Full Circle ~ Changes Ahead and Summer Thoughts

Two weekends ago I attended and vended at the Whole Earth festival in Davis. It was a wonderful time, and I got to see vendor friends that I only get to see once a year, at this event. In so many ways, being a vendor at many different craft fairs all year long is my own version of a traveling circus. We vendors joke about that often!

I came back from this event with lots of thoughts about where Tangleweeds is headed and what I want the business to look like in the years to come. Running a handmade business, there are always so MANY things to consider and sometimes the changes you hope to make get swept under the rug in the running of the day to day, week to week, and month to month. 

So I'm putting this out there, not sure if I'll still want this in a few months or even the next year, but I'm seriously considering finding a way to raise the capital to invest in a better traveling vehicle and to begin to travel further afield for events. I love the idea of hitting the open road more often, and even creating a small work space in my home on wheels so I can work while on the road. 

whole earth festival booth photo

When I think about all it will entail to make this dream happen I get a little overwhelmed, but I'm hoping to break this down into manageable steps that will get me closer to my dream. Already I am planning an event in Nevada this year, and while that's not that far away, it's a step in the direction I'd like to head. 

For now though, the dream is in it's infancy stages. While I'd like to say I'll update about the progress on it here, and I will, in all likelihood progress will be slow and I may not have much to share for a while.

In the meantime I'm starting to dream about my plans for the summer. I'm really hoping to fit in at least one big music festival (of the bluegrass/country ilk preferably.)

What's on your mind for summer plans this year? I'd love to know!

warmly,
Jeannine

WINNER of the Everything is Connected Giveaway

Jamie, you are the winner of the giveaway! Sometime in May I will be sending you your very own pair of Swoops earrings and a copy of the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine. When you have a chance, shoot me an email at jeannine@tangleweeds-jewelry.com with your preferred mailing address. 

To everyone else who entered the giveaway contest, thank you so much for all of the wonderful support of my handmade business and my journey with it! I will continue to blog about it all here from time to time and hope that you do stop in regularly to say hi. I will also be running more giveaways this year, as they are a fun thing that I am happy to offer to my collectors!

Have a wonderful week everyone =)

Full Circle ~ Family Times

Last week I went to Disneyland for a few days with my sister's family and my dad. It was great to have this kind of time together, as it can be difficult to get everyone's busy schedules to all line up such that we can go on a trip together!

 me and my 9 year old nephew, Noah. He's not bored, he just hates having his picture taken.

me and my 9 year old nephew, Noah. He's not bored, he just hates having his picture taken.

This week, being back to work with Tangleweeds has felt great. Sometimes stepping away form something you love is just what you need to re-charge your batteries. 

As a quick reminder, tomorrow is the last day of my Everything is Connected sale (use code "connected" for 25% off all orders) and the last day to enter my giveaway by the same name. Good luck and enjoy!

Everything is Connected

Good morning! I'm excited today to announce the publication of an article I wrote about my creative journey and the creation of Tangleweeds. It's called Everything is Connected and you can find it in the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine, available on newsstands tomorrow (April 1st)! You can find Jewelry Affaire at most major book retailers. Read on for how I'd like to celebrate this moment with all of you.

April is full of so many celebratory things in my life - the first day of spring, my birthday on the 11th, and now this article being published. I want to share all of this great energy with you guys by offering 25% off all web orders through April 15th*. Simply use the coupon code connected and you'll receive your savings. This is a great chance to snag one of the newest designs at great prices! I'll also be offering a celebratory giveaway. . . 

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

The Giveaway
Along with the Everything is Connected Sale* that I'm offering, I'll also be giving away one free copy of the Jewelry Affaire magazine along with a pair of Swoops earrings (one of the designs featured in the article, and pictured below) to one lucky person. To enter the contest simply leave a comment on this blog post. Say hi, or tell me a story about a time when the dots were connected in your own life. I leave the commenting up to you!

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

Sitting down to write this article for the Jewelry Affaire magazine ended up being quite the gift to myself. So often I find that I don't take the time to slow down and reflect on the progress I've made with Tangleweeds. Writing this article allowed me that space and time. I think it's an article that you will enjoy even if you don't make jewelry yourself!

The winner of this giveaway will be announced April 16th, both here and on my Instagram account. Also, the magazine and earrings will ship by the beginning of May. Good luck!

