Mayfair Festival of the Arts Day 5

And finally there was some sun!

The day itself was a little slower than I had hoped it would be after four days of rain, but the holiday is usually reserved for events with the family at home, not necessarily for days out in a park at a festival. For me, overall, sales were down 40%. I can attribute much of that to the weather. Soap just doesn't sell well in the wet and humidity.

I know I will be back next year as long as they keep the same pricing structure for booth rental as they had this year. Sales were down, but it was still worth it enough for me to come back again at least one more time. I loved my spot, it was shady in the sun, relatively dry, and in a well traveled location. In nice weather I can expand my display, I am not squished in with my neighbors, and the set up and dismantle was easy.

But I know it wasn't worth it for some others. There was some vandalism during the night so some people came in Monday to missing items and tents slashed with what probably was a box knife. It is sad that people would do that to independent artisans that own their own businesses. I hope there is a special hell for people who would do this to someone who works hard with their own hands and creativity, to give birth to items that are so uniquely personal that buying one is like taking home a little piece of someone else. For many this was just the last insult added to the injury of four rainy days with slow sales and uncomfortable conditions. It was the last straw for at least a few people I know who won't be returning next year.

But I am glad that it is over this year. I hope that the wet show is not a harbinger of what to expect this season. I am looking for a few new events to add to the schedule to make up for lost sales, but those are pretty easy to find.

Today I unpack, wash everything I can, and dry everything else out. No rest for the weary this week...


Mayfair Festival of the Arts Day 4

Enough with the rain already! Storms came through the area again. Wet feet and muddy booth again.. I am so tired of the rain!

But I have to admit, even with all that, sales have been OK. I think I can eek out the same as or close to last year if today's weather treats us good. I take this as a good sign. It is a sign that the spot at the Artist Esplanade may be worth it, and that the show is drawing a demographic that is not only interested in the arts, but has some expendable currency to spend as well. I can only imagine what a full five days of nice weather may have brought us. I surely want to come back next year and see if I am right.

I have totally enjoyed the music that the stage nearest to us has been paying, even the pop music night was pretty good, not too loud. The Broadway night was good, last night was nice too- a lot of songs I knew the lyrics too even! I think my tent has been dryer than many, so that is a blessing. The potty is close and has stayed clean too. Other than wet feet what feels like all the time, I can easily look on the bright side.

So it is time for me to go pack some inventory, get some paperwork out of the way, and do some gardening (if it isn't too muddy) before I get going. Hope to see you there!


Mayfair Festival of the Arts Day 3

And the rain continued...it wasn't as much rain as it was the threat of rain, wind, and hail. The weather service kept threatening heavy, scary storms to come through, and when it finally made it to us, the storm had broken up and the worst parts went to either side of us.

Besides the fact that attendance felt like it was at nothing at certain parts of the day, I eeked out what I thought was a good day of sales (considering everything). I met quite a few new customers that I really had time to chat with and start to get to know. Hopefully they liked everything they bought and I will see them again.

I should have knitted more but the humidity made the yarn and needles sticky, hard to deal with.

Hopefully this storm this morning is it for the day.. four in a row of rain will just be painful.


Mayfair Festival of the Arts Day 2

I am just going to preface this with...OMG I am sooo tired! I think the rain takes it out of me. I just sit with wet feet all day and the bone chill I come home with makes me so sore the next day.

So the day started out slow. The cool thing was that we were not supposed to drive in after 9 am, but with all the rain the night before we were happy to be able to drive right to the spot to unload a few things when we arrived. I also then parked close to my side of the park, a little off of Ott Street. It made the walk to the car 100% shorter, and 1000% cleaner at the end of the night. Look mom, no muddy feet!

