I may be the only person ever

to return from a craft fair with more merchandise (my own) than I went with.

Yes indeed, I sold nothing. Not one flipping one dollar scrunchie.

No one bought this:
As bad as I may feel for selling nothing, the fact that this dress, which is even prettier in person, did not sell makes it obvious it wasn’t totally my incompetence stopping sales.

Actually, I don’t think it was my incompetence at all. I thought to begin with I was going to be up against one civilian craft fair. I was wrong. We were up against three civilian craft fairs.

The Hickam craft fair was the 31st annual, and according to a conversation I overheard, they always have it the first weekend in May, which isn’t the case with the other fairs.

Even so, once they figured it out they should have moved it. So they could at least give the impression they cared about their vendors, which they don’t.

A couple of days before the fair, I was watching the news and saw that the forecast called for thunderstorms. So Robert called to find out what their plans were in case we got rained out. Their response? “It won’t rain. Your fee is nonrefundable.” That’s it.

It did not, thankfully, storm. I was indeed able to get set up and put out my wares. I just wasn’t able to sell anything. The people to our left, who obviously did this sort of thing much more often, said that it was an unusually dismal turnout. While it did not storm, it did indeed rain on and off much of the day, which led to an interesting conversation with one of the event’s organizers. The head honchette, in fact; I recognized her name on her tag. After half an hour of no new people coming from the parking lot (which I was set up facing, by the way, a position I had reckoned as ideal), I broke down. This was at 2:30; we weren’t supposed to do anything until three.

Head Honchette came around to scold me and the people to my right who were also packing up. She told us we weren’t going to be able to rent booths from them for any future craft shows, and was utterly shocked when I told her that was fine by me, since they stood no hope in you-know-where of ever getting my money again. She made the mistake of asking why, so I got the pleasure of telling her. It was my one happy moment of the day. I brought up the lack of plans in case of rain, which if nothing else would prevent me from being so much as a customer at any of their fairs again (even the upcoming craft fair/car show, which would provide me the opportunity to combine two of my great loves–crocheting and muscle cars). Her response was one for the ages.

“It didn’t rain!”

Um, yeah. What was it, then, a flock of incontinent pigeons flying overhead? (For once, I actually said this instead of only thinking later on that it’d have been the perfect comeback.) It wasn’t that much, she said. It was enough, though. Enough to negatively affect turnout. Enough to dampen my merchandise, even with the rented canopy. I realize fully that with outdoor fairs you’re risking rain. But I don’t think that obviates the need to have a plan in case the rain is too heavy to even set up (earlier this year, we had 42 straight days of rain, mainly heavy showers and t-storms; this should function as a clue). And the fact that she looked straight at me and spoke such an obvious lie…! I don’t let my four-year-old get away with that behavior! I expect much better from a woman old enough to be my mama. Of course, since she was old enough to be my mama, there really wasn’t anything useful to say to such a stupid statement, so I just ignored her after that.

Oy.

There was one other woman there selling crocheted things. And, as expected, her items were a lot cheaper than mine. (I had the dress above priced at $20, she was selling baby dresses for $15.) Of course, the biggest difference was that I designed my merchandise all by myself. Her items were obviously from patterns. So, apparently, in order to sell I’d have needed to underprice my work and violate multiple copyrights. (The whole ‘personal use only, don’t sell these items’ thing.) Not that she did much better, from the looks of it. I know she sold one thing, because I saw someone buying it from her, but unless she had a huge amount of stock behind her tables and was reloading quickly, that was about all she sold, because I didn’t see any holes. It just sucked all around, apparently. The woman to my right–one of two in my immediate vicinity who broke down early–had some pretty cool merchandise. I was really hoping I’d sell something so i could buy one of her kitty cat tissue box covers. She sold thing. The people behind me, who left even before I did, had probably the neatest thing there–Hawaii license plates shaped into various things, like purses. I’m not sure, but I got the distinct impression they didn’t sell anything either. They apparently have a store on the North Shore, though, and I’m going to hunt them down before we leave the island. I need a license plate purse. I just do.

Lessons learned:
1) More newborn stuff.
2) Be certain to have gender-neutral items.
3) More toddler stuff.
4) When a potential customer asks if a poncho is a shawl, say that it is. I really thought I was going to sell that poncho. But she wanted it to be a shawl. I should have let it be a shawl.
5) A camouflage blanket is not a sure sell at an Air Force Base. Being that plenty in the Air Force wear BDUs, I’d figued it’d be a slam-dunk. I’m still proud of that blanket.

The question that thus far remains unanswered:
How do I draw in the people pushing around strollers? If hanging my prettiest pieces up out by the street (and they were visible for more than a block away) doesn’t work, and having toys out front doesn’t work, what will? I had plenty of childless folks come in and pick over my stuff, but very few with actual babies. And I spent most of the day unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to change that.

To add injury to insult (yes, I put it that way on purpose) the van decided to die a long, slow death. Thankfully, the engine did not cut off until we were literally pulling into the driveway. Good news on that is that it’s most likely nothing more than a bad thermostat. Bad news on that is that, well, it’s a Dodge Ram Van, with about a yard-long nose, and what that translates out to is the alternator has to be taken out to get to the thermostat. So it’s not something we can do on our own.

With all this, I am taking a brief break from crocheting. I’ll be gone maybe a week, no more. (And I have enough other projects to show off you can count on at least one more entry from me in that timeframe.) I dusted off my knitting needles that I’ve never really put to use, and I am currently working on a version of this shawl. It is simple enough for an utter beginner like myself, but nice enough to suit my craft snob self. I simply cannot have my second knit project be a scarf. (My first, some eightteen months ago, was a buttoned, shaped cell phone case; ironic as I didn’t own a cell phone at the time!) I’m using up some scrap yarn, so it’s going to be interesting. But the pattern is so blessedly simple that I’ve already gotten it down; it only necessitates doing math every other row. (My sole criterion for picking a pattern, by the way, was that I could knit it on the size 10 straight needles which were the only ones I could find.)

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One response to “I may be the only person ever

  1. Oh, so sorry to hear about the bummer craft fair, you stuff is so cute, I’m really surprised it didn’t sell. Hang in there. -Pam

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