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Soka University International Festival

So, I finished this festival feeling great. Cutie Pie the Giant Elephant was a huge hit. I am pretty sure that 90% of the people who walked by, stopped to hug her, take a selfie with her, or just stare with their mouth wide open. She was a fantastic conversation starter and she drew people in. 

A lot of crafters set up booths so that no one has to enter, so people can just shop from the walkway. I hate that. I want to draw them in, I want them to walk around. I want to have the opportunity to display more and have them come touch and feel everything. Cutie Pie did just that. People would come in to look at her backside, or to talk to me about how long she took and how on earth I designed her, and then they saw the baby stuffed elephants…

So, the day started by this lovely vendor next to us pitching a hissy fit because she was “on the wrong side of the circle!!” And “no one ever walks over here or buys anything on this side!!” Obviously that wasn’t true. (We were along the path to get to and from the performances and the bathrooms….lots and lots of foot traffic! And I was next to the bouncy house and sky jumper!) so she went and cried and complained and freaked out until they moved her to the other side, which left the booth space next to me empty. So, myself and the other vendors two down all spread out a little more, and we did quite well. She, however, sold dress up clothes and really cheap jewelry…she ended up being next to the university sponsored free dress up station….and she whined and cried and was awful all day…and sold nothing. It is amazing how a smile can make so much of a difference.
While I didn’t sell a ton, I did make my booth fee back and then a little more. So, that already makes it better than the last show I did. And while I could easily look at it and say, I” still lost money because of all the gas we used to get there!” I am refusing to look at it that way. I got a couple new subscribers to my monthly newsletter. I had a lot of people take a card without even being offered one (totally different than funky finds). I had some heartbroken kids and moms when I nearly sold out of my little elephants and those moms took cards. I got some exposure on social media. I had several people inquire about custom items for Halloween (after seeing my daughters costume). And, I definitely learned what area of the festival to try and a get booth in for next year. πŸ™‚ So, it was a good day. It was worth the trip. It was fun. And people were impressed.

I was a little surprised that my tutus got almost no attention. I did almost sell one at the end of the festival, but the good person in me couldn’t do it. The little girl was screaming that she hates skirts, the mom kept saying to the dad who wanted to buy it, “I don’t think she will wear it, she’s just not girly”. The dad kept saying “she will learn to like skirts.” So, when he offered me his card, I suggested she try it on to ensure it would fit…she threw a huge fit, kicked her dad in the face (she was like 2 and he kept picking her up and trying to force her into the skirt). So, the mom told him they shouldn’t get it and walked away, and the dad told me that I had just ruined a sale for myself. I am okay with it though. I couldn’t sell them an item they would never get to use, or would make their kid that upset. I hate when people insist their kid needs a certain color or style because they are a boy or girl. Not all girls want to be fairy princesses. So, while that last sale  would have been nice, I couldn’t really dump my morals for $35. 

Well, here is my set up, and all that jazz. πŸ™‚ I had a very minimalist setup, and I really liked it. It wasn’t overwhelming, there was room to walk, and I think it looked clean and well organized.
   

  

  

  

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Ahh This Month

This month has left precious little time for writing.

I am in full flail-freak out mode about my festival on May 2nd. I don’t think I will ever feel prepared. I feel like I don’t have enough stuff, enough toys, enough clothes. I am so worried that there is no way I will sell anything, like, what if everyone hates what I make? Or thinks it is too expensive? Or what if they ask me questions and I flail like the anti-social loser I am and scare them away? Why can’t this all be done over the internet…oh, because people want to hold and touch things.

On the plus side, my etsy shop is doing well this month. Met my goal of 4 sales, and am even at 5, and I still have 2 weeks to go. So, for the year, I am at 15 sales on the 16th week…so I am doing pretty alright.

Here is to hoping that the Soka University International Festival completely blows me away. I will be at booth 814, right in the center of Adventureland (the kid’s zone) for anyone interested in attending. At least come give me a hug and tell me you suffer through my blog.

I am applying for a major festival in September…seriously…major…like…5 days. I am already starting to sweat just thinking about it. But, it is free, because I am a veteran and my town rocks when it comes to doing things for veterans. So, my booth fee is waived. I just have to pay the application fee. So…I am going to try…and hope…and I will be ready…and feel like I am not…but I am going to do this…dive in head first and hope the pool is deeper than I think it is.

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Getting Organized

So, if you haven’t realized by now…I have issues. A lot of them. I am borderline OCD (I say borderline because I have never been diagnosed, but I am quite sure I am fully OCD) about a lot of things when it comes to organization and planning. I will actually have full on panic attacks when plans fall through or things are not planned out. But, only when it involves work or money. I am pretty laid back when it comes to going out, vacations, food…but for my day to day work, or anything involving money – like paying bills, I am almost crazy when it comes to organization. Maybe one day I will show you my super crazy excel spreadsheet that covers all of my monthly income, expenses, when it was paid, balances…it is crazy.

Well, as I was sitting around my house yesterday, thinking about this upcoming craft fair on May 2nd, I realized that I do not have nearly as much made as I had thought. So many of my pre-made items are for adults, and adults will definitely not be my target audience at the children’s festival! And so much of my stuff is winter! I am all set and ready to kill some late fall / early winter craft shows…but May in Southern California? No one is going to buy a scarf or gloves! And adults will not be shopping for themselves when they are in an area dedicated to kids and playing! I need to focus on stuffed animals, kids clothes, dress up clothes, that sort of stuff. Which I have known all along, and I was set on the “I am doing okay there”…until I looked at the count. How I will ever be ready, I have absolutely no idea. So, after spending about 10 minutes freaking out and nearly convincing myself that I should cancel, Stacey’s voice popped into my head again…make a plan. Write it down. Get organized. Be realistic. She actually wrote an entire blog on how to do that exactly…and it is worth a read, if you are like me at all, and get easily spooked.

So, I made a plan…and it looks like this.

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My plan is actually quite flexible. My personal days are all days that I have stuff scheduled and probably would be limited on any work I could actually do. And of course, given that my shop isn’t exactly doing amazing with sales (which you could totallyΒ help fix!), all of those days that are dedicated to Etsy orders are available to help finish up work from the day before.

So, while this plan will not 100% put me where I wanted to be, there aren’t enough hours for that considering I work full time, and so much overtime, it will put me much closer. And, it quelled the panic attack some. So, now to just make sure I stick to the plan and kick out a whole bunch of really awesome stuff in the next 2 months!

Wish me luck!