Sales in the afternoon were almost unbearably slow. I found myself futzing around, not even knitting. Just snacking, visiting with my neighbors, really anything but getting work done. Then the rain came. I was watching this miniscule blip com towards Allentown on the radar. It was a seriously tiny, tiny blip. It had a little orange and red in it, but it was so small I expected it to pass through quickly. I guess the lack of wind did not allow that to happen. Instead, this blip of a storm hovered over Mayfair for an hour or so. It rained hard, but I could see the sun shining, and the water was coming pretty much straight down the whole time. I thought it might be the end of the show, that we wouldn't see another soul the rest of the day.

But people came out. I actually sold product to a member of the Boys Like Girls band. He was a nice young man, but I don't know how he lives with a group of girls following him around the whole time. They were all obviously too young for him. But he tolerated them without being mean, and I would actually say he was charming given the situation, but I could tell he would just like nothing more then to walk around for a bit without an entourage. So I payed attention and caught his first name, then after he was gone had to Google the bands playing this night so I could figure out which band and who he was. I felt really, really old not to know this of the top of my head. I hope he likes his soap:)

The rest of the night things picked up some and I was happy with the day's sales given the weather and the afternoon attendance. I am still not sold on my space location. Not sure if it really does get more traffic, although that may change today, I have heard rumors that the mud may close a few entrances, but who knows if that will really happen or not.

Well, it is Saturday and this show should really pick up toady. Let's hope for a warm, sunny, dry day. I hope to see you all!


Mayfair Festival of the Arts, Day 1

Wow, what a rain storm. Just as the show was bout to open, the first scary rain for the show began. The wind wasn't as bad as they had warned us about but the rain was crazy. By the end of it, the water was more than ankle deep in my booth, and many other people were completely flooded out for the night. At least my sales area was relatively dry and the water soon subsided in my standing area without too much mud in its wake.

Once the rain stopped I went out and checked on some other people, many just had too much water to be able to open up right away, this meant some left, and some just wandered about until they could open for business. Once I got open myself, I was pretty surprised with sales. I had more than I expected so I hope this trend continues for the rest of the show. So far I like my spot, I can hear the music from one of the main stages, and I really do think I got more traffic than I would have on the other end of the park.

One of the only things I don't like is how far the walk to the car from the designated parking is. I know I could park on the street closer, but I think they may need to designate an area closer to Ott Street for the people in my area. For me it wasn't the walk that was so bad, it was the fact that the area to come in through is absolutely muddy beyond belief. Couple this with the fact that today we have to have our cars out by 9 am, and the walk through the mud with inventory is not a happy thought right now.

So except for the rain, I am really happy with the changes I have seen to the festival. I love my new spot overall, and I will just have to see what comes the next few days.

Hope to see you there!


Landmark Gardens and Nursery

Since I started this blog in 2005 I have posted my thoughts and feelings about EVERY event I have done. Good and bad, small and big. It is only as technology advances that all show reviews have become extremely public to people outside of the industry. With dozens of events to choose from each weekend, we need to arm ourselves with all the information that we can gather. I think professional craftspeople know that not every event is for them. Although I thought I posted a fair review of a small event that has loads of potential, but may not be for the professional crafts person as of yet.Many of us will not do "mixed vendor" shows (artisians/direct sales/antiques) or shows sety up on dirt, gravel, or in a field. There are always different ways of interpreting things, but all I was saying was that for a business that sells 170 days a year out at events, this one was not one we will go back to, but we think could be good for others.

I feel that it is only fair that the email I received from them be posted in their defense.

