Sunday, April 28, 2013

My First Vending Experience

Well hello there!  I bet you thought I'd disappeared forever, eh?  Nope, not me.  I've just been SO frantic busy preparing for my first fiber festival.  Powhatan's Festival of Fiber was a great success!  This was it's induction year, first time, and I must say, all of my fears of no one showing up or purchasing, were smashed to pieces!  Yes, that's a GREAT thing!
We live about an hour and a half away from the venue, and the plan was, to leave by 6:30 (latest) and my hope was, to be out around 6:15.  Well, we left around 6:35, and had to make 2 stops after just starting out - mostly because I was following hubby while he drove the pickup truck, and stuff was flapping and flying in the back.  He stopped to move a couple of the not-so-secure things into the front of the truck, and off we went. 
We were almost there, and I called hubby on the celly telly and told him I needed a pit stop.  Although we left later than I'd hoped, and made 3 unexpected stops along the way, we still arrived in ample time to set up and get things ready.
My nerves were all over the place, and I kept talking to myself all the way there, and tried not to freak out too much.....
We immediately set up the tent, tables, and racks to hang things from.  We ran into a couple of snags, but we worked them out, and we made note of what works, and what needs to be tweaked - in case we decide to do this again.
At first, I found myself going in circles, literally, as I'd be doing something, he'd ask me something, I'd look for something, and try to go back to doing what I was doing, standing in place, going in circles.  I actually got dizzy at one point.
Setup was allowed until 9:30, then all vehicles had to be off the field, leaving another 30 minutes to tweak and finish setting up the booth.
We did it!  We got it all set up. 





The weather was perfect.  It was sunny most of the day, it got to about 72 degrees, there was a slight breeze that came up now and then.  In the afternoon, some clouds moved in which cut the sun, and that was okay because since we had no sides on the tent, the sun was beating in which caused some condensation on the fiber that was in plastic bags.  We had to start scooting everything around, in order to keep it out of the sun.  

 We did a really brisk business too.  We haven't counted up the sales yet, but I tell ya, it wasn't half bad.  I am very happy with the results.  We learned a lot, and if we decide to continue doing this, we have some tweaking to do, and a lot of decisions to make as to what direction we want to go in.

For now, I need to get everything out (when we were done, we just dumped everything instead of sorting through and being neat about it), check my inventory (which is something else I need to figure out - a better inventory system) and spend a LOT of time updating my website and trying to get some of the things I didn't sell at the show, sold online.

That's it from me for now, but I'll be back more regularly.
Thanks for checking in and have yourself a wonderful day.
Always,
Martha



Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's New?

Well, let me tell ya.  I've been one busy girl.  I decided to do jump in with both feet.  Yeah, well, that's me.
I applied to, and was accepted by, the Powhatan Festival of Fiber.  You can find out all about it here.  Now, I'm freaking out.
I've been dyeing fiber - and having nervous breakdowns.
I've been blending batts on my little blending board.  Love what comes out, but OMG, it takes me forever to do 3 batts that come out to 3-4 ounces all together.  S.L.O.W. going.

I ordered 45 pounds of fiber from Ashland Bay.  Wholesale.  $800 worth.  Holy cow!  Some is ecru, ready to be dyed.  Some is commercially dyed.  I've been blending some of the commercially dyed, and will sell some. 

There is fiber all over the house.  Upstairs, downstairs.  Hubby decided he didn't like everything sitting just inside the front door.  When you walked in, there is my wheel, bags of fiber, blending board, carrying case for supplies for wheel if I go byebye with it.  He found a place in the "office" for some of it.  Sorry honey.  I don't mean to make a mess.  It's just really hard to have stuff downstairs. 

Today I did some computer stuff, research (supplies).  Hubby set up the tent (didn't tell me till it was done) outside to test it out.  I went downstairs and he surprised me.  We decided to give it a try.  I have almost everything I need to have a decent tent.  Hey, it's 10' x 10'.  I need more product, and tablecloths.  I have to cut the bottom off my banner because I have a new website (website), and the old one is on the banner.  That's okay though.  The banner could be shorter.  So it's all good.  Here is a sneak peak of the tent.
The banner will hang in the center back.  I do wish it was a white tent, but the olive drab tan is all they had.  I needed a tent.  So there it is. 
There are 2 racks on the left that I picked up several years ago at A.C. Moore craft store.  LOVE them.  The one on the right is one I found at a junk place up the road - the place is packed SO tightly you can hardly move around.  But it's perfect to hang my few hand-made items on. 
Yesterday, I visited my friend Jan, who is moving back to New York where she's from. She is here for a couple of weeks, and is cleaning out her house. She had these awesome baskets in her attic that have never been used.  They are really beautiful baskets.  I'm going to put some plain fabric in them to line them, and use them to put fibers in.  I think they'll look awesome.  Here's a better photo.

The baskets have leather handles.  Classy! 




Here is another photo

I think if you click on the photo it might enlarge....

Here is a photo of the other side and baskets which are different.

Left side of tent.  The basket on the left is sitting at an angle inside another basket.  The one on the right is another really nice basket.


See that hanging shelf in the back corner?  We're moving it from there but it's plastic and it folds up for easy transport.  I had that already too. 



It's kinda like I've been preparing for this for years.  It's a dream I've had for a long time.  To become an artist, and be able to sell my art at fairs.  I had NO idea it would be fiber arts.  I knew my dream would come true though.

To be honest, I'm scared to death that no one will buy anything, and that if they do, something will be wrong with it.  I'm just so unsure.  But ya know, if I don't try, I'll never know, right? 

I have a LOT to do.  Photographing.  Labeling.  Bagging and tagging.  Making more yarn.  Making more batts.  Buying tablecloths.  Fixing my banner.  Finishing more product that is not fiber, but fiber related. 

Did I mention, the festival is on April 27th?  2013.  Yeah, that's exactly 23 days from now.  That gives me 22 days to prepare.  Holy cow!  What have I gotten myself into????? 

I spent Monday and Tuesday dyeing fiber, and ended up with such a sore back, I could hardly move.  I'm better today.  Thank goodness for massage machines, and Arnica. 

As I said, LOTS more to do.  Wish me luck.
If you're in Virginia on April 27th, come on out and see us. 

Take care,
Martha