Creative Tenacity: Doubt and Her Cousins

Excerpted from Rosanne Cash’s memoir, Composed:

T-Bone Burnet, an old friend, once told Joe Henry, “Don’t stop working, just stop worrying,” advice that Joe passed on to me [Rosanne Cash] that has since become my silent mantra. Now, even when I do worry, I keep working. Work, I remind myself, is redemption.

Let’s talk about doubt - about self-doubt for a moment. 

The truth. I can be terrible about following my own advice: the advice that it’s pretty much no good to anyone to compare yourself and your work and your accomplishments to the creatives around you. 

You see, I am continually inspired and pushed to do more by looking around and seeing the amazing things coming out of the amazing women in this creative world around me here in the SF bay area. And most of the time it gets me revved up and feeling super lucky to say “hey, I know that woman!!” 

But, sometimes it can make me feel like I’m not doing enough. Leaves me wondering when my big break is going to come. Or when it’s all just going to get easier.

The other day I was listening to this bio series about Oprah on KQED. And it was riveting. To hear her talk about her team’s strategy as they worked on maneuvering Oprah from being a sensationalist talk show to one that was about how to live your best life. “You have to keep your eye on what you’re doing. You have to wear blinders. Don’t look at other folks’ ratings. Don’t look at what others are doing and think “I need to do that.” You have to stay in your lane and keep looking ahead, because it’s when you start staring at the other folks, in their lanes that you start to slow down.” (that’s a rough quote of what Oprah said.)

I heard that and I was like “uh, huh! Yes!” So many good ways this can apply to creative entrepreneurs. 

I have my own take on this advice, of course, one that’s a little more inclusive and more involved with the people around me, but I definitely took that advice to heart.

Part of that stew is the fact that I am a woman, and in so many ways programmed to look towards others for advice and validation, to look towards others for the “okay, yes, keep doing what you’re doing” high sign. That way of making decisions can be self-sabotaging though. As you run your handmade business you’re going to need to develop the strength to make many decisions on your own. That will only be harder if you need your decisions validated by others. It may even keep you from making decisions that you need to make, and possibly that you need to make quickly.  

Doubt, self doubt, second guessing yourself, not feeling confident, low self-esteem about the way your business is going, these will all be things you’ll deal with if you decide to turn selling your handmade work into a business. You will not be without these things. And while too much of these feelings will drag you down and keep you form doing the work that needs to be done, an occasional dose of doubt and it’s cousins will help you to keep trying new things and pushing forward with your work. 

You can’t outrun the doubt. It will be there. Even if you manage to grow your business into something that is successful by anyone’s definition of success, the doubt will always come eventually.  

There’s a Rumi quote that I especially like, that I feel is relevant to many of the harder things in life. I think it’s relevant to dealing with your “doubt demons” too:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Basically it’s the difficult stuff in life that’s in someways a gateway or a path to the more transcendent things we reach for and grow towards. I think when I was younger I thought that the point of living “successfully” (whatever the fuck that means!) was that eventually I would wake up everyday fully confident in everything I was doing, that there would be no second-guessing myself, there would be no DOUBTS. I also thought that eventually I would only create work I was 100% happy with and learn to always say exactly what was on my mind in a perfectly clear way that the person I was speaking to would understand. I had a lot of learning to do.

Doubt will be your bedfellow if you venture into this creative business world. She will tag team you at craft fairs, she will sit on your shoulder when you’re creating new designs, and she will sometimes keep you from doing some really stupid things. But if you let her take the reigns too much she will keep you from ever doing the work you truly want to do.

I think self-doubt and believing this story that doubt is telling us (Because it is a story, anyone who has become really good at telling themselves that their work rocks and they are awesome is also telling themselves a story. This is neither good nor bad, simply helpful to remember so we don’t put too much stock in these narratives.) goes hand-in-hand with the rabbit hole that many people fall down into. The wanting to wait until it’s all perfect rabbit hole. This also sometimes sounds like I just want to wait until I’m ready. Ready to launch a new product, or take a business course, or simply to try to start selling one’s work. 

The key to reaching for your dreams is to get comfortable with taking steps towards those dreams even when you don’t feel ready. 

Now, that is going to look different for everyone. Everyone is going to have a different threshold for the amount of uncertainty and unpredictability that they can handle. Some of us thrive on it, others need to parcel it out so as to not go into complete overwhelm. As a personal example: I was (relatively) comfortable with quitting my day job well before my business was making much money. It was profitable, but barely. I had reached a tipping point where I felt like working another job was taking too much time away from my biz. I accepted that money would be tight and that things would be a bit uncomfortable for a while. But I was more willing to accept that than say, continuing to work at the day job while working on my job into the wee hours and losing sleep. We all compromise where and when we can. And you will learn to too. 

