Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Learning Lessons From the Holiday Boutique

Hello Dear Blog Readers! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday weekend, if you are from the US, and I hope you enjoyed a great weekend for those of you reading from overseas. It was quite a busy holiday weekend for me, and mostly enjoyable.

I did have the holiday boutique last Saturday and I'm going to share a little bit about that today with pictures of my display area - it was a great location I had, in a beautiful home...

Here is my display with some holiday trimmings - my dear boyfriend helped me get set-up the night before. He thought the top of my shelving unit looked little bare since I had left my party hat at home by accident. He decided we would have to buy some holiday trimmings to spruce up my display and we found a bow and the sprays of nature to go with them...

My dear boyfriend was kind enough to buy these holiday trimmings - he is thoughtful!

I was lucky enough to have a spot right by the front door, right by a fabulous vintage chest of drawers!! I could not have asked for a better setting for my display, though in the end, I'm not sure it was a good idea -  more about that in a minute...

 A fabulous vintage chest of drawers was the backdrop for my display of goods...

The vintage chest of drawers provided great places to hang my holiday stockings and the hostess brought out a board to lay out more of my goods. One side had my smaller art books for exhibit and the other side showed my original art notebooks, along with some art note cards and handmade envelopes.

As you can see, it is a truly fabulous back drop to have, but as the day wore on, I began to think that my display actually BLENDED more with the settings, rather than standing out. When I first created my little display, it was for a small space and outdoors. I think the display works well in such a setting, but I realized that it blended and disappeared in this setting of vintage goods...

LESSON LEARNED:
I will need to create a new display for my book arts that ENHANCES the books and mail art being sold

Collage cover notebooks and mail art note cards with hand made envelopes from old book pages

People did get interested about my mail art note cards with hand made envelopes made from pages of a craft book on making wreaths, but I did not get any sales. I did however, get some interest from a fellow wanting some special cards and envelopes for an annual family event that will take place next year. He was especially interested after looking through one of my art journals that I brought to display...


But I did notice that the small table I brought to exhibit some of my art books for viewing, was a bit short for him and he had to kneel to be able to look through my art book more closely:

 A sweet but short table for display - maybe too short! =-\

Despite having to kneel to view my work, he did express a lot of enthusiasm for my work! I hope to hear from him soon and work on what promises to be a fun project

LESSON LEARNED:
Make sure my display is easy for all people to access and view my work

As I mentioned in previous posts, I worked on making some new books using the stab stitch method I recently learned. I did not get very many books made but I did have two sizes in large and small since I was told that the neighborhood children often come by to buy gifts for their mothers, which meant some small budgets. The new books fit nicely in the drawer of the table I used for my display:

New stab stitch books in large and small sizes for large and small budgets

But once again, I think these books got a little lost in the display and you couldn't really see the pretty covers of them stacked in this little drawer.

LESSON LEARNED: 
Be sure all items are displayed to show them off to their best advantage

I planned on completing a batch of small handmade books to sell before setting up my space, but then I thought it might be better to complete them on site as an "artist demonstration", which prompted an idea to pack a portable art kit to start more covers for my small notebooks. I'm glad I did because it not only provided something for me to do through the day, but it actually DID spark interest from my fellow vendors, one of whom was knitting during the day, demonstrating how she makes the neck warmers she was selling. I was not alone in getting interest in my work and the process of making it!

I began with 5 finished booklets and ended with 7 more booklets, as well as 6 new covers started!

LESSON LEARNED:
Work on your craft while at the craft fair - it provides a great show and an opportunity to educate and inform people of the skill and detail that goes into your product

***   ***   ***

I am sorry to report that I did not make a single sale, though some of the vendors did express some interest in buying the collage cover notebooks and my small handmade notebooks and there is a possible order on the horizon. In the meantime, I have listed some of the newer collage cover notebooks for sale in my Etsy shop and I will be sure to start listing the smaller booklets this week. 

I have to admit, I am not really very good at this Black Friday - Cyber Monday thing as evidenced by this comment left at a blog last year. The concept of "cashing in on the holidays" really does not sit well with me, but the objectives for participating in the holiday boutique was not just to make sales and get interest in my work and shop...

The hostess of the event, whom I met at the Studio City event, spoke to me of a creative art group that she hosts bi-monthly, and she also mentioned getting me in touch with some local girl scout troops so I can continue teaching book binding workshops. The hostess, named Lupe, enthusiastically shared much of her creative work with me (which I LOVED!), as well as the work she creates in her group. One of the pieces on display in her kitchen was published in the book "Mixed Media Doll Houses"! Lupe is also a Life Coach and you can see her pictured on the left at her website. I am excited to join the creative group since it is more about mixed media and collage, and Lupe informed me that it is a collaborative group, which is something that I have been thinking about and wanting more of...I just wasn't sure how it would take shape, but it appears to be taking shape now!

I might be participating in another craft boutique event this Saturday, but I am still waiting to hear if there is room, not to mention finding out what the fee to participate will cost me. I certainly have some objectives in mind if I do participate and I will share that here when I receive the final word...though I have not made any money to speak of at the past two events, I do believe they have yielded some benefits and stepping stones to better opportunities in the future and that is something!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading about my adventures as a vendor - I'll post pictures of the new stab stitch books soon, so stay tuned!

2 comments:

Coleen said...

These things are always a learning experience. I used to do them some years ago when I was in the states.
Good post, girl.

I did not get very far on Blogtoberfest having discovered it quite late in the game, but we did connect up and so that was a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Blessings,
Coleen

jessica crawford said...

OMG your stuff is absolutely gorgeous! That completely sucks that no one bought anything - they were either mad or blind!