My First Craft Fair As A Vendor

Yesterday I attended my first event as a vendor! It was the annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair in my community. I’ve attended as a buyer many times since moving here as a child. Vending this year was a spur of the moment decision made just last month. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be or if I would sell enough to be a profitable endeavour.

I haven’t completed an inventory of my remaining stock yet but I believe it was profitable both financially and from a marketing standpoint. My business was brought to the attention of many new people. I received an email this morning from the coordinator. 2017 may have broken records for attendees!

I didn’t make everything I wanted in time for the fair and third-party products were not allowed so I couldn’t sell dōTERRA products or promote that side of my business. But I learned a lot regarding the local audience; the products they look for; made contacts and gave out business cards to more than my buyers but other attendees as well.

For this first vendor event, I had a mix of crochet and knit products and some products made with dōTERRA essential oils. I inventoried all products brought; had bags ready with a business card in each; had more business cards out on the table; brought a few props; and made notes of requested items and things to do differently next time.

My niece, Mackenzie, helped me with the booth. We worked well together. She expressed interest not only in helping me make new products but also in helping me vend at future events. We brainstormed a little on new products we could make using essential oils. Having both of us at the table brought an overlapping group of acquaintances, family and friends resulting in reaching new customers.

Some of the things I learned were:

– iron or wash my tablecloth (a twin bed flat sheet) prior to use, it was visibly wrinkled!
– have multiples of the same items in the same colours and sizes, I had a few parents and grandparents wanting matching items including one wanting matching hats for her twin granddaughters (she bought two in similar colours instead)
– people want larger bottles of Epson Salt
-sparkly ornaments draw in children which then draws in their parents!
– sitting and standing while wearing winter boots causes foot pain!
– locals will purchase my products!!!
– giving out lots of business cards results in new viewers to the website and sign-ups to the newsletter!
– money earned is not the only indicator of a successful event!

2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up

A Productive Day

Yesterday was a surprisingly productive day. Surprising because I’m in a flare (fibro) and having almost constant dizzy spells. I haven’t been able to do a lot. But when I look back on the day quite a bit was accomplished.

I woke up early to get my nephew ready for school. Mira and I walked him to school. I made essential oil samples (Lavender and Balance). I packaged up samples for spŌIL Yourself. I’m vending at a local craft fair in a few weeks. I worked on products for the craft fair. I bottled two sizes of bath salts. I made some lip balms. I need to work on that recipe a bit more. The results were creamier than expected and work better in a jar than an applicator. I watched numerous youtube videos while working on other things. I worked on a crochet hat for the fair.

I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped. My focus is decreased by the flare and being dizzy does not help. I have so many books I want to read but no attention. It’s frustrating as reading is a huge part of my life and has been since childhood. I feel wrong when I don’t read. But when I’m flaring and dizzy I just can’t.

I was in contact with someone I’ve known and worked with for years. She is going to join the spŌIL Yourself week. I reached out to a few others but am still waiting to hear back.

I received word that an RN I used to work with was killed in a motorcycle accident in Jamaica. That was hard. I had contact with her both as a co-worker and as a patient. She removed some of my staples after my thyroidectomy. I didn’t know her well but I knew her.

Let’s see what today brings…

A Tisket, A Tasket, I Have A Basket

Yes, I know that’s not how the nursery rhyme goes but it seemed to fit as I’ve been filling baskets lately. I’ve been absent from the blog the last few months and the baskets are part of the reasons. I’ll go backwards as that gives the most news first.

I’m opening up a shop for crochet and knit items! Crocheting and knitting are two of my main ways of filling my time. That’s why I started designing. But you only need so many things and I have a lot of yarn and time to crochet and knit. I could also use another income stream in the business. Working outside the home is next to impossible due to my chronic illnesses but this is something I can do almost entirely from home. Other than going to the post office to send out packages to customers I can do it all from home. So come October 31, baring technical difficulties, my shop will be open.