I wrote this slightly rambling Creative Tenacity post about doubt because when I reached out to my fellow makers, creative business cohorts and my blog readers, this was resoundingly the topic most of your were interested in. I hope that it helps some of you through what may be a dark period or moment of questioning what you are doing. When you get to that place, just remember that it is not necessarily a sign that you are doing anything wrong and that even the most successful amongst us struggles with doubt regularly! I would say even daily. 

I’m going to leave you readers with these points, in summation of this slightly stream-of-consciousness post about doubt

Get used to feeling a bit uncomfortable, or outside of your comfort zone.

Develop a healthy habit of pursuing things and starting things before you feel 100% ready. Doing the thing or starting the thing will make you ready.

Learn to sit side by side with doubt and her cousins. Accept that doubt will never go away. You will simply learn to live with it. 

Lastly, I wanted to include a short list of resources that I find to be helpful when my doubt demons start to get too loud, or I’m in need of a personal pep-talk of sorts -

Stephanie St Claire

Marie Forleo

Tara Mohr

I also find that talking to a fellow creative when you’re feeling especially low or full of doubt can sometime be the best balm of all. 

Keep pushing and keep making your beautiful work everyone!

Full Circle ~ Calico Seasons

My newest collection is here: Calico Seasons. And I'm so happy with how it all came together. The palette really speaks to spring and newness and light femininity, but with an underlying strength. I'm also playing around with mixed metals again, which is definitely getting my creative juices flowing in a whole new way. 

There's also a small selection of OOAK pieces and limited editions, like the Sepia Seasons necklace (above, middle) and the Serpentine River Necklace (above, bottom.)

This collection, surprisingly (or not, depending on how you look at it) came our of a rather dark place. After the elections in November and the divisiveness that arose in our country, I was walking around feeling over-whelmed, angry, and hopeless. When shit goes sideways so to speak (and pardon my french) I often want to throw my all into fixing things, making things better, and I didn't see a clear way to go about fixing what was now, in my view, broken about our society. 

Slowly though, and with the help that comes from talking about these feelings with friends and those I care about, I started to see that the best work I could do would be to continue to do my creative work. I'm now really trying to put more of an emphasis on connecting with others too, helping other creatives out in whatever ways I can. (Part of that work is with the Creative Pursuit Collective, which you can read more about here.)

There four photos above are part of the Vista Series in the Calico Seasons collection. In particular, the Vista Bangle has quickly become a go-to piece for me and I'm finding myself wearing this piece nearly daily. I love this design (in all three - the earrings, the necklace and the bangle) because it's almost "shield" like in it's shape. It feels powerful. And I imagine that from our vantage point, or Vista, as we rise above the mess of the last few months, things will start to sort themselves out and become a bit more clear. 

As I've been saying, this collection is inspired by "nature's lessons and nature's patience." The designs came out of a confused and frustrating time for me, and a time when I found myself calmed and put at ease by simple things, like sunsets and sunrises, the birds chirping in my yard in the early morning or the light fog cloaking my street as I went about starting my day. 

It's funny how something inspired by very confused and dark emotions can end up feeling so light  and cheery, but that's exactly how this collection came about to be manifested. Or it's not so funny at all and in a way makes perfect sense. . . and shows me yet again how most things in life come full circle if we only give them the time. 

Through Wednesday, 3/22, take 15% off all pieces in the new collection with code nature. I will also be including small, hand-written bits of poetry with each item from the new collection. I hope to convey a certain feeling and idea with each design, and the poetry that will accompany each piece is my gift to you. 

Happy Monday everyone!

LWM ~ Wearing Handmade

Happy Monday everyone! Dropping in with some listening tunes and style inspo. to (hopefully) brighten the beginning of your week. . . 

Listening ~ This was an easy one this week. I've been voraciously listening to Alison Krauss's newest album, Windy City. Every song on the album sounds beautiful, as does her soulful voice. The album is a mix of covers and original songs. 

Wearing ~ I LOVE to wear other folks' handmade goodies. The outfit I managed to capture today was a nice showcase of wearables made by other talented folks. It also continues my trend of more monochromatic outfits as of late.

dress and cardigan ~ thrifted
quilted bag ~ Laura Lee Fritz      
hand-dyed rope necklace ~ Roxanne Young
Full Moon Eclipse Earrings
River Rock Bangles

Making ~ Honestly, this last week had me busy with mostly non-making things. I carved out some time to work on my current weaving project. Which is slowly but surely coming closer to completion. (I might actually sell this one!) The jewelry work was mainly photographing and editing photos for my new collection for spring/summer, which will be available in the webshop on March 15th! The photo below is from the photoshoot.

