"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Some You Win, Some You Lose

     I had a craft show today.

     Turned out to be a total bust. : (  I didn't sell a single thing. At least the space was cheap. I didn't lose too much money. It's always scary to take a risk, and go out on a limb. I have to take a day off from serving in order to even do a show like this. That's guaranteed decent tips for a Saturday lunch shift. In exchange for ?????  Who knows What? So, I have to look at this as a learning experience.
    This was my 1st outdoor venue. I learned that 8 hours of sunlight is too much. A canopy for $10. is an excellent deal. We have typical June gloom this time of year. Warm afternoons. Cool mornings. But generally overcast. I wasn't thinking about the sun when I loaded my car at 8am. (and those of you that know me, are going "8am.? impossible", but we'll get to that next.) About mid-day I was completely melting. Of course I was trying to look professional, so I wasn't exactly wearing the most cool and comfortable clothes either. Fortunately, there was a wonderful breeze that came up in the afternoon that really made the rest of the day bearable. I am baked to a crisp. I came home unloaded the car, and went to bed. Unfortunately missing out a "girls night out" : ( bummer.
     Here's my dilemma with the canopy. My creations are bright, bold and colorful. They're textured and sparkly.They look amazing in natural sunlight. Lighting makes a big difference. Lighting changes colors and changes the look. It's amazing how different my stuff looks even from the last venue, 2 weeks ago, that was indoors with overhead florescent lighting.

And the show I did in December @ the same venue, with mood lighting (twinkle lights) and spot lights.

So definitely sunlight is a plus for my collection. However a canopy would allow me to hang things, and I love hangy things. I think I need to resurrect the umbrella. That's probably my best bet. I like how it fits with my "Travelling SideShow" theme. It allows me to hang some things, and provides me with shade without overshadowing my work. Now the trick is to figure out how to rig it up. My former set up was stolen out of my car after the December show. : (  I'm gonna have to jerry-rig it somehow. Hmmm, homework.
    Second lesson. Plan ahead. I'm a procrastinator. I spent every waking minute up to the show creating new goodies. I saved pulling my set up together until the night before. Well, it's graduation week, and I came home from work exhausted. I decided to sleep 1st, and get up early to get ready. 4am. the alarm was set. I was out of bed by 5, ouch. Me and mornings are not friends. This is usually where we part ways and I go off to LaLa land. In my fumbling half asleep mode I managed to burn the crap out of my hand. I have three huge blisters. Waaah! Well I did an egg soak and that helped a bit with the pain. (Something in the enzymes of an egg that actually help to heal the damaged skin. Not to mention it's nice and cool from the fridge and feels great on a burn.) I then had to pack one handed. Would you believe I ran off and left all those beautiful new earrings I made just for this show, hanging on my work bench. Arghh!
    Lesson number three. There is a big difference, between a juried craft show at a local art gallery, and a craft show on the local church green. A big difference in price as well . ($125. vs. $25). I guess even for craft shows, "you get what you pay for". Part of the reason I don't do many shows is because I just can't afford too. You have to spend money to make money. Most of it goes to the landlord, and there just isn't much left. Especially since most shows have to be paid for well in advance. That's a long time before I have the chance to make that money back. My old beat up Toyota is another reason I'm limited to local shows. This was a good opportunity for me to get out there. I could afford this show.  
    It was a really nice location. Amazing that there still is a local church green in a city where real-estate is prime. They actually hold their summer services out on the lawn. They do movie nights and other events out there as well. They do a regular rummage sale that is very popular. This was their 1st attempt at a craft fair. They actually approached me at the last show two weeks ago, and asked me to participate. Flattered! I had an excellent location , right in the center of everything, but somehow I felt a little invisible. Very nice people, but it was more of a social than anything. They all knew each other from church, and were there to support each other. Which is a beautiful thing. A wonderful community. But nobody knew me, and there were a lot of people that just passed me by on their way to say Hi to another friend.  I Think the only people who really did well was Pastor Mel's booth selling BBQ'd hot dogs for $1. Proceeds to the church. And a  little girl named Faith selling lemonade to buy her sister Hope a service dog. "Made with Faith, Hope, and Unconditional Sisterly Love" is her catch phrase. Who could resist that. I drank lemonade. I'm a sucker for a good cause, and faith was absolutely adorable. The kids were also having fun making tie-dye shirts for $10. I did have a couple of friends stop by to visit, which was awesome, cause I don't even know how they found me. Thanks guys.
    On a positive note. I did have fun with my set up. I played around and came up with some new jewelry display ideas. I don't do this often , so I use house hold items as props. I have an awesome collection of vintage luggage. So I use my monster (they're like drum cases) hat boxes to pack and transport. They then stack and make excellent display stands as well. All while perfectly fitting my "Traveling SideShow" theme.

