This is my 2nd full year of doing craft shows, but as I was reminded yesterday when I was going over my taxes, I didn't do any in the first quarter of 2017. Last year was about dipping my toe in the water, and in January, February, and March I was too busy making stuff to sell, looking forward to the Artisans Fair in May that was my very first "big" event. Well, this year is about diving into the water.
Tomorrow I am starting the year off easy with a flea market at the Indian River Senior Center. My husband is a member there, and the very first craft show I ever did was their Christmas show in November of 2016. The people there are wonderful and I enjoy coming back as I have several times throughout 2017. Also I don't have to bring my own table so it's an easy set-up. I will post more on the flea market in a separate post later.
I've decided to make this blog about my journey as a very-small-business owner, and I'm writing it more for myself, because I'm finding it's nice to have notes to look back on at the end of the year or before returning to an event or venue. I'm going to be candid and look at all the sides of running Moon-Child Wood Craft, from ordering supplies and making my products to applying for events and setting up my booth. This will be a place to post pics of my booths/tables (so I don't have to wade through google photos for them), a place to talk about what is keeping me busy or stressed, what makes me happy. Maybe it will even be helpful to other people who are just starting out.
This week I've been busy finishing up some trivets (owls and ocean-themed ones) that I'd never cut before. I posted them on facebook and got a good response so I have a feeling they will do well. I am already planning on cutting a bunch more. I also have plans for more trivet designs that I will design myself, but that will be down the road.
The other big project this week is replenishing my puzzle supply. They make a ton of sawdust, a major mess, so I like to do a bunch at once and then a good cleaning. They are great for doing right before shows, because I don't have to worry about applying finish to them. I just cut and sand and apply shrink wrap to them, price them and log them in my inventory, pack them up, and they are ready to sell. I used to apply danish oil to them, but frankly, I don't like the way they smell with the oil, and since most of them are going to belong to kids, I prefer to keep them as natural as possible. I've also found that kids LOVE that they can color the puzzles themselves with crayons and markers. My niece Makenzie cracked me up when she took a puzzle I gave her and colored it with red sharpie on the inside edges of the pieces (that's the blood! she told me).
So cutting puzzles has kept me busy most of this week. They are technically easy to do, but the wood is thicker than what I usually work with, and the blade is bigger too, so they are a bit harder on my hands and I have to take more breaks. It's a nice change of pace though. Some scroll sawers only sell puzzles, which is great. I however, just can't limit myself to one product. I get bored only making puzzles, or only making trivets, or only making candle trays, and don't get me started on Christmas time when I end up making tons of ornaments. I have to make lots of different stuff, or else I just wouldn't be doing this full-time. It means that my booth is a mish-mash--no, a cacophony! of products, which can be overwhelming for some people (and sometimes for me, especially when I only have one table to display all of it). But it also means that I can reach lots of different customers. It means I can be really flexible about which events I do.
I'm going to wrap this post up with a brief overview of the year to come, as I see it from today. January is all about restocking, and so is February. Aside from the flea market tomorrow, I have no other events this month, and my next event is the Merchants Attic in Lewes on the 18th of February. The following weekend I am hoping to do the Better Living Expo in Salisibury, but I won't have confirmation of that until later. March is all about Ocean City as I have a home show there on the 16-18 and then an Easter show on the 30 & 31. April I am keeping clear in hopes that my parents come visit from out west, and also so I can focus on restocking for May, when things get busy again. I have 2 confirmed events in May, one I've applied for, and a fourth I'm considering applying for, which would cover all my weekends that month. Aside from a couple of things here and there, the summer is clear (for now...) and then October comes and brings with it the Christmas crush. It'll be nonstop from then on to mid-December.
A little later I'll post about the flea market, but for now, time to get to work!