That's it for now! Have a wonderful week!

Story Behind the Design/Item of the Week

Morning friendly blog readers and Tangleweeds friends! Going along with the general nature of things over here at Tangleweeds headquarters this year I'm shifting things a bit with my Item of the Week series to something that feels a bit more comfortable for the tone, vibe and frequency of my posting here. I'm still going to spotlight various designs this year, along with offering a special discount on the specific piece, but I'm going to shift these posts to less often, maybe once or twice a month. I recently started the Creative Tenacity series and that is keeping my typing fingers busy too! 

Enter the Story Behind the Design series. For this first one, I've selected the Wander style necklace. I LOVE this design and wear mine quite often. I make no two of these identically the same and hand texture and sand them as well. 

I was inspired to create this design by my trips to the Eel and Yuba rivers in California, over the last few years. The areas where the river was dried out during the summers (and especially during the drought years) was cracked in such an organic array of lines that seemed almost puzzle like to me. The idea of a river flowing, and movement over this dry area got me thinking about the shapes as "stepping stones". I liked the idea of the dried out parts of the river being metaphoric stepping stones when the water wasn't there. Still a form of movement, just not the rushing of water going by. 

After I decided that I wanted to represent the shapes of the dried out river bed with my own freeform, handcut brass components, I just had to name the piece. I named the necklace "Wander" because it's a word that implies movement but in a slightly freeform way. I thought it echoed my sentiments about the origins of this design, and also the freeform nature of it. 

For the rest of this month I'll be offering all three of the iterations on this design at $20 off. Choose from the Curvy, Slim, or Classic design and simply use the code wander to receive your discount. 

I hope everyone is enjoying these little forays into the inner workings of my design brain =) I'm enjoying sharing these tidbits and stories with you!

Full Circe ~ Simplifying and Making Room

The last couple of weeks I've really been focused on streamlining and simplifying many of my habits and methods around how I run Tangleweeds. One BIG part of this has been buying new equipment for my business, something that now that I've done I wish I had so much sooner! BUT, it's fantastic that I've finally made this investment. It has me looking at many areas of my business with a more critical eye, contemplating how I can make things run more efficiently. 

All of this is being done with an eye on making more time and room in my life for things that aren't necessarily 100% Tangleweeds related. I say this because over the last few months I've come to the realization that I don't intentionally make time for much in my life that isn't directly related to Tangleweeds. This is because I LOVE running Tangleweeds. It is my breath and soul and I am so happy to put my all into it. 

Hand-in-hand with this realization, it came to my attention that I actually get more stressed out on days off from work than I do working days. I think this is a many layered thing that needs time for me to thoroughly address. I know there's a few things going on here that I am aware of: 1. I take time off so infrequently that I put A LOT of pressure on that time to deliver in BIG dividends. (as in, it better be a completely AMAZING trip or small adventure or time with friends, or whatever otherwise it's a letdown.) and 2. I treat the time off much like I treat work time, as in it needs to be "productive". Which is crazy-ness, right?!

Thirdly, I've put so much energy and time into Tangleweeds over the last few years that sometimes I feel like I've become a little bit out of touch regarding what I desire from the rest of my life. I think this is two-fold: I was so busy with Tangleweeds (and happily so for the most part) that I ceased to put as much energy into other areas of my life. Also, and maybe the more subtle, hard to pin down thing that was going on in my head, I think I was subconsciously avoiding making some big decisions about the rest of my life. A little bit head-in-the-sand, a little bit workaholic. 

With the streamlining and systematizing that I am diving into with Tangleweeds, I'm starting to see the spaces open up in my life for other things. I actually feel like I have the mental room to even consider what I might want my non-work/Tangleweeds related life to look like. 

The other day I was flipping through some green/new-hippie lifestyle magazine at the bookstore and I read something along the lines of "it's your life, edit it as you please." And that line has really stuck with me. I used to feel like when I wanted to get rid of something, or stop doing something that I was giving up on that thing or that endeavor. Now I'm starting to see that with every thing or endeavor that we choose to move out of our lives, we make room for something new. I'm pretty darn excited about what embracing my inner "life editor" may look like in the months (ands years) to come!