I’ve been busily making products for the last month or so and will continue to do so. I have people in the Starship-the business group I belong  to-who will be critiquing the shop this week. I’ve already started working on the behind the scenes part of the shop. I need to verify shipping costs, finish pricing my finished products and upload the products to the shop. At that point the critique can begin. I’ll make any necessary changes based on their critiques and the shop will be opening to the public on October 31. Yes, next Monday! The shop products so far include washcloths and hats. I’m working on some cowls or snoods as they are sometimes called. That will likely be my open products but I plan on frequently adding new products like scarves, shawls, shawlettes, mittens, hairbands, baby blankets in the near future. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll add things to the shop as I complete them or have a set weekly or biweekly update to add new products.

That’s part of the basket theme as I’ve been sorting through my yarn for shop items. I have baskets for washcloths yarn and hat yarn, a big one of yarn for all kinds of things and baskets of things I’m in the middle of working on. Here’s my washcloths basket:


This one is beside my chair in the living room. I read on my iPad or watch tv while making them. I also have a pile of products to weave in the ends nearby and a few finished products bins.

Another piece of news is my sister and five year old nephew are moving in with Mum and I. So I need to move my yarn out of the spare/yarn room as that will become my sister’s room next month. That’s where a lot of the baskets of shop yarn came from. As I sort through the yarn to move it some are going into a shop pile/baskets/boxes.

I’ve also started my usual seasonal fibromyalgia flare. I flare up whenever the seasons change. It usually lasts a few weeks to months depending on the transition period. And that depends on Mother Nature and the weather.

My flare started a little early due to a road trip to visit family in August. We had a great visit and I don’t regret it at all but the change from our weather to their weather and the two days road trip each way precipitated an earlier flare. It didn’t help that I received some bad news the day before we left.

And my diabetes program social worker believes I have depression and anxiety. I see my family doctor tomorrow. The social worker thinks things I’ve just assumed are part of my chronic illnesses are actually symptoms of anxiety and depression. So I’ve been adjusting to that and doing my best to stay positive.

All that lead to an absence of blog posts and major decrease in social media posts. I’m almost back on track and hope to increase all of those. Watch for updates on the shop!

FO Friday 24/06/2016

Happy Friday! I have many FOs to show you but not many patterns were involved.
I crocheted some slippers for an ex-co-worker. She and her husband have worn through the last pairs to the point of being past repair. She asked for two more sets each. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the last set before giving them to her! They are kind of a hodgepodge of components from different patterns.
www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
FOs galore!
I’ve also made a bunch of cloths. Some as design samples and some as spare Alys Cloths as that ex-co-worker mentioned referring people to me who had asked about dishcloths. No one has approached me yet but I’m getting prepared. I can always sell them via the community Facebook Storage Wars Group.
I’m going to warn you now there may not be an FO next week. The Talisman Shawl has taken over all my crafting time. It’s a very addictive knit!

Crochet Testers Wanted 04/06/2016

Bridgwater Crafts
Kaylin Spa Cloth

I’m almost finished my crochet design, Kaylin Spa Cloth. I just need to add some photos and do some formatting. So, it’s time to start looking for testers. If you are interested in becoming one of my testers please notify me by leaving a comment here, emailing me or pm me on Ravelry.

Kaylin is one of six designs in my upcoming Hooks, Needles and Spoons ebook. The ebook consists of three crochet and three knit patterns that are simple basics; simple enough you can work on them with little brainpower required and finish with a usable product.

Here’s the info again-I know it’s pretty small in the photo!
Necessary Skills (American Crochet Terms)
Slip Knot
Chain
Single Crochet
Weaving In Of Ends

Materials
Worsted Weight Cotton (50 g)
6 mm/J/10 hook
Tapestry Needle

Tester Requirements
Crochet washcloth by June 20.
Testers are required to provide feedback on clarity of instructions, errors found and any suggestions.
Complete a project page on Ravelry.
Link project page to pattern page upon publication.

