I was Jillian’s second today, Uhura to her Kirk. We tripped over to the west side of the state to pick up a loom she had loaned to a friend and drop it off to another friend. As expected, we had lots to talk about.
Earlier this week I received the e-mail that let me know I’m officially accepted as a vendor at Fiber Expo 2012. There’s lots to do between now and then. Jillian told me I needed a plan…here’s the beginnings of it:
This week, I will be
- ordering a sign with my logo on it
- placing an order for fiber and yarn (including any new base fibers needed)
By the end of 2011, I will have
- finished my financial statements for my accountant
- a spreadsheet that tells me what I sold at each of the fiber shows I did in 2011
- a list of colors that will always appear in my shop/at shoes
- an idea of limited edition and one-of-a-kind colors
By the end of January 2012, I will have
- all the fiber and yarn up on Etsy
- a booth plan
- table coverings
- display materials
- pattern support for the yarn (hat, mittens, shawl)
We also laughed a lot and I got some knitting done. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be driving around gray, wintery Michigan. I finished my holiday shopping (stocking stuffers) and even managed to pick up a couple of things for myself.
Jillian always knows when I need a kick in the pants and she never kicks me when she knows I can’t take it. She tells me things that I sometimes don’t want to hear, but really need to. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the very best kind of friend to have.
I’ve applied and been accepted to Winter Wine & Wool and Northern Michigan. I will be applying before the end of the year to every place else. Castle Farms is already wait listing vendors so I’ll be hoping someone has to back out of their commitment for that one.
It’s an ambitious list. I’m hopeful that if I commit early, I’ll gain momentum. Next up, signage.
I’ve done this show since its beginning. My friend Kate Kehoe organizes it and the table fee is basically a fund raiser for the senior center where the show is held. She does one in the fall and one in the spring. Every show I wait and wait to see if I want to spend the table fee to get myself in. Every time I miss the deadline and Kate drops me an e-mail, “Are you interested? You’ve got a table if you want one!” So I send in my table fee. My proceeds from the spring show barely covered the table fee and gas to get over there (it’s about 40 minutes from my house).
With a sense of impending doom this morning, I got the girls up, we packed the car, and drove over there. We were an hour early – for some reason I thought it started at 10! We drank some bad hot chocolate and ate some bad donuts and muffins to kill a little time before we could set up. I was annoyed and irritated at every little thing and I think it was because we had done all this work and I wasn’t expecting anything from the show. I always say, “even if it’s a bad show, I get to spin for a whole day, uninterrupted and that’s good enough”. But if I’m honest with myself, it’s not enough. The time spent to dye and package all my wares, hauling it all over and setting up a booth in addition to smiling and being pleasant for an entire day is kind of a lot of work. Pleasant isn’t really my nature and I’m quite solitary so making small talk (with other vendors as well as customers) is hard for me.
Turns out, it was worth it. I took Erica’s advice and made sure to greet everyone and actually talk to them. I looked for something to compliment (great sweaters, cool boots, interesting necklace), asked if they were knitters and/or spinners, told them they couldn’t just look – they had to touch, etc. It was fun – if I can make a sort of game out of it I enjoy it a lot more. Now, while my fellow vendors were my best customers, I did manage to sell a couple of skeins of handspun and that ALWAYS makes me happy. I managed to make back the booth fee, buy a tank of gas, and have $$ left over!
I do like doing this show. It’s in a very supportive neighborhood, my sister always brings me a latte, and the other vendors are amazing. However, this is one of the shows that I have to think about really hard for 2012. Is it really worth my time and effort if I’m aiming to do larger shows? I love supporting Kate and the seniors, but how valuable is it for me?