I made some fantastic trades: beautiful St. John's themed cards from www.deannacantrell.com, a stack of luscious handmade goats milk soaps (sorry I do not remember the name of the lovely lady who made these using the milk from her own goats!), and some fragrant tea and herb/spice blends from www.katulaherbs.com.
I was lucky enough to be booth neighbors of Kate and Rafe (of Katula Herbs). Kind smiles, chats, and booth watching for bathroom breaks really helped make the day go easier.
And it was a joy interacting with all of the visitors to my humble booth. I really appreciate those who shopped at the Bizarre, choosing to spend dollars with our small, local craft businesses. Doing these shows is a ton of work for the crafters. I usually spend most of the day before an event figuring out my booth display, organizing inventory, packing everything up and getting it in the car, hunting down misplaced essentials, creating signage, making some food for the show, running to the bank for change, and sometimes sewing. The day of the show means getting up at the crack of dawn (or in pitch dark if it's winter), being on time getting out of the house, driving to the event, unloading the car, parking the car, walking back to the event, setting up the canopy and tables, creating a beautiful display, arranging signage, preparing the electronic device, grabbing some coffee, and greeting early shoppers with a smile (while trying to get set up on time). Then is the "fun" part of the day, which mostly IS fun, talking to folks, getting feedback on my work, seeing friends. But there is also the part of trying to find time to slip away for a bathroom break, ditto for food, then eating lunch one bite at a time in between customers, graciously explaining to the customer who just spent twenty minutes picking out the perfect pair of gloves that I can't take credit cards (ouch!), graciously dealing with over-rambunctious kids whose parents are oblivious ( luckily this doesn't happen too often.....thank you parents who are diligent about teaching your kids manners!), not sitting down for eight hours straight. But wait, there's more! The end of the day means packing everything up, taking down the canopy, schlepping everything to the car, cramming it in, usually hungry and oh, those aching feet!
Yep, that is a pretty good job description of part of what my business is about. It's easy to understand why I've decided to limit the outdoor shows that I do. But I will always do a few per year, despite all that work. I so much love the interactions with people! I spend the bulk of my time alone in my studio sewing, so I appreciate being out in the world, and seeing people's reaction to my work. It's my business, and getting paid directly from the person who is buying my work, seeing how people connect to what I make, seeing how happy my customers are....wow, it is the best!
So thank you, thank you, thank you to all you folks who came out yesterday and supported handmade. You made my day, and I will keep the St. John's Bizarre as one of my special outdoor appearances. Best street fair in Portland!