Tester Compensation
In appreciation of their time and work, testers will be gifted the published pattern in their Ravelry libraries and a coupon code for 20% off any existing and new patterns in my Ravelry store valid until December 31, 2016.

WIP Wednesday 13/04/2016

I’ve been working on a few different projects in the last few weeks. I’ve worked on my own designs and on an Ann Budd sock pattern.
Here’s my knit blanket sample. It’s grown a lot but didn’t get finished in time for my nephew’s birthday?. It’s about ten cm longer though.

  

Here’s part of my crochet king size blanket. Assembly has begun! It’s a slow process though since there are so many motifs.

  
I also worked on my Snips and Snails socks. The first sock is finished except for weaving in ends and I’m heading down the leg of the other!

  
It’s not much for a few weeks but it’s all my shoulder, arms and brain have allowed me to do lately.

WIP Wednesday

Hi!
It’s Wednesday again – the days just seem to fly lately! I have three WIPs to show you this week. The big afghans are still waiting in the sidelines while I work on smaller things.

First is a new design for a headband. It just needs the ends woven in! And the pattern written and proper photos and testing and tech editing!
 www.BridgwaterCrafts.com 
Second is the familiar blanket design/birthday gift for my nephew. I swear it is growing but slowly.

 www.BridgwaterCrafts.com 
Third, is this pair of socks I pulled out of hibernation the other day. They’ve been packed away for quite a while. I’d forgotten how much I like to work with wool and tiny sharp needles. I missed them. And I want new me made socks for next winter. I started these socks on April 21, 2014; it’s time to finish them! They are my Snips and Snails Socks using Ann Budd’s 7 stitches per Inch Sock using Yarn Love Elinor Dashwood (a merino/nylon sportweight) in the Snips and Snails colourway using 3.25 mm (US 3) HiyaHiya Sharp dpns.

 www.BridgwaterCrafts.com 

FO Friday 18/03/2016

Happy Birthday Mackenzie! I can’t believe you’re 16 already!

My first finished object this week is a baby hat I made my friend in case she has a girl. Since they chose to not know the sex of the baby I made unisex hats for the baby shower but I want to have at least two girl hats too. This hat like the others I made is improvised so there’s no pattern to link. It’s just my standard hat with some lace on the brim.

A baby hat by www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A hat for Baby Girl

The rest of my finished objects are lots of headbands. I made another for me and a bunch for Mackenzie’s birthday gift. I really like how these headbands fit and how they use up scraps. I am now leaning towards releasing the design.

Tanis Headband on www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A gathering of headbands!

I didn’t get as much completed as I’d hoped this week but more than I usually do during a flare so I’m happy.

FO Friday…umm… FO Monday?

It has been a busy few days. That’s why Friday’s post is going up today with a few adjustments. I have quite a few finished objects to show off today. All are fairly small projects, I didn’t work as actively on the afghans this past week.
I spent last weekend whipping up these headbands. I needed fingering weight FOs for the Smitten Yarns February Stashdown on Ravelry . January was worsted, February was fingering, and March is sport weight. I didn’t use a pattern; I made one up but I may publish it in the future.
I also worked on baby hats for a friend’s baby shower this weekend. Again there was no pattern, just the standard crochet hat I devised over the years. They chose not to know the sex of the baby so I tried to use colours both parents like and could be considered unisex. I am making one or two girly hats too. Just in case, I can bring those over to her after the baby is born.
IMG_2470
But, my biggest FO of last week is the design I published on Saturday! This design began last year but I finally finished getting the pattern ready this past week. So please help me in welcoming Elspeth!
Elspeth Envelope holds your business or debit/credit cards for you safely even if they fall to the bottom of your bag, purse or tote bag. She can hold thirty business cards comfortably and even better, no more bent corners!