So I did the fair. It’s done. Here’s the run down
I got up and got out the door at a decent hour. After spending far too long getting my happy juice at the local Mercury Coffee, I jauntily headed to set up my craft fair “booth”. (table in a corner near a stack of chairs)
Getting set up was weird. I walked into a flurry of craft fair pros with signage and table organizers and decorative table cloths all being tossed about. I sheepishly lugged my oversized Amazon box to the table and began prepping.
All I had to do was hang some command strips and put the wreaths on the wall. I did have some pictures and info on the sanctuary and a frame that showed a perpetual slideshow of pictures i’ve taken of the birds … a sort of “who’s who” at the sanctuary.
I don’t know what I expected. …. scratch that. I expected the old “OPEN OPEN OPEN” commercial outside the doors. I expected a stampede when the clock hit 11. I expected more.
To put it into perspective, I have a real issue with expectations. I know when they are clearly out of whack with reality, but that seems to not make a difference to my lizard brain. I expect what I expect and if something shouldn’t or can’t meet those expectations, well they better figure it out… stat!!
8 vendors in the first holiday craft fair at a new business in the corner of a shopping center on a busy street on a rainy Sunday afternoon during a Seattle Seahawks game.
Convention Center in the middle of the holiday rush
I was quite obviously the new kid on the fair block for many reasons. The first glaringly obvious reason was my hopeful face whenever the business doors opened. The second was the accepted dollar store plastic/cellophane-esque table cloth beneath my wares.
I had 9 wreaths displayed on the wall behind me. On the table in front were the hair clips/pins I had made in a frantic glue gun panic that I would quickly run out of options for my buyers. I also had a print out of my contact info and social media account names and some small odds and ends to peruse or purchase.
It was pretty sparse, but I thought acceptable. I had my little cooler handy and my phone charger because – hello? sales! My little square strip reader was firmly embedded in my phone and I was set to impress myself.
The ladies that surrounded me had a much more muted outlook. They were all very nice ladies but were all obvious veterans of the cut throat crafting world. The glue gun burns, the home made jewelry piercings, the sewers wrist guards. It was a majestic site of bored retirees and housewives.
The clock struck 11! … and then 12, and then 1. .. we had maybe three people walk through during that time.
(My View for 90% of the day)
I was desperate! Everyone came into the small party room crammed with tables with their heads down looking at the items. My shit hung behind me on a wall well above table-level. I actually had to make a sign after the first two walked in and I had to actually Vanna White the wreaths behind my shoulders. -\_O_/-
One person actually jumped when they looked up.
The business owner felt bad about the turnout, so she ordered sandwiches for us “all”. (Did I mention there were only 8 of us?)
The vendor beside me had a raffle entry option. The host of the event also promised “hourly drawings”. By hour number 3 they were begging the vendors to toss their names into the boxes just to make it semi legit.
If it weren’t for the vendors buying each others items, I don’t know that anyone would have broken even. The bath bomb lady was the only one making a dent in her profit margin and that was because she had her precocious 10 year old gymnast daughter bouncing around pushing lots of the items.
A vendor near me had a friend drop by early on. She kept passing by me and “Ooohing” and “Wow”ing and complimenting my wreaths. By the third pass and the equal number of “Those really are beautiful”s I finally said, “You know, they’re for sale 🙂 ”
Everyone chuckled. I was proud for not letting the chip on my shoulder dance on the table when I said it.
By 4pm the bath bomb vendor called in a favor and a friend came down to check it all out. After about 30 minutes of chatting and perusing someone at another booth said, “You know I take cards, right?” to which we all immediately popped up and chimed in like hungry meerkats “Me too!” “Over here!” “We do too!”
This guy literally went around to each table that offered a card reader and bought something. That was my one sale today.
Unfortunately since I’m such a NOOB at this, I did not properly set up my Square reader and it was still in “demo mode” when I ran the card. I was immediately notified a sort of “Thank you, you have now completed your tutorial and the amount will be credited back to your account!”
To which I frantically began trying to undo the damage. We’ll see if it actually sticks.
The whole thing left me feeling confused, humbled, dejected, and frustrated. Driving home I was full of, “I can’t believe I spent money on that!” and “What the hell was the point?!” and “What a waste of time!”
As I pulled into my driveway with the impending deflation of facing my kids after failing, I realized I needed to pull it together. This was a learning experience and a teaching moment. I tried something new and scary. I did it on my own and I put myself and something that is pretty personal out there for strangers to weigh and judge. It didn’t work, but not because I didn’t do my best.
Later that night my son was having a really hard time with a plan his dad made with him changing. It was a fairly large plan that my son had to forgo something important with the promise he’d get it later… later never came. I sat with him and told him how I understand frustration and disappointment and feeling angry when something you hoped for and expected doesn’t happen. I sat and waited for my expectation to be met for 7 hours today. I was proud of the one sale that I did, and I appreciated it, but it was not at all what I had expected to happen. I had to come home and get beyond my frustration and disappointment so I could find some enjoyment in the time left of the day with my kids.
I think he heard me. Now I need to work on what i’m going to do next. I don’t know that i’m going to accept giving up just yet, but I sure am not going near a glue gun for at least a month.
Hey, on the upside, turns out my dreams are prophetic!