6.30.2012

Kutztown Folk Festival- Day 1

Wonderfully the day wasn't as hot as I expected it to be. I have survived hotter. I had a nice breeze that comes in the door by my booth location and I had a fan set up by my feet as well. I also didn't wear shoes most of the day so that helps me stay cool too. The $20 I spent on new rugs to stand on all day are so far the best money I have spent. Getting to stand barefoot not only keep me cool but keeps my feet from getting sore.

I think I had a strong day of sales. Many other people around me were not that happy. I figure it is too early to be worried or upset, there is still 8 days to go. You never know what the week is going to bring. I also do not keep records of shows on a per day basis, it stresses me out too much to compare like that, I pay attention to the number at the end of the show and that is it.

I loved the day. It brought in so many repeat customers and many, many new ones. I had one customer explain to me that it was her first time there and she was looking for "handmade soap" that was old fashioned handmade soap and looked handmade. Until finally finding me (mine was the last building she went into) she was disappointed that she hadn't found what she was looking for. She was seriously so excited that an hour or so later we ended up in the ladies room at the same time and she stopped me again to tell me how excited she was to find me. That made my day!

I never felt overwhelmed with customers but I never really felt like I wasn't busy either. I had to sneak in some food and water and never had enough time to properly sit and eat any of it. It was just a steady day with steady sales, nothing really large but every one a blessing.

So yes it was hot, yes maybe the crowds have been bigger in the past, and yes, maybe I made more last year on Saturday (who knows? I don't), but I had a wonderful day at a wonderful show and I am going to bed tired but happy.

Hope to see you all there this week!


6.29.2012

Kutztown Set Up--All DONE!!!






Kutztown Folk Festival- Setup

I got the large displays all into the van and drove up to the venue to set up. I was supposed to meet The Ornamental Lady (and her man) there so they could help me get my largest display out of the van, but my awesome booth neighbor helped me instead.

I really changed up the display this year and it is kinda tough because I am on a corner, so I am having trouble getting things set up in a way that is double sided on one side.

Needless to say, the hours I took drawing and planning the booth and display locations went right out the window the minute I started looking at the space. I guess this will be like other shows that I need to be at for a few years before I can mentally picture the space and its quirks in my mind.

The last few days have been crazy busy and I have been exhausted. So once I got home it was bed time for me and I slept straight through till the lightening storm woke me up. So much for sleeping late.

In just a few hours I go up and set up all the product and signage. Then all I have to do is come in Saturday and sell sell sell.

But I think the rain has stopped, so it is time to go load up the van and get going!

6.26.2012

Soaps gone wild:)


These awesome photos were shared by a customer. I just had to pass on my soaps in such a beautiful setting. Gives me ideas for my web site.

Back to work

So I really don't think that my schedule will calm down any until New Year's. It was another crazy week and my list of things to do just seems to be getting longer rather than shorter.

Monday and Tuesday I taught bath fizzy making to a few hundred young ladies at the Nazareth Day Camp. It was a fun way to reinforce some math and science concepts. We discussed ratios and the Ph scale and acids vs. bases. After the brief lecture we got down and dirty and made the fizzys. My friend Nadine was gracious enough to come help me. She was the official wrapper assistant. Without her to help guide the wrapping and packaging it would have taken me twice as long.

Wednesday afternoon I left for Puerto Rico to be with C. He had some family business to attend to and he hasn't been home much so I went down to lend a hand and some support. The trip was busy, and much too short, but I had to come back and get ready for Kutztown.

So while I was gone Dad held down the fort. Wednesday he vended at Fellowship Community. This is always a great place for us to go. The residents and staff are always so friendly and generous. We expected for this time to be slower on sales because we had done so well last time, but happily we were wrong and he sold way beyond our expectations for the day.

Thursday was Bethlehem Farmer's Market at Campus Square. Another fabulous day! I can't believe the growth in this market we have seen this year and it really excites us.

Friday was the Bath Farmer's Market. Here again, another fabulous day. Sales here have bounced back from last year's lull and are the best yet for us at this market. There was a freak rain storm that damaged a bunch of the tents. Luckily it was just tents and product that were damaged. Everyone was safe and sound. We made it through just fine.

