So I have the dates - end March '08... sounds like a long way off, but then when I start thinking about what I need to do - I panic! I have nothing, nada, zip! So what to do and where to start?! I have a 4 meter square stand to fit out with artwork and products to sell. Then there's the fear of my own self confidence to over come, as I will be surrounded by lots of more experienced artists and craft retailers. So feeling swamped and a little self destructive I took myself off for a walk down into town to look at some shops. Ahhhhh the therapy of window shopping! Fortunately, on the way back home I bumped into a friend and she asked if I would take part in the Christmas craft fair at her daughter's school, this would be my first craft fair as Sara's Texture Crafts... why not use it as a start for planning my exhibition? 'Why not!' I said and wandered home feeling a bit more excited.
I've learnt in the past that when feeling stressed about an ever-mounting workload, the best thing to do is sit down with a piece of paper and breakdown the load into smaller manageable tasks. By doing this it calms the mind and allows you to concentrate on thinking and planning all of the smaller details of each task. I find the size of the workload often seems to shrink when you understand it better.
Once I have my initial plan I get myself some more paper (!) and I can start planning a 'to do list' and by prioritising which tasks should be dealt with first and looking at my dairy to plan when each task should be completed by. It is now that I can start to get an idea of how my work days will look leading up to my deadline. This also saves me a bit of time in the long run... I don't want to feel more upset by feeling as if I'm wasting time trying to think about what to do next! Do I annoy people with my over-organisation and lengthy lists of 'things to do'? Sure, but it's the only way I know how to cope with two day jobs, running a blogzine, or two, friends, family, boyfriend and a home (did someone mention the burning need for kids? Hold on let me get the diary out and see when I can fit that in!!) No, of course not everything works out that easy and I can't pen everything into a 'to do list', but it will at least help me with this exhibition.
So the craft fair...
Firstly I asked about the size of the table and using a bed sheet marked out on the floor how big the table would be, so that I could see what the area would look like. I divided the table into two, an area for my craft kits and equipment (eBay Link - stores.ebay.co.uk/Saras-Texture-Crafts) and an area for my handmade products (DaWanda Link - en.dawanda.com/shop/sarastexturecrafts and Etsy Link - sarastexturecrafts.etsy.com).
I then thought carefully about what I thought I would sell well at this time of year and the types of customer who would be there on the day. This helped me to plan my products carefully. What did I already have in stock and what would I need to make?
I then thought about display... I would need stands for my greeting cards, earrings and necklaces, a mirror for viewing jewellery and I would also need business cards, or flyers. I have a very definite look in mind for my handmade products and their display... a look that will be my overall inspiration not only for this craft fair, but for the exhibition and my business going forward as a whole, so this has to be taken into account too. Armed with my inspiration picture, I started to hunt for each item... I started on the high street, but didn't do very well - nothing was right. Then I thought - 'Sara what are you doing? You work (although 'virtually') with so many talented people everyday... surely, surely the answer would be on-line!?!' And aha! It most certainly was...
Here is my business card holder custom made for me by the lovely Theresa of 'Flightfancy' at flightfancy.etsy.com
and here is my mirror, custom made for me by the very talented Ginger of 'Gingerbellgifts' at gingerbellsgifts.etsy.com/
I tell you... I couldn't have asked for anything more from these two lovely sellers. The items were perfect and they knew exactly what I was looking for just from a picture and a feeling - amazing! Please visit their shops and help me to show them some support in their work.
So to the day of the craft fair!
I planned to finish early the evening before and have everything packed up for Saturday morning, so myself and my boyfriend who had kindly agreed to help wouldn't have to run around, niggling at each other whilst getting ready and looking at our watches! Fortunately it worked! So Saturday morning started with frying some bacon for our bacon and avocado salad sandwiches for lunch and a spot of breakfast. The after getting ready, it was only a short journey (on the bus!) with a suitcase, box and two small (ish) rucksacks full of crafty delights!
All paid up and introduced to the hosts it was time to set up. Oh no, someone in their wisdom thought it was a good idea to put my table next to the cake and sweet stall!! Oh, dear me - could I keep myself focused, would I spoil my carefully prepared lunch? Need I answer!!I know, I know sleeping on the job! Could she be dreaming of Chocolate?!
'Did someone mention Chocolate?'
We had a lovely day, everyone was friendly and I had lots of compliments on my work. I also made some sales too, so I was very happy - hooray!
Maybe this exhibition won't be quite so hard to deal with after all?...