Monday, May 24, 2010

The Craftacular was LOADS of fun!

As was no doubt quite clear in my last post, I was a bundle of nerves and apprehension before the craft fair. I was so afraid of uncomfortable situations and questions and cheese-standing-alone-ness that I totally forgot the thing was supposed to be fun - and it totally was!

Adam and I drove to Brooklyn in record time. I was worried that I would need to make change so we looked for a bank to get some singles, but we couldn't find one that was open. (TD Bank has Sunday hours, and I think some Wachovias do too, but there were none nearby.) Eventually Adam hit on the idea of asking in the grocery store, and the manager was persuaded to give me 20 singles and 2 fives. Then we headed back to the fair site, carried in my stuff, and started setting up. The table was naked and sort of scratched up wood, so Adam went out and came back with a couple of plastic tablecloths that really improved the look of things. I put out all my yarns, and spent a while organizing them by color and arranging them to look nice. We put up the sign I got made at the last minute and that was all we had to do. It took almost no time to get completely set up.

I looked around at my neighbors and was kind of intimidated by how much energy they all clearly had invested in their displays. It was amazing! I kind of felt a little bush league, but at the same time, everybody has to start somewhere, and I thought for a first try it wasn't bad at all. After everybody got set up we started chatting and I met some of them. They were all super nice people. The couple next to me had T-shirts and tote bags; the group in back of me (a couple and the wife's sister) had hair ornaments and pins; and there were a pair of roommates across from us, one of whom sold clothing items of all sizes with crochet and other stitching hand-adorned on them, and the other had hand made metal jewelry that was pretty cool looking. The roommates were the most seasoned, although everybody had done fairs before except me. I found out that this was a highly sought-after fair; apparently 500 applications come in for 50 spots and it's very competitive to get in. I felt terrific that I got in after hearing that!

After helping me get set up, Adam went off for a while to do his thing. He wasn't particularly interested in the rest of the booths at the fair and nobody had been let in yet, so it didn't seem that exciting. While he was away they opened the doors to the people who had been lined up for over an hour to get in to the fair. I was kind of amazed by that, but apparently this is a hugely popular event, especially in Williamsburg. In no time at all the place was pretty crowded. There was certainly no way I could spin yarn, as I needed to watch my table and I had to turn to the side to find room for my wheel. So I people-watched and talked to people who stopped to feel the yarns. I sold two skeins of yarn within the first half hour, which was very encouraging.

Adam came back with Pete, who was in great form. He kept trying to buy yarn, but I was hoping to sell to new customers at this fair, if possible, plus he kept trying to buy yarn that was a little too rough for the intended use, which was for baby garments. Fortunately, finally another customer bought the yarn he had had his eye on. I will make him and Jenny something super soft in its place.

Debbie Stoller came by my booth after an hour or so and she sat with me for a couple hours, knitting and chatting with me and also helping me sell my wares. It was SO nice to spend time with her - it's been years since we have, yet it was like no time had passed at all, other than that she had several big stories to tell about family events that had been happening.

Adam and Pete, and Audrey and her boyfriend Brad, who arrived a little later, all hung out for a long time. I was right next to the bar, so they had beers or sodas and shot the breeze with each other, while I schmoozed with customers or spun yarn. At some point both Debbie and Adam had encouraged me to start up the wheel, which did as expected generate a lot of interest. Especially with little kids, whose parents were all excited to show them a spinning wheel. And I was delighted to show them how it worked as well.

All in all it was a great day. I sold a bunch of yarn; I made back the cost of the booth and then some. I'm not sure how much profit was made, yet, but it was a great start and I was able to give out my cards to lots of people and meet really interesting folks, both women and men, who use yarn for art and craft. I'm so glad I did it and I hope I can do it again soon!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting ready for the Craftacular

I spent the morning retagging my yarns with the new tags I got - just in time for this event. I've also ordered a poster/banner with my company name and image, which will be ready JUST in time for it (as in, tomorrow morning on the way to the Craftacular I will stop at Kinko's to pick it up). I didn't think of it until late in the week; I was going to order it today but thought last night, oh, maybe I should go over there now instead of waiting till tomorrow. Good thing I did! I didn't realize there is a proof you have to approve and it takes a while to make the thing. Anyway, lucky me; I'll have a sign now and won't look like a total n00b.

I am scared about this - what if I get questions I can't answer like "what could you make with this?" Actually as I was tagging the yarns I kept thinking about the yardage and the fiber content (because I had to write it down) and thinking of ideas for the yarns. Some would make great scarves or throws, others I had in mind for myself to use for a Baby Surprise Jacket, etc. So maybe I'll be okay with that question. It might be a good idea to bring some kind of reference book with me, if I can dig out the right one from my bookshelf. Something that says "a vest takes 700 yards, a sweater takes 1500 yards, a scarf takes 400-1000 yards, a BSJ takes about 2-300 yards." Actually, except for the vest, I know those numbers are reasonable.

Also, what if nobody buys my stuff? What if I sit at my booth, smiling at everybody who walks by, and nobody stops to look at the yarns or buys them? (What if I am last picked for Dodge Ball?)

What if my prices are all wrong? I am pretty sure they are all over the map, some are too high, some are too low, and they are also inconsistent as far as yardage to price. Of course, you have to factor in what fiber it is made from. Another worry: Right now I have a bunch of yarns that are two or three skeins in a bunch, tied together with ribbon and priced as a unit. What if people want to buy only one skein in the bunch? Okay, I can handle that - I will just sell the one, and reprice whatever's left.

Never having done this before, I am insecure about the amount of yarn I am bringing to sell. I am literally bringing everything saleable. I'm also bringing another big plastic tub with my unspun fiber in it, which Adam suggested as a way to make it look like I have a lot more that I just haven't put out to sell yet. Fake it till you make it, right?

Obviously I am just nervous because it's the first time I've done a craft fair. I'm sure that whatever happens, it will be fine. The day will pass as it would no matter what, by the end I will have either broken even or not, maybe I'll make a little profit on the cost of the fair; in any event if you factor in the cost of goods sold, I will not make a profit. This is not a way to get rich. This is a way to support my fiber habit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm in the BUST Spring Craftacular this Sunday, May 23

The BUST Spring Craftacular is this weekend, and I will be a part of it!

I will be selling my handspun yarns there to try to recoup some of the expenses involved in maintaining my stash. :) I would like to invite you all to come out if you feel the urge to go to Brooklyn this Sunday to shop for crafts. If you do, I will be at booth #51, conveniently located across from the bar, and I hope you will all stop and say hello!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
The Warsaw
261 Driggs Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Friday, May 14, 2010

My sample sock made it to Maryland

In the latest Knitter's Review there is a photo of the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Jennifer Heverly of S.T.F. has come up with a clever way of displaying the sample socks made from her yarn.

The photo is about halfway down the page, with Spirit Trail Fiberworks prominently linked next to it. Later I was given permission to show it here:

So, you see the rainbow of mannequin feet pointed up from the top of the display in the photo?

See the kelly green sock, second from the right? That's one of the pair that I made for her. I feel proud. I wasn't able to be there, but my handiwork was.