Saturday was Furry Fest. The focus was on the pets so we really didn't fit in all that well but we still had a good day. Dad was happy to be able to support the place where we adopted Ted because that little guy has added so much to our family. Next year they hope to have the event at the Sanctuary itself and I think that will be a big improvement.

So that was my last week. Now I have to go catch up on getting orders sent out and inventory p

6.20.2012

Few Days Off

I am going to be away from the office for a few days. This means that any order placed today after 11 am will not ship until Monday afternoon.

Dad still will be at Fellowship Community today 6/20, Bethlehem Farmer's Market at Campus Square 6/21, Bath Farmer's Market 6/22 at Furry Fest 6/23.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and see you at the Kutztown Folk Festival starting Saturday 6/30!

6.18.2012

June 10-17, 2012

Not sure how I did it but somehow I had a super crazy week and a kinda quiet week all at the same time!

I think it is because we are caught up on inventory right now so there isn't a lot of crazy going on in the shop. So instead I filled my days with meetings and such.

I have a few samples to make, but once they are approved I will have the go ahead to make wedding favor soaps. 400 or so tiny bars. I love this and am super excited to have this opportunity. I met with the family Monday night and worked out all the details, now I am just waiting for some molds to arrive so I can start to make the samples.

Wednesday I  met with a wonderful woman who has a fledgling gift basket business. She was looking for natural products and it seems like I may fit the bill. She bought some stuff to start out with and will just let me know when she needs something. I will update her info onto the web page this week so you can contact her direct.

I have another opportunity to put a flyer for my products at a local wedding and banquet center so I hope that this brings me more special orders since they are so much fun to do.My Meeting Thursday was with a graphic designer so it can be extra special spiffy!

Thursday I also drove out to Kutztown with B so she could scope out her space and get a feel for her booth location. It takes so much stress out of a new show when you have some idea of where you will be and what is around you. .

Friday I knit with my friend Linda. We have been concentrating on hats and mittens for charity. We hope to have a few dozen of each done by September and then we can find them a home. If you know of a charity that works directly with people in need, let me know. We prefer not to donate them to anyplace that will just sell them, we would like them to go directly to someone who needs them. In the afternoon I inventoried at one of the stores I am in, and delivered an order. It was a crazy busy day!

Dad had the farm markets in Lehigh and Bath. Lehigh celebrated their 10th anniversary and it was a great day! It was our best sales day ever, the weather was great, the music was great, and they had lots of items they raffled off, including a gift basket from us. Dad was so excited he had to call me to tell me how well he did. It was excellent!  Friday in Bath was another strong showing. It really seems like this year the markets are picking up for us and we have to look into doing more next year maybe. If we don't both drop from exhaustion first after this year!

Saturday I hit the garage sales and flea markets again. I LOVE to garage sale. We picked up two chairs at the Burnside New to You Sale that The Ornamental Lady can use at the Kutztown Festival (chairs are supposed to be wooden to keep with the festival theme) and she didn't have any. I also found a few more gift baskets so I picked those up too.

Sunday dad fixed my wooden chair I use at the show and I got inventory back over to the store in Easton so that is all squared away. Only one more place to get caught up on inventory and then I can rest for a month or so. I have had to make it a monthly thing now to just take a day and do inventory everywhere. If I don't it will just keep getting away from me and I have to keep a better handle on it all.


So that is is, my quiet, yet busy week. Looking back it really wasn't all that quiet was it?

6.11.2012

Spring Indiemade Craft Market

Years ago when I started crafting every show was a new adventure. I saw new and spectacular things, it was hard for me not to spend all the money I made at an event just to bring home some of these wondrous creations. Then as time passed things changed. I got better at telling what was actually hand crafted and what was not, what was a truly innovative concept and what was not, and what was made with exceptional quality and what was not. I got more skeptical, more jaded, and my purchases at shows became smaller and smaller until something had to be super special for me to part with money over it.

Then came the indie made craft movement. Things got funky again. Lots of recycled crafts, up-cycled trash into wondrous new things. New twists on old crafts, with new hip motifs. Things were new and fresh again. You didn't need the monster 10'x10' display with the rugs and the walls and the lights, you could set up an 8' table and go for it. It harkened back to the stories I heard about crafting in 1970 when you could just about go to any park and lay out a blanket and sell that day.