Hi Hedge, I want to thank you for trying out our Market Days. As you know, with any new adventure, it will take time, money and persistence to make it become what we envision. This morning I read your soap box article and became a bit upset. Although sales may not have been what you had expected, we did have a steady flow of traffic of which I was proud of. I agree that we need to bring in more crafters. (Again, a work in progress). Had you set up on Sunday, you would have maybe enjoyed the additional crafters that participated. I guess the reason I am sad about your post is because I did everything I could do to make the day successful. I advertised your business in our newsletters and was very excited to have you participate. Your business is exactly the type of business we want to promote at our Market Days. Excellent products, very informative and I even purchased some things for myself. Although I appreciate that you recognize the potential, your article hurts us as a small business trying to grow into something wonderful. You may have just scared away potential vendors and customers, although I don't think that was your intention. As for the direct sales vendors (your think avon comment), many of these woman are raising money for an additional cause in there life. Whether it be they are a single mom trying to make extra income, or they have an autistic child and cannot work a 9-5 job. At first, I wanted to shy away from these type of vendors, but my heart told me that many of them are working just as hard to make a dollar. I am happy when they tell me they had a good day. Again, I do want to thank you for being there on Saturday. I was proud to have you there as a vendor and wished you had done extremely well. I am always open to feedback (both positive and negative), I'm just wishing I didn't have to read it on a public forum. All my best- Colleen

In no way was I trying to "scare away" vendors. Just tell of my experience, and my thoughts. And again, this was not anything new, there are hundreds of reviews since 2005. I was not singling anyone out, being mean, or trying to ruin anyone's day.

May 14-20, 2012

This week was quite a roller coaster. On Sunday C left for an overseas business trip, it is the farthest he has ever been away and one of the longer trips too. We have been apart longer, but we were with our respective families so there was much less stress and worry attached to the trip. So for most of the week sleep was pretty elusive and I felt rather on edge. I tried to channel this energy into getting things done around the house and around the workshop. I think it pretty much worked.

Monday we took the day to recuperate and catch up. Lots of paperwork, bills, banking, and miscellaneous things to take care of. We made a batch of the Himalayan Sea Salt Soap because sales of it over the weekend were overwhelming and we started running out! Tuesday and Wednesday we made Amyris Soap and Ginger White Tea Soap.

Thursday was the Bethlehem Farmer's Market at Campus Square and it was another fantastic week of sales. The weather was terrific as well. Friday was the opening day of the Bath Farmer's Market in Keystone Park and that was way, way better than we had hoped for it to be. Dad was happy to be back at his favorite farm market, with his feet in the grass.

And we are so glad that those days went well, because the weekend shows did not. I was at Philadelphia On Parade at the Mann Center in Fairmount Park. I was the only true crafts person there. There were a few fair trade stands and then the rest were junk. I cannot convey my disappointment that an arts center would allow the sale of knock off handbags and bang-snaps (those little fireworks kids throw on the ground that make noise). I met some lovely people, but sales were agonizingly slow and by the end of the day I was happy to have made back my booth fee, gas, tolls, and be able to bring B (who came with me for help) out to dinner at a local diner.

Dad had a similar experience at the Landmark Nursery and Garden. Now this event has potential to turn into something great, but right now, it just wasn't for us. Most of the tables were flea market or direct sell (think Avon) stands. He was set up on a dusty, gravel area, and sales were so slow that we decided that he wouldn't go back on Sunday. It was also a two day event, but you had to break down after the first day so there was no incentive to just keep it all up and go back the next day. If this business keeps at this, keeps advertising, keeps getting vendors, and tries to get actual crafters, I think this could be a good thing. It is just too early in it's infancy for us to keep going back for more weekends.

So Sunday we both had off. We relaxed during the morning and hit a flea market ourselves to go junk shopping. We didn't find anything good. Once home, I made lip balms, some pink lemonade and a special order I had to get done. We got the garden planted. I don't have room for anything more until after the garlic comes out in a month or so.

Well no more typing for me, I have to go make some soap, get those lip balms labeled, and catch up on some bills. Have a great week, hope to see you at Mayfair!


May 6-13, 2012

This has been a wonderful week all around!

Thursday 5/10 was the start of the Bethlehem Farmer's Market at Campus Square. Turn out was tremendous and dad had a great day of sales and catching up with friends.

Saturday and Sunday 5/12 and 5/13 was the 47th Annual Fine Art and Craft show in Downtown Bethlehem. The weather couldn't have been better! It was amazing to have a year where there was barely any wind and no rain, even overnight! Typically I am worried stiff about keeping the tent tied down while fighting to keep a smile on my face while helping customers. The great weather and high attendance was certainly reflected in my sales. It was my best show there ever, by a long shot! The quality of artisans was excellent, I loved my booth location, and even though I had music next to me, it was acoustic and mellow so it didn't bother me at all!

