Thursday, June 14, 2012

Craft Fair Madness

Everyone has a dream in life.  Most include lots of money, living like you're in a rap video, or having a big love story moment.  Not me, though.  Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to be rapping on a boat, while half naked men shake their asses at the cameras.  AND my love story moment came true...(sorry, I promise this won't be an annoying mushy lovey dovey post).  BUT my other lifelong dreams have primarily revolved around crafting.  And slowly but surely...some of them are starting to come true.

Dream one: have a kickass craft room.

People, my craft room is kick ass.  I plan to get some pretty great pictures of it in the coming weeks as it continues to grow and become more kick ass by the minute.  Plus thanks to Etsy, I can now have a whole "about me" section in my shop including pictures of my "studio" or in my case, my kick ass craft room.  Here's a picture from a few months ago...


This picture really doesn't do it justice (and I have even more awesome stuff and a bigger shelf in there now - more posts on that to follow) BUT it does show that I indeed have a craft room with shelves full of paint, yarn, and glue.  Let the jealousy begin.

Dream two (and really the biggest):  make a living off of crafting

Nooooot quite there yet...but my Etsy shop has certainly had it's fair share of profit that's at least helped me to pay bills, etc.  I've also been able to purchase a drill press to add to my productivity.  And I used a bit of my profits to get a new cruiser.


No, my Etsy profits have not been good enough to me to allow me to get a new motorcycle (that's Chris').  Mine is the orange one.  And it's great.  It's a one speed though, and I'm not in the best shape of my life...so I'm just riding it around my neighborhood now until I get up the courage/strength/nerve to ride it down to my community garden plot.

Moral of the story - dream two is a work in progress.

Dream three: have my own booth at a craft fair

Yes, this just got that lame that we are talking about a lifelong dream of having a booth...at a craft fair.  Don't judge me sitting behind your little computer screens - everyone has a dream, no need to poo poo on mine :)  Anyway, I've always been a little intimidated by the idea of my own craft fair booth.  First - I never felt like my products would sell (and they may not) but the success of my Etsy shop has helped me get over that (almost at 100 sales ya'll).  Second, there seemed like a lot of upfront expenses for the thing.  Turns out there really isn't.  I'm using stuff around the house for my display.  I already have most of the supplies to make a good amount of product (I'm sure the little old man in Iowa that cuts my little discs for my birthday boards thinks I'm crazy when I order them 2,000 at a time).

I've already applied for one fair - and my mom seems to think I'll get a spot and she knows things about this craft fair.  However, the application required me to send in a picture of my display.  And so began the last 2 days of craft fair mania in our household.

Step One - google the crap out of "craft fair booth display ideas."  That part was pretty much already done, but I did go back and take a few notes.
Step Two - take over my half of garage and lay out a faux display for the picture.  Done and done.  I'm sure Chris loves coming home to a small craft fair display in half of the garage.  At this point...nothing about what I do in my free time seems to surprise him much.

Well, it needs some work still, but here's what I came up with:


So I started by laying out a couple of our largest (and lightest weight I could find) folding tables.  Then I started looking for something to cover them with.  Keep in mind, I didn't want to spend ANY money on anything becuase I may still have to go buy a tent if I can't find one to borrow (it's an outdoor craft fair, in Kansas, in July).  Luckily we had a few light tan sheets that seemed to work ok together.  Then I had a large piece of burlap that I could lay over the top.  I didn't want to cut the burlap because technically it's wedding burlap.  But I was able to just lay it over both tables, no cutting required.  That large blue frame on the right was a garage sale find - $10, hideous print and frame.  Just spray painted the frame and chalkboard paint on the print.  I'll explain how the birthday boards work, etc on it once the chalkboard paint dries.

Chris made that awesome peg board display.  We already had the peg board, so we just had to buy some 1x2s to build a frame, and then used a piano hinge to secure the two pieces together.  I plan to hang lots of birthday boards from the peg board for display.  I got the idea from Sugar Bee Crafts - available here: http://www.sugarbeecrafts.com/2011/09/peg-board-display-case.html.  I still may paint the peg board so it fits in with everything else a little better.

Now here are some close ups...


I got that awesome frame at a garage sale for $.50.  It was really awful looking when I bought it - bad gold colored frame and the picture inside the frame was strange.  But I just spray painted the frame and then painted chalkboard paint over the picture (it was a print, not an original painting..I don't feel bad).  I'll be able to write all sorts of good stuff about my booth once the chalkboard paint dries.  I put it up on an antique kid's chair we had (why do we have that?  becuase I'm crazy).  Everything I googled said to add height to your table.  Alright, I can do that.


I plan to sell the birthday boards with the discs sold individually, so the card catalog drawers will hold all of my discs (arranged by color).  I have some brown paper lunch sacks people can put the discs into - I also have a ton of little signs framed on my table with info about pricing and my Etsy shop.  Oh, and the bunting on the front of the tables is made with ribbon, scrapbook paper, and these super sticky dots I used when compiling my wedding invitations (a ton leftover!).



I tried to use more antiques/baskets/random stuff from around our house to add more interest.  Oh and the random empty minature easel will hold business cards.  I've ordered some free off vistaprint (just have to pay shipping) that should come in the next couple of weeks.

My application has been submitted, so assuming I can participate come see me on July 4th at the Prairie Village Villagefest!  I'll be the one dorkily excited over my first craft fair booth.  I'm also going to apply for the Basehor Craft Fair happening this November - but they jury their applications so competition may be tough!

I still have a few things I need to do to prep, but I've already printed my sales tax certificate, requested my "square" credit card reader that attaches to my iphone so I can take credit cards, and started reading up on the best ways to collect sales tax.  Anything I'm missing???

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