Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Fingerprints of God

I know.  I know.  It's been a while since I've been here.  My life has been wildly busy these past few months and something had to give somewhere!  I had a full slate of craft shows through the fall, most of which went very well.  Then I moved -- one Saturday I had a craft show in Green Bay, WI ... on Monday and Tuesday I moved .. Thursday was Thanksgiving with my family and Friday and Saturday were another craft show in mid-western Michigan.  I got to spend 3 weeks out and about for the holidays visiting my children and grandchildren --- had a blast!!  Totally passed on making any New Year's resolutions.  Now it's time to get back to work.  I'm in a new state, which means finding all new craft shows for the year.  I know a few I'd like to apply for but am hoping for input on some of them.   Doing some research.  

Over the New Years weekend, we were visiting family in Grand Rapids MI.  We saw billboards for a wedding show this weekend -- my husband suggested that I find out about it.  We have felt for some time that my jewelry would be fabulous for brides -- I have LOTS of Swarovski crystal colors and can match ALMOST any bridal party.  For a couple years now, I've been hearing the same comment from customers at craft shows -- "I wish I'd seen your jewelry before I got married!".  A while back I formulated this plan ... I'd do a small local bridal show just to see how it went and figure out what to expect.  Then I'd work my way up to try some of the larger shows ... like the one in Grand Rapids.  If you've never checked out the vendor pricing, I gotta tell you that the big show are PRICEY ... a whole lot more expensive than booth fees for a craft show. 

So early this week, I finally got around to inquiring.  I expected the show to be full.  I expected it to be expensive.  I really didn't expect to do it this year.  But I'd check.  The contract was emailed to me, and as expected, it was way out of my budget.  On Wednesday, I replied with a polite note, declining for this year but asking to be contacted for next year.  I figured it was a done deal.  Not so much!  On Thursday morning, I found that I had another email with an offer -- they didn't normally allow vendors to share a booth, but they had someone who wanted to and would make an exception if I was interested.  The booth fee was nearly half off.  My heart lept into my throat!  It was tempting, but even at half off, it was out of my budget right now.  I hit the reply button to decline ... but I'd lost my internet connection .. and couldn't seem to get it back.  Ok .. email later.  My husband and I needed to run a couple errands .. I wasn't even going to mention the email but "just happened" to ... he was instantly excited and ready to go!  But I protested ... didn't have the money.  We talked about it -- he was so confidant that it would be a good opportunity for me that he was willing to borrow the money!  I wouldn't -- just didn't feel right about that.  Being in a ministry, we occasionally get special gifts -- although I thought that we had probably received all our Christmas gifts, I said that if there was something we hadn't been credited yet, we'd do the show.  He checked ... all the money we needed was available!   SO .. I called the organizer of the show and told her that I would do the show!  At 2:00 on Thursday afternoon, I found out that I was "IN" .. for a show that was 2 hours drive time and started on Friday afternoon!  So much for dipping my toes in and starting out slowly -- I was about to cannonball into the deep end!!

Fortunately, in my long range planning, I've given some thought about the differences between a craft show and a bridal show.    At a craft show, customer are there to buy on the spot ... at a bridal show, customers are there to browse for specific needs.  The craft show fee is much lower and I recover that expense on the day of the show.  A bridal show fee is much larger and is an "investment" -- sales will likely come later.  The potential for sales success is huge .. but the risk is also huge.  This was a very scary proposition for me!

My husband has been a real cheerleader this week!  He was totally confidant -- I've been scared to death.  But we began to consider all the unique aspects of doing this show ... what were the odds that they would have an open space?  This is the biggest bridal show in our side of the state and getting in to the show is very competitive.  What were the chances that I'd ever be allowed a discount?  What were the chances we'd come up with the fee?  And as hectic as our lives have been, what were the chances that we'd be available at the right time?  How weird was it that I lost my internet connection and couldn't get it back to refuse the offer?  There were several other small details that all fell into place ... what were the chances?  When we took it all in, it suddenly became so obvious ... God's fingerprints were all over this situation!!  Oh, and the final stamp?  When I got to the show to set up, the person I was supposed to be sharing a booth with never followed through -- we had the whole booth to ourselves ... and our location at the show had been moved from a far back corner to a very high traffic spot.  What are the chances?  I'm thinkin' that when God has His fingerprints on it, it's all going to work out!!