Last minute show addition: May 19 Philadelphia on Parade, Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. Philadelphia, PA 11am-6pm. I think this is going to be an excellent event that should draw a crowd from not only Philly but from the adjoining suburbs so I am super excited to meet lots of new people at this event. Dad will still be at Landmark Gardens & Nursery Market Days, 902 Mud Lane, Northampton, PA 9am-2pm both Saturday and Sunday so that show isn't changed at all.

So today we hit the ground running... time to go make soap, gotta run!


Quick Notes...5/11/12

Yesterday's Farm Market kick off went exceedingly well! The weather held out, the crowd was great, sales were strong. It was a good way to kick off the season!

Going to Burpee Gardens in Doylestown today. They have guided garden tours with over 3000 species of plants. Hoping to get some inspiration for our yard, as well as some herb and tomato plants for the garden.

Tomorrow and Sunday: 47th Downtown Bethlehem Fine Art & Craft Exhibition, Main Street, Bethlehem PA Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm My booth will be located near the Accessories Boutique. This is on the same side as the Hotel Bethlehem, across the street from Johnny's Bagels.

This is the most unlikeliest conversation about me/my products I have ever read. But it is awesome:) Woot Woot!


Farm Market at Campus Square

Opening day at the Bethlehem Farm Market at Campus Square. Come visit the longest running farm market in the city. See what started it all! May 10 Farm Market at Lehigh University Campus Square (New and Market Streets), Bethlehem PA, 11am-3pm


April 23-May 6, 2012

It has been a great few weeks, busy and fun, and inspiring all at the same time.

April 25th I went to the big book sale in Bethlehem with my best friend. I picked up great books on running, macrame, bobbin lace, and cooking. Each year I add to my awesome collection of vintage fiber related books because of this stellar sale. The 26 was the Craft Night Out put on by the IndieMade Craft Market. I was hoping turn out would have been a little bigger, but I had so much fun that by the end of the night I didn't care. I got top meet some great customers face to face (they often only see Dad at farm markets) and got to get into wonderfully deep conversations about ingredients, labeling law, and a host of other subjects.

Then I got to go visit my mom. This is always such a great time for me. This year we fit in a visit to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and explored Massachusetts and Vermont for a few days. We went to a candy manufacturer, a yarn shop (of course), one of the most awesome fabric store I have ever seen, and a hots of other places that we stopped at just because they looked interesting. The food was great- we had franks and beans one night for dinner at the local diner! She made me a few more skirts for the Kutztown Folk Festival, new table covers, and a great sun dress. It is always just such a fun, laid back time together. Now I have tons of photos of plants, flowers, birds, and butterflies to try and base new soap color combos off of in the future.

When I got back it was time to pack up and get ready for show season to begin. Dad had the Strawberry Festival at Peddler's Village both the 5th and 6th. He did really well. Sales were up and the the weather held out to give us the first rather dry Spring show in years. There were a few booth placement missteps- we were close to another Soapmaker, and a few potters were right next to each other, but besides that the show was set up and run like a well oiled machine. I loved the fact that they brought the check-in/out table to us so there was no running through the village trying to get paperwork in.

Sunday I had the Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Show. We were back in front of Jenks School (in the fall my booth was moved... I applied late... it was my bad) and my customers had no problems finding us. The day's sales were not quite as solid as last year, but not too far off either. I was very happy and felt very tired at the end of the day. Always a great sign when you are too busy to eat!

So now I have a few days to get ready for next weekend. Lots of administrative to deal with and I need to pack inventory and forgotten items (can you believe I forgot to bring business cards??). Right now I am getting over an eye doctor's appointment. They dilated my pupils so everything is bright and weird looking. Typing this has taken me longer than expected.

Hope to see you all soon and have a great week!