No one feeling can describe the last 4 weeks. Launching something I have been thinking about for so long but here are some things I have learnt..
I wasnt a natural sewing at school. I lacked concentration and the schools textile teacher did not recommend I did textiles at GCSE. I knew I had some kind of creativity in me but I had no idea how to channel it. Fast forward to my 24th year and my step mum took me along to a sewing craft night at the local sewing school. That was it I was hooked. Ive spent 4 years doing little projects, making dresses, top, tracksuits. Learning to fit my garments and becoming the alteration/ mending queen for my family. I found something I loved and that gave me a sense of achievement that I had never experienced before.
I have always loved craft fairs and looking at all the amazing things people make and present. The passion crafter have for their product and the pride they take in them. I wanted that to be me. I want to be confident enough in my work to show it to people and offer it for them to take home.
I however have always lacked the confidence in myself and what I could do. I didnt want to face the rejection of people not liking my ideas or my products. So I put that idea on the back burner and carried on with my little projects.
That was until 3 months ago when I made my boyfriend some landcover cushions. the response from friends and family as well as strangers to my little project was amazing and I found the confidence to start crafts with Lauren.
I went on a bit of a making spree. Creating cushions, Dog Bowties, Keyrings and other items that I thought would be marketable. I used the no waste mentality installed in me by my grandmother to use ever scrap of fabric. Making things I was proud of. I restocked my Etsy shop that had been a lockdown pipe dream and booked my first fair. I was going to make this happen!
So thats the background and that was a month ago. I did my first show and it was good. I made sales, met some lovely people and enjoyed the atmosphere. However I have also learnt a lot. The fair was the hottest day of the year and it was inside so that was a bit of a hurdle to get over.
Lesson 1: think about your stall before you get there. I didnt and I panicked when I got to the event. Practice how you will set up before you go
lesson 2: Have some friendly faces come along. Again I didnt have nay friends or family come as I didnt want to embarrass myself. I regret this now. I wish I had them there and they wish they had been there.
Lesson 3: Card is king not cash and you need a card machine. I took one and it was the best thing I did because without it my sales would have suffered.
Lesson 4: Set your expectation realistically. You arent going to sell out and that is okay! I set my expectations too high and was disappointed and it wasnt until my boyfriend put it in perspective for me that I realised what an achievement making any sales at all was.
lesson 5: not everyone has the same taste and that is okay. Not everyone is going to like a dog bow tie and no matter how cute you think your Labrador looks in one other people are going to be disgusted. Again that is okay and a part of life and not to be taken personally. Maybe take photo or model aids for items that arent easily identifiable.
Lesson 6: Take your hype man! My boyfriend is my rock and my hype man he sat beside me and squeezed my hand when I needed it. He made me go and he kept reminding me I was okay. He was incredibly reassuring and that got me through my anxiety about the day. So take your hype person with you to the event. Keep them close and thank them regularly.
Lesson 7: Take something to do. Craft fairs arent always go.. go.. go so you need to fill the time and nothing makes time drag like just sitting there. So take some crochet or something crafty with you to keep those fingers occupied and looking engaged. Nothing worse than a bored stall holder.
Lesson 8: Take plenty of snacks and drinks. Its a long day and you need hydration and a sugar fix.
So that is what I have learnt and now I am ready to go again and learn some more.
In conclusion a craft business does not happen over night and it is hard work. Setting your expectations is key to success and having the love and support of those around you is as always the most important thing.
Thank you and please visit my shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyMillennials
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