"...it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."
Well now that the crazy whirlwind that sucked me up for a month and half has plopped me back down in my (very messy) house, I can heave a great sigh of...Relief? Contentment? Not the exact word I want, but somewhere close. I can destress, start sleeping again, and get back to my yoga classes and yard work. Life can return to normal. Whatever that is.
The festival. Since I know you're all dying to hear how it went. I would say it went well. I deliberately chose a small festival (with a low vendor fee), that was two blocks from my house because it was an easy first run. Plus I'm supporting my local community. Did this inhibit my sales? Very probably. Us Western Pennsylvanians do not like to spend lavish amounts of money if we don't feel it's worth it. And even then, are we likely to have that money? If I had been in downtown Pittsburgh or in one of the city's neighborhoods, I think it would have gone just a little better; but again, this was a test.
People really liked the leather journals and the Bookbags. Where I live, people are very frugal and so they didn't all buy one just because they liked it. But there were quite a number of people that asked about my online shop, any custom work I could do, and that took business cards. So would I say it was a success despite the fact that I would've liked to have sold more than I did? Yes. I got the word out and I got to see which products most people were interested in. I'll be taking some better photographs of what I have left to post on Etsy, but here is a simple one I managed to catch of my table. This wasn't the end arrangement, I was still playing around. But you get the idea. I had small and large soft-cover sketchbooks, soft-cover and hardback books, leather books, canvases, a few pieces of jewelry, and the Bookbags. It took a hell of a lot of time and effort to get this all together so quickly, but now I have a nice inventory to build on. I also had information on custom enclosures as well as packets of information for people to take on how to take care of their own private collections (always trying to share the info!).
It was also a test to see how I enjoyed participating in the festivals and to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel. When I had people that were really interested and asked questions, it was great. I love educating people on it and explaining the entire process, especially when some of them still didn't understand that they were hand-sewn, cased in, etc. They looked rather confused at the table as though asking, What are you selling? Did you buy books somewhere? But when people weren't interested, frankly it was boring. My wonderful hubby stayed the entire him (and carried all the heavy tables and boxes back and forth up the hill to our house) and kept me company, ensuring that we could both take breaks and walk around to look at the other tables. But we couldn't explore it together, which is what I really love doing at the festivals. He gets excited about the food and I get excited about...well, everything else! I think I'd rather participate in educational fairs and festivals, letting people know I can do custom work, and mostly just sell my items online.
Would I participate in another festival? I think so. As long as I had the inventory mostly built up and wouldn't have to kill myself to do it again. :P As soon as I get some of it posted on Etsy, I'll let you know and you can check them out. Pass on the word! And as always, any feedback you have would always be welcome.