Thursday, December 6, 2012

My first craft show!!!

So... I won't claim to be a professional crafter. I have a "day job," I raise my family, I squeeze in crafts where I can.

Lord Ozwald's Curious Goods started (as most of you know) as a way to raise money toward a very expensive knee surgery for one of our dogs (Oz). Back then, crafts were typically low-cost in supplies, relatively quick to make, and consequentially low-cost for resale, mostly to friends and family. Along with donations, we put a huge dent in the veterinary bill. I still can't express how grateful I am.

Two years later, Oz's knee has held (though his other is beginning to show problems). I've kept crafting because I love it. But now it's time to either overhaul my plan or let it go. I wasn't sure if LOCG was worth continuing. I slacked off on my end as far as new and exciting ideas. Prices for supplies, even through consignment shops and thrift stores, have kept climbing since late 2010. What initially cost me 50¢ is now at least $2. Even thrift stores have a bottom line to meet in tough times.

Today I attended my first craft show as a vendor. Yes, it feels weird to consider myself a vendor. I wasn't sure how it would go, or how my items would be received. I'm a little bit of everything: a Jack of all Trades and a Master of None, if you wish to think of it that way. I brought items new and old. I set fair prices and waited to see how things were received outside of my typical circle of buyers. 

Long story short, reactions were overall very good. I realize that I carry a lot of things, but not necessarily what people WANT right then. That being said, items received compliments even when they were not purchased. I enjoyed just sitting back and chatting to those who wished to chat, and letting the rest of the customers browse in peace. I ended up selling 10 items, which doesn't sound like a lot but it really was awesome. (I feared that I was taking a whole day off work only to sell nothing.) I had business cards taken home. Sock monsters found new families. Scarves will warm necks. Bags will carry things. Blankets will keep people warm. Bracelets will accessorize.

Okay, the whole experience went pretty well. So why am I writing this?

In 2013, I'm going to navigate this "shop" on a more focused route. I'm going to start pushing myself to craft items that are (for lack of a better description) worth selling in a non-fundraising scenario. Quick, small turn-around items (with the exception of certain popular items) will be replaced with items that require more investment (of both time and money): items made with higher end materials, more invested/intricate upcycles, items that have a lot of love put in them.

By the beginning of next year, I hope to have organized myself enough to open a shop on Etsy. I won't be quitting my job, just taking things more seriously. Very, very few people actually see this blog, and if I have no exposure then I have no customers. And I want customers. I want them because I want to share the things I enjoy with other people. I want to create items than anyone can buy and enjoy, not just some lucky person who can spend $115 on a scarf. 

With all that said, what I really need now is feedback. What do you wish I would try? What have I made that you really liked? And what suggestions do you have for me as I try to move this forward? Feel free to email or post here. Or on Facebook.