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Column

Craft Showin’

The weekend before last I kicked off my craft show season with my first show at the Iowa State Fair grounds. It is a huge show and I felt pretty prepared with everything I had made.

Like most of the shows I do, this one only allows handmade items. I can go either way on whether re-sold items or only handmade are allowed. If it is bringing people in the door, the more the merrier, but I do like to see all of the personalized items everyone, including myself, have put their time and heart into.

We get to set up for the show on Thursday evening, which is great because then we aren’t fighting 100 other vendors. The set up went smooth, I actually kept count of how many outfit sets I made, which made for a quicker time deciding where to put everything.

Of course, I still had some work to do at home. I never quite get everything finished in time. My mom, thankfully, went up the next day while I was at work and then we put the finishing touches on before the show started.

Friday night was great. There was a good amount of people and I sold more than my entry fee (which is always the goal). I felt good about my stock and my shop didn’t look empty by the end of the night.

Saturday was strong and steady. People just kept coming and coming, a lot buying, which is great, but it is also nice to just have people meandering through, to make it look interesting. I was pretty happy with my total for the day, although I like to set my goals high.

Sunday was pretty slow. Some years, Sunday has been almost as busy as Saturday, but this was not one of them. I still did well, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

I did notice at this show people were being a little more careless with my items than in years past. Leggings were hanging all over the place, with Halloween patterns in with Christmas and dinosaurs next to the princesses. I spent a lot of time moving everything back to where it was suppose to be.

I’m used to my blankets being a mess. Once someone unfolds it to see how big it is, they rarely fold and roll it up correctly. The blanket usually gets piled on the top of my display or folded and shoved back onto the shelf to where you can’t see the pattern very well. I know it’s just a part of being a shop owner, I walk around Target plenty, but it would be nice if people remember I’m one person making these things, not a corporation.

I also had what I believe is my first known instance of theft. Thankfully, it wasn’t a high priced item but it made me sad nonetheless. The person had been looking at my knot headbands and decided to go check out the matching leggings. No problem. I later realized she never came back with the headband and it wasn’t laying anywhere else in the shop. Like I said, not a high dollar item and I’m sure not the first things that has ever walked away, but it was still disappointing.

I have another craft show this weekend in Council Bluffs before I gear up for my crazy November. The first weekend I will be in Ankeny, followed by Pella’s annual show the second weekend and it wraps up with the November show at the state fair grounds. It is a crazy few weeks but also a lot of fun.

I encourage everyone to check out craft shows. There is a lot of hard work put into all of the items made and it is dollars going back into communities. You know, the whole shop local idea. That, and seeing one of a kind items and gifting them is always fun.

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