Sunday, May 3, 2009

Whew! The Roller Coaster!!

Have you ever felt like life was a roller coaster? That feeling that you're going WAY too fast? That you don't have much control? And you're hoping the hardware holds out?
That's been my last couple weeks!

Lets' see ... on Thursday, the 23rd, two days before the craft show, we were still in MI working on our daughter's house (they had a water problem in a house they're trying to sell and they've moved away). We had hoped to head for home in WI that morning .... but there were glitches (aren't there always?) and we didn't leave until after midnight. The 7-hour drive was a killer but actually, it was great driving through Chicago -- there was NO traffic at 3 am!! We got home in time to go to work Friday morning. My husband did all the driving but I was afraid he would fall asleep -- so I only got a couple 20 minute catnaps all night.

I was actually pretty amazed how well I did Friday -- hung in there pretty well without sleep -- until about 5 in the afternoon. Then I started really dragging. By the time my husband got home at 9 that night (he had to work out of town that day -- poor guy -- more travel for him!) I was done in. I told him we weren't going to do the craft show Saturday -- I didn't feel prepared and I was totally exhausted. The idea of getting up the next morning at 5 was just too overwhelming! So we went to bed -- nothing packed in the car. Originally, I figured we should leave for the show about 6:30 am to allow us plenty of time to get there and get set up --haven't done a show since December and knew we would be "rusty" about our set up.

So Saturday morning, at 6:20, I got up for a nature call ... felt a whole lot better .. so woke my poor hubby and said "let's go!!". He had been really disappointed that we weren't going so I didn't even have to ask twice -- he was out of bed like a shot. By 7, we were on the road. Given that we had to dress and pack up, that's amazing!

The show went ... ok. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad. We didn't know what to expect but we did expect more people to come. It was a rainy day -- I know that didn't help. And when the show organizers planned the date, they had checked on road construction -- they were told that the road would be resurfaced from June - August. Somebody's calendar was really screwed up because it was all torn up in April! And we expected that the economy would have some impact -- didn't know how much. This show last year had about 2000 attendees -- we figured there were only 700-800 this year.

The show itself was really pretty neat. Some fun vendors -- someone was selling decorated hula hoops -- their booth was really bopping!!-- the booth across from us were selling their own dip mixes (oh my goodness ... SOooooo good!!) and there were just some interesting things being sold. The guy a couple booths down from us was selling metal lawn sculptures -- they were amazing! One lady was selling hair pieces -- sort of for an instant updo. Another was selling bras -- she had her own little booth for trying on. There were some wonderful handmade soaps. Lots of jewelry, but none of it like mine. And the chocolatiers -- yes, there were choclatiers! and the samples? almost heaven!!!

I had a couple of fun sales -- both ladies wanted very custom made pieces. One lady was probably in her late 40's -- she picked a pair of earrings she liked, then pointed to a necklace and said she'd like something like that, only a little different. We talked about what she had in mind, then I made up a couple samples -- she loved one of them and bought it! Later, a younger gal came by -- mid 20's -- getting married in July. She had the jewelry picked out for her wedding party but hadn't been able to find anything she liked for herself. She chose a pair of earrings in white/clear but wondered what they would look like if one of the crystals was sapphire instead (the color of her wedding) -- I made it up for her -- and she LOVED it! But then she wanted a necklace -- I made one similar to a style I have but, like the earrings, substituted a sapphire crystal for a clear in part of the necklace. It came out perfect! It was so cool to do wedding jewelry -- it's an area I want to work in to -- and it was SO fun!!

As for the marketing mix, there were more young women at this show than at the typical craft show -- and I had a lot of attention from most of them. It confirmed that my work has a bit younger appeal than I've been thinking -- which should help with my marketing strategy.

And my shop is open -- it was pretty slow getting things listed and I have LOTS more listing to do -- but that's a story for another day. Come check me out:
So far, the feedback I'm getting is very positive. Most of my photos are pretty decent. No sales yet but I really didn't have enough listed until yesterday. It's really a relief to have it open and be able to list. I've been working on it for so long -- taken SO many pictures! And getting them edited and cropped. Woohoo!! This is me doing the happy dance!!!