Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Ventures

This is a post that I have been working on a while now. I've had trouble putting thoughts into words, so I kept putting it off. How do I explain ideas, hopes, and fears over things that aren't even to pass yet?

If you remember, back in October I took a huge jump and booked a table at a local craft fair. Without a clue what I'd be offering as a vendor. But with a ton of ideas and excitement to carry me.

I met with my parents on the day I agreed to the craft fair, and my excitement was catching; my Dad wanted to join in and make projects too! I showed him some pictures of items I was going to make, and we talked about what we could do and what we'd work on, and it was just a quick meeting that made me feel energized and ready to start something new! It was amazing how stepping out and doing something completely new and unusal for me could make me feel so happy!

I decided to tackle making projects that I'd always wanted to try and had pinned to my Pinterest boards, which is what got me started in attempting to make my own chalkboard paint and my own chalkboard frame to greet my husband when he returned from his trip in October. That was quite the challenge!  I have decided that even though making your own chalkboard paint at home is much more cost-saving than buying a small is also a lot more work, and a lot more frustrating!

I used this tutorial on making and colouring your own chalkboard paint found on A Beautiful Mess.

Just a FYI: unless you are doing a huge batch, don't be deceived into thinking that stirring a cupfull will be enough. I tried various methods and I used less or more amounts on the paint and on the grout mix, but each and every one ended up lumpy. It was seriously disheartening. I have no idea how these other DIYers were able to make theirs without any lumps just hand stirring. After a good six attempts, I had to give in and just accept the bottle of chalkboard spray paint from my Dad!  If you do happen to make your own chalkboard paint up, please please tell me how you did it! I am obviously missing a step (or two)!

Now you know. Just a few tips because I care. 

And because I remember how frustrated I was. 

You're welcome.

I ended up distressing and painting frames for the chalkboard. I was pleased with how they turned out! I also hand painted some signs. My Hunny, the Mountain Man, had found some pallets at work that he was able to take home for me, so I tried my hand at that. I also painted some new pine wood signs, which I wasn't too sure about at first, but ended up liking the most. Go figure!  My father made shelves and sconces and votive holders that turned out beautiful. (I grew up with him always building furniture. He has made almost all of the cabinets and shelves in my parent's home. I admit to wishing that I could build like him.)

 {my favourite sign. I was torn on even wanting it to sell!}

 {I made some chalkboard labels for these mason jars. it wasn't easy, but they turned out so good in the end....after four attempts. I also made some shabby lace rosettes, which I love!}

 {I had to make a Canadian flag sign!}

  {my dad's beautiful rustic wall candle holders}

When the day of the craft fair came up, I admit to having feelings of doubt (would we have enough stuff? would anyone buy our items? what if we didn't sell anything? what if we sold out too soon? what if I just sucked at this?) and to having thoughts that we'd do great (who wouldn't like our products? or us? we're fun and our hand made items are beautiful and priced well.)

The craft fair was a super short one. Just only four hours, and the first hour was spent walking around and seeing if we could barter with other vendors for items before the doors were opened. I had my eyes on some jewelry, some essential oils, some lotion and books, but not every one had items to trade or wanted to, which was disappointing, but I guess that's ok too. The more I traded, the less I had to sell.

 {All ready to go!  Abi helped out and even made a few items too! Craftiness runs in the family!}

Except it was so poorly attended that I really didn't have anything to worry about. It sure would've been nice to sell out early that afternoon! Instead, we spend our time chatting with the neighbouring vendor (check out Dirty Hippie Naturals on FB. She has some great lotions and soaps, plus she's nice!) and trying to keep warm in an old school gymnasium with open doors on a chilly October day.  I made two sales. Just two. And one of them was an item that Abi had made. I guess technically I made three since I had traded one of my chalkboard frames with another vendor for some earrings and rings. If you include that, I ended up making just a measily $5. (taking into account the cost of the table at the fair) So it really wasn't worth our time and efforts at all.

A part of me blames the organizer. After all, it was up to her to promote the craft fair. (There were no signs at the school when we arrived and none to be seen as we left at the building or at any intersecting streets, or even a handmade one at the main street in town) I did see that she posted about it on a few FB groups though. But I really think that she was hoping that we'd all tell our friends and customers (for those with existing buisinesses. There were a lot of home-based companies there, like Mary Kay and Usborne Books and Jamberry Nails and Fifth Avenue Collections, plus a good 7 others!) I'm sure we all did our part. But it wasn't enough.

Despite the fact that there was such a poor turn out and so little sales going on, I was encouraged by a few things. First that it wasn't just us that didn't sell, but every vendor. It was a good thought that it wasn't our products or our prices. Second, we enjoyed ourselves despite it being disappointing. It wasn't boring or awkward. Thirdly, we met some great people (like Jen at Dirty Hippie Naturals!) and were introduced to the crafting business world. And for our first venture, it wasn't terrible. 

We went away feeling hopeful for our next show.

But with the holiday season so soon upon us, and us being so busy with up coming events, and some fairs being too late to join in, we weren't able to attempt another show. Which was also disappointing. So much for recouping our costs somewhere. But we have to remain hopeful and confident that our items will sell, just not now. Instead, we spent our time checking out the other fairs that were happening. We looked at what other companies were selling, what was similar to ours and their prices, and what we could change. We checked out the bigger fairs too, the ones that have been around a while that had attracted a following (such as Crafty Affaire and Great Candian Craft's Fall fair we went to) And while I do have a healthy dose of inadequacy in comparison to the many other established companies out there, we are also willing to try this out!  And that makes me excited!

Watch out for more crafty goodness and more challenges and more posts about this new venture!


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