Rachelle said...

Hey Kristin!

I'd like to suggest temporary tattoos as biz cards -- it's a free giveaway and a marketing dealie in one. I handed out tons at the zine symposium.

I love, love, love the junk mail project. Have you seen this one? Let's do something junk mail oriented at a Creativity Challenge and link to your gallery site!

Yours, Rachelle (magpie-girl)