Creative Tenacity: Attitude, Mind-set, and Craft Fairs

Morning you guys! I’m happy to be back with my next addition of Creative Tenacity! Thanks to everyone who read my first post and commented, emailed me, or just said “thank you.” I do hope that this series is resonating with people. Writing it is also eye-opening and expanding for me, as it gets me reflecting on my own way of handling things, and how I might be able to do things better with Tangleweeds in the future. 

I decided to move into arts and crafts fairs with this next post as it’s an area I have a lot of background with. Long before I started Tangleweeds I had a small handmade jewelry business called Designs By A Hummingbird. I also sold at craft fairs under my first business, and while it was also jewelry, it was a very different type of jewelry. I feel like these two different businesses helps to give me a well-rounded perspective on events. (With all of that said, this is of course all from my perspective and my perspective alone and is in no way an exhaustive, all encompassing account of everything you need to know about craft fairs!)

There is also SO MUCH to cover in this arena! I’m only going to cover a section of topics related to craft fairs in this post. More will come in later posts in this series. 

Choosing An Event

Choosing your events can be much like a game of chance. It’s pretty much impossible to know if an event is going to be a good fit for you until you try it. Yes, you can ask fellow artists and vendors for their experiences, yes you can walk the event and get the lay of the land before you apply (for the following year or season), yes you can google the shit out of the event and look at an endless array of photos from the event, analyzing and picking apart if you think your brand will be a “good fit.” Ultimately all of this will only give you a relative idea if the event will be profitable for you. 

I have done events that should have been hugely successful only to find that my sales were mediocre, and I have done events that were small and new and in a weird location and done fairly well. My advice on choosing events basically boils down to this: If you want to try out an event, do your homework and look into it by all means, but you really need to DO IT in order to know anything about it. You of course will need to assess the risk factors: How much does the event cost? Is there travel involved? Will you be okay if the event is a complete bust and you don’t even make back your booth fee? These are important questions to ask yourself and should always inform your decision to do an event or not. 

As an aside - initially, in the beginning, you will need to be prepared to do events and not make a profit. You will be in the initial “figuring it all out” stage and you will be learning a lot. Sure, there are brands and products that do amazingly well from day one, but you should be prepared for the possibility that this is not how it will go. (Enter: the day job or side job!) The more you set yourself up to be okay with taking risks the more room you are going to have to grow with your handmade work and your business. An example: in general I find that while it may be scary to put down $300+ for an event, these are typically the events that make the most money for me. I know this sort of craft fair price tag is a bitter pill to swallow in the beginning, but oftentimes, the more expensive events are the ones that really bring in the buyers and sales. There are EXCELLENT smaller and less expensive events as well, nothing is absolute! 

As far as finding out about events goes, there are many ways. One of the easiest is to join your local Etsy team and ask others in your group about events they would recommend. Also, one way that I will search for events online is to simply Google the name of a particular city I would like to do an event in along with the words “holiday craft fair” or “summer arts and crafts fair” or something similar. This is a good way to expose yourself to new events that you haven’t heard of, and it’s always a positive to try a new locale, especially if you feel like the locales you have tried have not responded that well to your work.

Attitude, Mind Set and Unsolicited Advice

This is an area that I really wanted to cover, as I think it’s one of the most important and possibly the most elusive when you’re first getting started selling your work, and especially at in-person events like craft fairs or other pop-ups. 

In general, craft fairs and other shows are A LOT of work and can be both physically and mentally draining. But there are things you can do to alleviate some of the stress and make for a more fulfilling experience, regardless of how the event goes sales-wise.

Before I talk about attitude, a bit about my experience selling at events: When I first got started selling at events I felt so incredibly awkward. Everything from the load-in, to creating the display to talking to customers about my work was stressful and anxiety producing. It was all too easy tolet how I did financially at an event affect how I felt about myself. That is a terrible spot to be in.

But I kept at it for months and then years until I go to the point where it all started to fall into place and at times even feel effortless. I am now at a place in my life where I can sincerely say I LOVE doing events. That love has come from years of culling together knowledge from my lived experiences. 

Basically my point: if you’ve had a few terrible events, try to learn from it. I bet there are ways you can make events in the future more fulfilling and worth your time. In the meantime, here are some of my suggestions for doing just that. . . 

