A Country Christmas

I hosted a craft show, and the past 3 months of my life have been a whirlwind as a result! It’s crazy how much work goes into one of those things; the endless hours at the computer, the endless emails, the endless expenses – it takes so much from you and seems to leave you with so little, except for this lovely, intense sense of purpose and pride in what you are doing. It’s that feeling that kept me going even when the details overwhelmed me, and it’s what will make me do it all again next year :).

IMG_2910I’ve shopped at many craft shows and have been a vendor myself, but this was the first time I had ever been on the organizing end of things. Let me tell you, it is far easier to be the vendor.

I think the day went well, but as with all inaugural events we had some surprises. First of all, and the worst of all, was that the room I rented was too small. We were packed in like sardines, without an inch to spare.

The room was supposed to hold 40 vendors, I had been assured by town hall that this would be the perfect spot for what I wanted and so I made the deal, signed the contract. On the eve of the show I arrived to decorate (the tables were set up by the town staff) and imagine our surprise when we saw how tight it all was! I mean, it worked – each vendor had a 6′ table and an additional 3′ of floor space – but it certainly didn’t feel that way when you got them all in the room. Also, I was glad I had stopped selling tables at 38 vendors – where on earth would I have even put another two?! If anyone ever rents the Wescast Room at the Gemini Sportsplex (Strathroy, On), don’t try to fit any more than 28 vendors. 38 was insane, I don’t know how the town thought 40 would work.

FullSizeRenderOnce we got rolling though, it seemed to work out smoothly. I didn’t really know what to expect with so many strong personalities packed into one space but thankfully they were a really understanding and supportive bunch! I did have one difficult vendor but many others made up for it by coming by and telling me how much they appreciated the work I put into this show, and at the end of the day I had many ask me to put them on next years list.

My husband was a huge help, so were two of my sisters who volunteered to come and help out for the day! We poured cups of free coffee and hot chocolate to visitors, sold snowman cupcakes and helped out in the odd booth. My husband took care of the admissions table and handed out the show’s “goodie bags”, and at 10am when the radio station came to set up, I got to answer some questions in a quick little interview :).

I had a table in the show, but I made sure I gave myself the worst one. The reason for the table was for my little girl. She has worked so hard the past few weeks making her own jewelry, and even designed her own business cards. How on earth could I deny her :). My sister Joan manned the table and sent me regular texts throughout the show about how out of the line of vision our table was, but my little girl still sold $20 worth. Talk about a proud mommy moment, watching my 10 year old talk to her customers and hand out her business cards <3.

Obvious down side to running a show – an unhappy vendor. She hated everything from the moment she arrived and made sure everyone knew it. My husband told her she could leave if she wanted (I would gladly have refunded) but she chose to stay and complain all day. Then she went home and complained all over her facebook wall, then my facebook wall, etc.  Obviously it was unprofessional and I have dealt with the issue privately, but that is just the way it is sometimes. I am actually really thankful that I had 36 other vendors who just took the space in stride, and made the most of the day with really great attitudes! It could have been worse.

It was a first show, but for a first show I was pleased with the numbers. We counted at least 300 visitors. I had researched some other local shows beforehand and was told they had a usual visitor rate of 300-500, and since they are annual shows with previous exposure, I told myself I would be happy in that number range. So, I’m happy. Obviously I would have loved that number to be doubled or tripled, but that can be something I work towards. I have a whole year to think of ways to make this even better.

As for me, it’s back to normal life, back to my Etsy store and back to just enjoying the coming Christmas season. My house is even already decorated! One of these days, I may even sit down and finish reading my book (Written in my hearts own blood by Diana Gabaldon) or get my fabric closet organized… A girl can dream ;).

The photo’s below are some pics from the show, but they are not my things! Just some of the items that  were for sale by some very talented people :).

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