Maybe I am getting more jaded again, that the envelope for new, fresh, and funky needs to be pushed farther for me to be impressed again. Or maybe the indie made scene is dying out, slowing down, kicking back a little. I don't know. I know that this weekends show lacked the pizazz for me it has had in the past. It could be me, I don't know. I used to feel that I wasn't young, cool, or funky enough for the show, now I feel as though I fit in just fine. Maybe I am getting cooler, maybe the world is warming up.

The product quality was there, but to me some of the displays lacked professionalism. Call me old school, but I think if you are going to put a sheet on a table as a cover, be sure it is big enough to cover the ugly ass boxes and containers you have under the table. It takes away the mystique when you can see that crap. It is the difference between an upscale boutique and a big box wholesale store. Do you want to be perceived as Tiffany's or Sam's Club? Or just go the no cover routine, which is a statement in itself.

So how did I do? My sales were ok. Based on show fee and show location I would be back in a heartbeat. We saw lots of repeat customers. Because of the goody bags you get a big draw right at the beginning of the day. That is a refreshing way to start a show, with a line waiting to get in. That doesn't happen too often. The last few hours (like at ALL shows( kinda dragged on a bit, but we opened and closed the show with our two biggest sales of the day, so that was a cool, full circle kind of thing.

I LOVE this show. I Love to LOVE this show.

The rest of the week, what was that all about? It was all about catching up on inventory and going to farm markets. I am super excited that my list of things to make is currently empty. I am all caught up except for some labels. It is a nice place to be and depending on sales, we might even stay here until Kutztown starts. Yay! Dad did fantastic at the farm markets again, those are really picking up for us and it is great the weather has been with us so far this year. This week we only have the markets so if you need soap that is where we will be!

Hope to see you soon!

6.04.2012

St. Lukes Community Day- Anderson Campus

Well Let me start off by saying it was a good but busy week. Having a show that ends on Monday really shortens everything and seems to cram in everything to s much shorter amount of time.

Monday was the last day of Mayfair, and may I say, I am so thankful that I could get the tent put away dry, and tear down without getting soaked to the skin!

Tuesday and Wednesday I mostly helped my best friend shop for a new van. She is a crafter like me and needs a certain sized so her display fits and needed to be sure the van could take the stress and strain of being more than a passenger vehicle. She had it narrowed down to about a half dozen possibilities and the her and her husband too it from there. Other than being insanely hot, I really had fun! I love this kind of voyeuristic shopping, it is the same reason I love going to realtor's open houses, and garage sales, you get a little peak into how someone else lives. In this case, how they treated a vehicle can tell you a lot about a person's life and lifestyle.

Thursday I began to catch up on things. Dad went to the farm market and I got lotion bars made. I also got the newsletter sent out and the pile of paperwork on my desk began to clear out. Lots of end of month things to do- sales tax, federal tax, expenditures spreadsheet, show applications, and the list goes on and on.

Friday the rain held out for dad at the Bath Farm Market. He had a great day there yet again. I got the house cleaned up and finished up in the garden getting things planted and ready for the season. I am super excited and hope to have lots of tomatoes for canning and other things as well. Already harvesting tons of peas and lettuce. I think I am turning into a rabbit.

Saturday was the St. Luke's Community day at Anderson Campus. Dad did it and had a great time. He said that the set up and dismantle was easy. It was pretty breezy and that made it hard on other people there but his displays are pretty solid so he didn't have a problem. It was a profitable day and he met lots of new customers and saw lots of familiar faces as well!

While he worked the craft booth, I scoured the garage sales of things useful to the business. This is where I get most of the baskets I use as gift baskets. I must have come home with about a dozen of them, all really high quality baskets for fifty cents or less. Some even still had the shredded paper in them, and fancy bows on them, so I will recycle that too! I found a great porcelain rubber ducky that I got just for fun;) The find for the day was a heat seal machine for only $5. I use one to seal the shrink wrap on the soap samplers and when I make gift baskets, they are ex-pen-sive so although I didn't need one right now, I couldn't pass it up either! We also found steps my ancient cat can use to get into bed now, and a cat carrier for the new fur baby, so he can travel with dad more too!

Sunday we tried to relax some, it didn't always work as well as we wanted it to. And now I am off to label those lotion bars and make some soap and fizzys. Busy day!

6.01.2012