19 January 2012

back in the saddle & renegade recap!

As I recently posted to (my complete addiction, I admit it) Instagram, my long winter's nap is now officially over: I just re-opened my shop with a fresh lineup. Whee!

(umm, where did a month off go?)

OK, I wasn't exactly lounging the entire month. But there was a bit of extra toddler-snuggling and studio/office purging. Ahhh, I love a full-car trip to the Goodwill. But, after prepping frantically for my first-ever show at Renegade Holiday (recap to follow), I needed to catch my breath. And, then, I took a moment to take stock of what sold well last year (people (still) have chevron fever), what did great at Renegade (hello triangles and southwestern-y stuff) and what I want to try to do next. Oh, people... I have plans. My plans scare me in terms of scope--I am but one measly person, plans--but whatever I'm able to attack, I'm excited for it.

So, the new, refreshed, polished up shop is, as always, HERE.

Oh, one other update: all my listed wares are now ready to ship. (i.e., no more of this made-to-order business. It was fine for start-up, tough to manage forever.)


So, Renegade. I loved it. Before the application due date, I wasn't sure if it was "too soon" to jump into a show, because of all the work involved and being really very new. Toby and I talked it over and weighed the pros (selling stuff, brand exposure, obvious) and the cons (total disruption of our home leading up to already-disrupting holidays), and we took a chance and went for it.

I love taking a chance (though you should've seen the bags under my eyes!). And, I'm super glad I/we did it. A month off afterward didn't hurt either.

I didn't get the opportunity to walk the show much (unless you count baƱo breaks), and bought almost nothing (dang), but my experience as a seller was fun and worth all the work and late nights.

My takeaways:

1. As always, everyone is just so nice at Renegade. The sellers, the buyers, even the tagging-along boyfriends and husbands (did I mention they sell beer at this craft fair?), and especially the crew running the show. Niceness and genuine enthusiasm goes a long way in my book.

2. Next time, I need to prep and stockpile merch all year long. Being in complete start-up mode, there was a late night, every night for the final month pre-show.

3. Having a handy husband who can listen to my ideas and interpret my waving hands was a real luxury... he crafted all the beautiful reclaimed-wood booth components, and they were so warm and inviting. All I can say is thank you, Toby. And sorry about that screwed-up back! :/

4. Having friends and family come and visit/populate my booth in the early hours of the show was especially great. Loved that.

5. It makes sense in hindsight, but Renegade Holiday was 50% about selling people a nice handmade holiday gift, and 50% about meeting shop owners looking to carry wholesale. Wowzers, that was wonderful and unexpected. It would be uber-tacky to mention names at this point, but I hope to reveal some exciting stuff later in the year.

6. Making crafty friends (like Lynn, Shay and Samantha-yay!) in advance and at the show was worth just showing up for that. There wasn't much chance to talk shop, but I'll take what I can get ;) --Oh! I also was able to meet a couple of Etsy shop customers. Fun.

7. Re: Merch... more variety, larger range of price points. My new evil plans will address this one. But, I can't tell you how paranoid I was that I wasn't bringing enough of a given item. Which sounds all pompous, like I was figurin' on selling out of everything... I just mean, I didn't know what to expect, AND when you pay a not insignificant fee to be there, you don't want to run out of stuff on the first day and just be sitting there. Thankfully (I think), I didn't have that "problem." Only a few items were cleaned out. (Yay, triangles!)

8. Processing plastic through the Square app rocked.

9. Having a ruggedly handsome and/or pretty, stylish "booth babe" was so great. I would've been a wee bit shy sitting there, at my first show, all by my lonesome. Thank you, Toby and Robin (my ex-boss! how's that for supportive?) for the company, the wares-promotin', the coffee and the bathroom breaks. Yay team.

10. Next time, make some cute cushions for the chairs. Ouch.

Have any of you done a craft fair or the like? Any tips or wise lessons learned? I plan to repeat the experience.


  1. now that's one hell of a post. i've never done a craft faire, but i used to go to the sf gift show. it was nuts. the prep before hand, the cost, the booth and days of smiling trying not to seem desperate. all in all it was always worth it. my only advice is comfortable pants. doesn't always come down to that?

    those scraps are exciting me...what to make? if i knew anyone having a baby bean bags would totally be in order.

  2. p.s. i love toby hiding in that lower left photo. great salesman buddy.

  3. Wow, Blake your stuff is so beautiful! I love hearing about your journey in starting a new business. I agree, the scrap packs are a great idea. Desi made finn some of those bean bags once. We love them. I might have to make more. I still have my eye on my favorite pillow and I'm excited to see tea towels!

  4. I love those wood components that Toby made and OF COURSE your beautiful wares. Renegade looks really cool! Wish we had something like that here. I want bean bags, too! :)


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