1. This bit has served me very well over the years. Treat everyone who comes into your booth or up to your table at an event as if it does not matter if they buy something. In other words: treat them with respect, act genuinely interested in connecting with them, and be nice! Now, obviously it helps to WANT to do these things. Because if you’re being nice just to be nice or following this advice because you think you should that’s all going to come through and you’re going to come across as fake and kind of plastic-y. 

For me, I look at events as a way to connect with people. I truly enjoy this part about events. Yes, some folks are going to be not so nice, or say slightly rude things, but this is true in every aspect of life. You shouldn’t let it scare you away form craft fairs. I’ve met some wonderful people at events, and I don’t honestly think I would be able to connect with folks in the same way if all I saw when they walked into my booth was a giant dollar sign above their head (or two or three dollar signs =)

2. This next part is going to happen to you at least once in a while and can be a tricky topic to navigate: the unsolicited advice. (insert dramatic, tense music here) Yes, there are going to be customers who think they know what your next product should be, how much something should cost, how you should display things differently, and so on and so forth. In the beginning I think this kind of advice would rankle my nerves so much because I was filled with a lot of self-doubt about what I was doing. It was easy for me to see other people, having what they thought was a better idea about how I should be doing things, as a threat.

Now, when someone has advice for me while I’m at an event I try to respond politely but in a way that makes it clear that I know what’s best for me/Tangleweeds. (Because at this point in my trajectory I do!) I will say something like “I hadn’t thought of that, I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future.” I think it’s important to clarify something here: it’s not about placating someone, but rather remembering that most everyone means well. When I used to work in coffee shops and had to deal with problem customers, I tried to remind myself that everyone is doing the best that they can at any given moment. Sometimes someone’s best is going to rub us the wrong way. In the end, just remember that it’s you making the decisions about your product and your biz at the end of the day, and let the suggestions and advice roll off you like water on a duck’s back. 

3. Which brings me to my last section about attitude and mind-set and that’s talking about your work/product. This is where listening to your customers, even the ones who don’t buy anything, and taking in that well meaning “advice” as graciously as you can is really going to pay off. 

When I first started selling at events, I was super nervous talking about my work. I usually didn’t try to strike up a conversation with a customer unless they initiated one first. As you can imagine, my sales weren’t that great at many of my early events. Over time though, as I listened to the people who would come into my booth and paid attention to how they were describing my work as they spoke to me or to there friend/shopping buddy, I started to see my work through the customers’ eyes, which started to illuminate the talking points for me. 

Obviously you’re going to want to filter out the outliers and the bits of feedback that are idiosyncratic to one person and one person only. But over time you will notice over-arching themes that you can begin to incorporate into how you talk about your item. 

As an example: One thing that I started to notice when my customers would try on my earrings was how many people commented in a complimentary way about how lightweight they were. I quickly came to realize that this was a huge selling point as many women (myself included) don’t want heavy earrings weighing down their ears. I was so close to the work that I didn’t realize that something I was intentionally doing (making earrings that were by design lightweight) was an important talking point with my customers. . . at least I didn’t realize it until they made me see it! 

If you’re really wanting some initial talking points though, and don’t want to go into your first event with nothing to say, my recommendation is to start with the obvious and remember that customers most likely know little or nothing about your work when they walk up. Saying something as simple as “I make all of this (jewelry, ceramics, pillows, etc.) myself in my home studio in San Francisco” opens many doors for conversation. You’ve just clarified for your customer that yes, your product is handmade and (if the event is in the SF bay area) you are local as well. Other good talking points:

  • point out your current favorite design and why (the back story) OR point out your newest designs
  • talk very briefly about why you started making what you make (keep it simple because you don’t want to overwhelm the customer)
  • tell the customer that they’re welcome to try anything on/pick anything up to have a closer look
  • mention any sales or promotions that you may be having
  • and always remember to say “hi” or “good morning” or something else simple when they walk   into your booth/up to your table. Acknowledging their presence is a HUGE plus and amazingly something that many vendors simply don’t do. 

If you can keep some of the above points in mind, I think you will find events to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, even if they don’t start out initially as profitable as you might like. I do acknowledge that craft fairs and other events of this ilk will not be a good fit for everyone’s brand and product, but I do think that you have to give events everything you’ve got before you can safely say that retail events are not right for your biz. 

On that note, I’ll wrap this post up! I know we’re moving back into fair season for many of us soon. Mine really starts to get underway in April, although I’ll have a couple of events in March. I’d love to hear what anyone else might have to say about how they keep a good attitude when they’re at a selling event. Feel free to leave a comment (or a question!) below. 

Happy Tuesday!