Thursday, October 27, 2011

Craft show and the never ending cold

The craft show is over thankfully. I've learned a few things. I actually was ready the Friday before the show, thanks to Alann watching the kids for me a few days in the two weeks I had to prepare. I also think it was partly because I told myself that I wouldn't work on Sundays, and I didn't work on either Sunday before the show. It was hard resisting the temptation to just do a little bit, but I had made that deal and wanted to stick with it. I also didn't need to work the Saturday before the show, which was good since Alann ended up going somewhere for Provident and I was feeling cruddy.
I didn't end up taking any pictures,  even though I brought my camera. Silly me, I know. But my 8 foot table ended up being full. I had 89 burp cloths (that I made over the course of that two weeks, I'll have you know), 30 blankets (most of those were already made), some soap and shampoo, body lotion, hand lotion, lip balms, and a few foot scrubs and random other things.
I got there and brought all my stuff in and started setting up. The lady to my right was some fancy foot ingredient consultant (like avon for Vanilla extract) and the lady to my left hadn't set up yet. So I set up my table and I kept hearing the lady on the left talking to people and saying she was waiting for her helper who had the tablecloth. She finally showed up and they started setting up. And I realized that they were selling heavily scented hand and foot lotions and scrubs. (Beauti-control is the company. Think Pampered Chef meets Bath and Body Works.) Suddenly, I wasn't so sure about myself. It seemed a little unfair that my natural lotions were right next to their stuff. I felt like surely they would end up with more customers than me. But it actually worked out in my favor at one point. They had a few ladies who were looking at their stuff and decided it was too expensive and came over to my table. They saw my handmade foot scrub and each bought a jar immediately. Our tables weren't really spaced apart, so I could hear their conversation with the other ladies and each other. That sale made me laugh.
I did learn a few things about craft fairs, at least in our area. For one, I sold more soap to men than women. I was surprised. I really thought women would be more inclined to buy it, but I heard more than once "oh I like my stuff to smell". I can understand. I like smelly stuff too sometimes. But so much of the smelly stuff overwhelms me these days. I walked down the candle aisle in Target the other day and started sneezing. These kindly older gentlemen that bought my soap all asked "is this lye soap?" And then we would have a conversation about how their moms used to make it when they were growing up and it's so much better than the commercial stuff.
Secondly, I learned that if there is one item that bugs you and you think you want to make it, you should probably make it. I ran low on supplies while making my lotions and decided to nix the foot lotion I was planning on making. I could have made it, but it would have meant reformulating and I didn't think I had the time or the energy to reformulate and test it. And sure enough, someone came by and asked about it. That was annoying.
Third, don't put all the inventory out. Its overwhelming. If things are all the same, just put a few out.
Fourth, if at all possible, get a spotter and or bring a book. I was SO bored. I sat there for 7 hours with just one break when Alann and the kids came by after church. For the most part, there were always people there, but there were a few hour-long stretches when it was almost entirely dead.
Fifth- make the deal right then. I could have made a $40 deal and instead I held out for $45 and lost it.
Sixth- the thing you think will sell the best probably won't. I figured that the lip balms would sell the best. Everyone loves lip balms. They are easy to buy and were pretty cheap. I sold like 3. I was pretty disappointed.
All in all, I did pretty well. I wanted to earn my $20 table fee back, which I did, and I wanted to make 12 sales. I made 18. I chose 12 as my goal because that was 1% of the sales to the dinner last year. I figured that was realistic and it was. I made about $100 and that makes me happy. It will pay my Cap one card for a few months anyway. I would love to toss the whole amount on there at once, but I probably shouldn't. Now comes the hard part- listing everything on Etsy that didn't sell so I can sell it. Or finding another craft show to do.

As for the never-ending cold. It's never ending! I had a sore throat and slightly runny nose for about 2 weeks. I was doing the nasal rinses once or twice a day and thought I had the thing licked. Then last Wednesday morning I woke up coughing. Since then, it's just gotten worse. My voice comes and goes. My breathing comes and goes. The coughing and the coughing stuff up comes and goes. I just feel like crap in general- on and off headaches and just feeling exhausted. I can't tell if I am getting better or worse. I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and she said my lungs sounded fine. I'm supposed to go back next week if it isn't better. I feel like my coughing fits are more violent but less frequent, and definitely drier, but I don't know if that's a good sign or not. My chest hurts and my throat hurts from all the coughing. I'm really just ready to be done with it. It's impeding my grand plans to get my craft show wrapped up and the in-laws bedroom cleaned up which became my impromptu craft studio since I could shut out the children.

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