    This really cool awesome stick I borrowed from my mother. It's set aside for a wall hanging textile piece I'm working on. I need one of my own now. It made an awesome display for my necklaces. I love the organic feel , which perfectly compliments my Atlantis series jewelry.
    My pagoda, formerly a bird feeder on my front porch, makes an excellent earring display. Needs a paint job. It's a little weathered. I like how many earrings I can get on it. I think I figured around 60 pairs, give or take a few.Plus I can put it on a Lazy- Susan and make it a spinning display.

The Eiffel Tower made a great rack for my new bracelet selection. Just a teaser. More on those later, as promised.


And the Coup de Gras........ A sandbox for my rings. The face was once a planter. It was used as a hat display back then. Now she's the ruins of Atlantis.                                                    


 Happy Father's day! Have a glorious Sunday. Thanks for reading.  xoxoxo


  1. What a fun display. Sorry that the show was a bust but your setup looks great. Those bust girls are awesome.

  2. Great ideas & beautiful jewelry. Shame you didn't sell anything so better luck next time. Try wearing a wild wide brim hat as an attn getter. Worked for me

  3. I'm sorry you didn't sell well, but you're totally right, there are shows and there are shows. The more you do this, the more you will get a feel for the kinds of shows you want to be doing. A lot of shows are really just glorified socials and you don't want to do them. Church events and school events rank at the top of this list for me. Juried shows are better than non-juried shows, as you know. Also, the more shows you do, the more you will create a unique system that works for you. A few things I have learned that really have made a difference for me:

    1. Keep inventory in some kind of container you can pack into a larger container. Mine live in a rolling, locking box. The lock is very nice at shows, and I can stick my cashbox in there too. I use those compartmented holders for beads to hold my pieces, and each holder has a different line in it. Packing/unpacking/restocking is very simple and efficient. My stuff goes into the correct holder after it has been tagged and entered into inventory - that's part of the tagging process, so I never forget any new goodies.

    2. Larger rubbermaid bins are your friend. You can pack most of your displays into them, then those stack onto a dolly. After a year and a half of doing craft shows, I know what displays fit into what bin (like a puzzle) and I can get them packed and on the dolly very easily during that exhausted, crispy tear down phase. The displays live in the bins when I am not at a show, shoved under a table. When I have to do a show, it's just a matter of putting the bins in the car. No advance packing of displays to worry about.

    3. Get a dolly, some flat motorcycle straps (two), and some bungee cords. Flat bottomed cart dollies are around $60 at Home Depot. Even better for your budget, see if there's one on Freecycle. Your back will thank you, and your hands.

    4. Linens for tables - I keep mine in one of the bins with displays. They are washed immediately after every show, then repacked. No worries about finding them before a show.

    5. Have a small "show box" in which you keep things like pens, rubber bands, hair ties, roach clips, double sided tape, receipts, cards, scissors, jump rings, gum, hand sanitizer, all that stuff you need. If this can live in one of your bins all the time when you're not at a show, even better. You'll never forget it.

    This works nicely because it's just a matter of finding the bins I need that are already prepacked with inventory, displays, linens, and getting them into the car. That's an amazing time saver and helps with those early mornings, too. I generally stage everything by the front door the night before, so I can just pack and go.

    I think it's awesome that you're doing shows, your stuff is incredible, and as you find the right venues, you will do brilliantly. Your systems will evolve and you will figure out what works for you. Oh yes, and GET AN UMBRELLA. Or a pop up. You do want that for outdoor venues. Boy howdy do you ever. xoxoxoxoxo

  4. Knitwit KreationsJune 17, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I like your setup! The pink cloth really makes your work stand out from others' blacks and whites.

    I don't use a cash box -- I have a vendor's apron that I keep stashed in my "showbox", along with most of the other items mentioned by honeyandollie. Immediately after each show I replenish my change stash ($150 in 10s, 5s, and singles), stick it into an apron pocket and stuff the apron back into the showbox.

    A popup might be the way to go, as long as it's white. That will diffuse the sunlight without changing it. I'll bet that's the reason for the white sides on photographic light-boxes!

    Keep on plugging away, and speaking personally I'd remove this show from my next-year list.

  5. Sorry about your show. Hopefully you will have a better one. The setup looks great! Sounds like it just wasn't the show for you or anyone else.