Hello, lovely blog readers. I apologize for how long it’s been since my last post and for skipping out on last week’s Friday Five (I think for the first time since I started it, actually).
Well, in all fairness, I did do my first craft fair on Friday (but more on that later in the week), which required a lot of prep. Plus it was amazingly exhausting and I couldn’t muster up the energy to write about it afterwards. Then Saturday I was being lazy. And Sunday I was in a jewelry metalsmithing class where I spent six hours filing and sanding five pieces I am working on. Six hours!
Anyway, enough excuses about the not writing.
As I geared myself up for my first craft fair last Friday and have slowly work up the courage to sign up for more next year in hopes of selling my jewelry, I am reminded at my very first attempt at vending at a craft fair. You see folks, this is not my first attempt at making a living selling a jewelry. Oh no, that dream started when I was just 12 years old.
Every summer, my little city of about 20,000 folks (yes, they like to refer to it as a city) in the suburbs of New Jersey had an art fair on our village green. As far as I can remember, it was your pretty standard fair, with local jewelers, painters, potters, you name it. Back in those days, I didn’t have the current obsession that I currently have with craft fairs. In fact, I think I found them pretty boring.
So obviously I should try to sell at it, right?
Yes, I got it into my head that I wanted to sell jewelry at Summit’s Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts (wow, that’s a mouthful!). I don’t remember if that’s what they called it back in the early 90s, but after doing a little research on the Googs I found out that’s what it’s called now.
I asked my three best friends at the time if they were in. One declined (she was obviously the wisest of us all), but the other two were in. With help from our parents (alas, at 12 years old, we had no checkbooks of our own), we paid the $75 fee, no small sum for a group of preteens who made their living babysitting twice a week for less than $2/hour (is that even legal?)
For weeks we toiled away, making seed bead flower bracelets and necklaces that were all the rage at the time, coercing our parents to take us on endless trips to the pricey craft shop the next town over, spending our hard-earned cash on supplies to fuel our little entrepreneurial endeavor.
|Image Credit: Photo by Alicia on Flickr|
Apparently I already knew a thing or two about displays, and using an easel, a large bulletin board and some black paper I created a stand-up board on which we could lovingly display our wares that we had so painstakingly created.
Finally, the day came. We set up our little booth.
Boy, were we out of our league.
I mean, I’m intimidated now by the other professional artisans, but back then I was as amateurish as they come.
Throughout the day people would take a peek at our jewelry, but surprisingly not many seemed to want to buy anything. A few people took pity on us and bought some items. At $7.95 for a bracelet and $9.95 for a necklace, you’d think those things would go like hotcakes, but alas with a half hour to spare before the end of the market we decided to have a sale to entice shoppers to come our way.
“Everything 50% off!” we started shouting. That brought in a whopping one extra customer.
At the end of the day we sold about $50 worth of merchandise. Not bad for our first go at it, but alas it was not enough to recover the cost of the booth, let alone how much we spent on supplies (and being 12-year-olds without the best budgeting skills, we did not actually keep track of how much money we spent on them).
My parents, bless their supportive souls, felt bad about how hard we had worked for so little return and told me I didn’t have to pay them back for my portion of the booth.
My hopes and dreams of selling again at the Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts faded away. The leftover merchandise hung on the bulletin board which in the basement for years, collecting dust, as did the memory of that day. The bracelets and necklaces we had worked so hard on, after sitting untouched for so many years, eventually wound up in the trash.
I might have lost money that day, but it was not a day full of losses. I have learned many lessons from selling at that craft fair, but I think the most important one of all is to never give up on your dreams, even if it takes 18 years.