November 3, 2012

bad day in craft fair land

It's bound to happen some time and today was the day. It wasn't the first and I'm sure it won't be the last. It stings and makes me want to taking a running start toward the Skyway Bridge with my candles in tow.

Yes, I'm talking about the dreaded bust - a craft fair that just wasn't worth the time, effort, money, energy, or anything else you put into it.

Our positive affirmations did not work today.
Today's church show in Tampa was a complete disaster from start to finish. I had a feeling it was going to be a bad day when we arrived and the lady in charge of figuring out what vendor goes where couldn't locate our name on her list. When we finally found our place and asked why it was directly under a low-hanging tree so that we couldn't erect our tent, she told us very defensively that "it was dark" when she mapped everything out.


The organizers were rushing around, frenzied, and were making me nervous. After speaking with a few other vendors, I learned I wasn't the only one who picked up on the disorganized vibe.

No bueno.

We made the executive decision to move over a few feet (much to the chagrin of the promoter), set up our tent and tried to remain positive. There were only about 10 other vendors on the lawn with us and about 15 located under a nearby covered walkway outside of the church. Definitely the smallest show I've done so far, which wasn't encouraging. But we pressed on and told ourselves that with fewer vendors our likelihood of getting more sales would go up. The less competition, the better...right? Sometimes you just have to lie to yourself to get through the day.

We had set up a smaller version of what we had at the pumpkin festival 2 weeks ago, knowing it would be a smaller crowd. But we didn't expect what was about to happen...

...which was nothing. From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. we had not yet made back our booth fee, which to be perfectly honest, was very little. It seemed as though the organizers had not promoted the event at all! The only people who showed up were a few dozen elderly women from the congregation who came for a luncheon benefiting the church, and then left immediately afterward. They didn't even feign interest in our crafts.
Our happy pilgrim bears did not bring us luck.
The show was scheduled to end at 4 p.m. but after a long, hot day in the sun all of us vendors were fed up with the lack of customers. We had been complaining to each other all day (one lady told me she only made $8. I wanted to hug her) and so we decided to take matters into our own hands and pack up 2 hours early. It was an unspoken agreement and we all seemed to start breaking down our displays at the same time. There were still a few straggler customers hanging around but something took over us (looking back, it was probably a mixture of sweat and defeat). As I was boxing up my candles, a fellow vendor purchased one from me which pushed me into the 'I-Just-Made-Back-My-Booth-Fee' threshold. But I just made it back. Broke even, if you're not accounting for supplies, time, effort, energy, and gas for the 3-hour round-trip ride to Tampa. And if you are, then the numbers are just too sad to bear... but we tried to smile and keep our senses of humor about us. You have to in such frustrating situations or you'll snap.

Me and my candles. Before the carnage.

Mom and her aprons. Not knowing what lied ahead.

The silver lining is that I met some really cool artisans and fellow crafters. With so few customers, we had a lot of time to hang around, converse and share a few laughs, which is never a bad thing in my opinion.

Our next craft show isn't for another month but in the meantime I have a garage sale coming up so I'll be trying to sell my candles there as well. I won't give up!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! I hope the next one goes better for you!
    Found you through etsy success and am your newest follower! ;-)


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