Let's backtrack to last Saturday: the craft far at the NECC (Northeast Community Center) in Portland.
It was hot. It was windy. The McDonald's tent was blown over at least twice. My table was inside, which saved me from the heat in the a.m., but fans only do so much. There were at least two other larger craft fairs going on in Portland that day--the weekly Portland Saturday Market and an annual Letterpress Print Fair--where all the book arts people were doubtless shopping that day, and where I would have been (to shop, network and get ideas) if I hadn't had a booth at this craft fair.
The consequences? Not as many people as some of us were expecting. In the end, I sold 8 items, mostly lower-priced ones.
But was it a success? I would say so. I was generally a win-win situation, as long as you weren't expecting too much. Having a booth--let me just put this out there--was free. There was a refundable down payment to reserve a table which we will be getting back in check form this week. Tables were provided; tents for those who were outside (yes, they created somewhat of a wind tunnel, but still...) It took a lot of time, work and commitment, but technically if you sold even one item (even after the fair took its 20% cut--nothing is *free* free), you were making a profit. And if nothing sold, you were non the poorer. Except for the money you put into your display. Which you may as well think of as a business investment to do more fairs.
I enjoyed the debut of Petite Cabbage Press in fair form, and the sweet shop look I have to my table. I plan on doing this again. It was the first craft fair I've participated in where I set up my own area and hung out all day, and a good experience for any artisan to have... and I can't help but think it was easier to get out there in the community and do something like this than it would have been back in Boston. Saw some friends, made some friends, handed out plenty of business cards, and got some interest in the work I do. Hope some of my booth's visitors will take a gander at my blog and even return to my etsy shop once it's up and running (this is at the top of the to-do list for the remainder of summer!)
The rest of the weekend was filled with adventures and nice restaurants. My mom was visiting Portland or the first time and we made all the obligatory trips: scenic highway through the Gorge, Mount Hood Loop (in 101° F degree heat), Alberta Street, aerial tram up to OHSU.
Not bad, weekend.