November 26-Dec 2

Monday through Wednesday was "relatively" stress free. I had orders to mail out and things to make (like gift baskets) and paperwork to deal with (like bills), but I got to sneak in a few afternoon naps and a few movies while knitting too.

Chriskindlmarkt for me was the best weekends so far. I think we are really getting into the swing of the holiday buying season. Not everyone has been as blessed as I have been and I really just have my loyal customers to thank for supporting me year after year. I know right now there are more and more places you can get natural soaps (even some grocery stores), so continuing to pay a little more to get a local product and support a small artisan is an amazing thing to be doing. Every purchase has a direct impact on me and my family and allows me to keep following my passion. I am so thankful.

Dad had a strong sales week at Christmas City Village too. It was still down from last year, and sometimes that is just a sophomore slump that new events tend to go through. But I have to say that the overwhelming amount of non-crafts is sending me to start researching for alternative shows for next year. I have too many customers that tell me that they come out to a show that I am at, even if they don't need soap, because I am typically at "good shows". I just don't feel this is living up to my expectations, or what my customers would want to see if they came out to see it. There is not much they can't get at their local boutique. In fact some booths are people who have stores in nearby towns who have brought things from their stores (mass produced) to sell. This is unfair not only to me, an artisan, but to the boutiques and stores of Bethlehem. The fact that the Downtown Business Association has let this happen, and seems to encourage it, is appalling to me. I can't in good conscience come back next year to an event that undermines the very people it claims to support.

The surprise for the weekend was the Handmade Hive. A new boutique style show (where the artisan sets up a display, but the staff sell the product), in Hellertown, PA was FANTASTIC! When I pulled in to drop off my inventory I kinda worried. The hall it was held in was a little off the beaten path and the peg board displays felt a little industrial, but when I came back that evening to finish setting up prior to the preview party I was overwhelmed by the quality of the crafters they had there, how nice it looked, and how amazingly well organized it was for a first time event. Sales quickly exceeded my expectations, in fact I sold the first night what I though I would sell all weekend. I am super happy that they plan on a springtime event and that I get to be a part of that too!

OK, it is time for me to get back to work and stop chatting with all of you. Hope to see you soon!

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