I’ve been selling my scarves at craft bazaars for six years. When I first started attending these events they would send me into an emotional upheaval. I would stay up late the night before; rushing last minute to make as many extra scarves and hoods as I could. I was worried about the one customer who would visit my table and not find something she liked. Once at the craft fair I would feel self conscious at the event. I would worry about what people thought of my product (it’s style, it’s size, it’s quality) and me. (Do I talk too much, say dumb things, not describe my business well enough?) While all this was going on in my head I know not how much of it was noticeable to customers. Over the years I have grown accustomed to the ways (and mentalities) of the “Craft Marketeer” and I no longer engulf my bazaars in a sea of agony. Now I simply register, show up, and let nature take its course. I enjoy the day, and my interactions with the community, and I always return home happy and fulfilled. No concerns. No regrets.
I used to think the purpose of the bazaar was to make as much money as possible. I thought my business was defined by its revenue. That has changed. I now judge my business based on the amount of interest it ignites. My favorite moments are not the ones where someone writes me a check. (or runs to the ATM and comes back) My favorite moments are when I’m helping someone pick out the perfect scarf for themselves, helping them try it on, demonstrating how to wear it, and seeing their satisfaction as they look in the mirror and admire their new accessory. This is especially poignant when the customer, who initially wanted a black scarf because all she wears is black, decides on a multicolored, fluffy scarflette that frames her face like a masterpiece. Initially a customer can be overwhelmed when they approach my table and see a hurricane of color and texture. Once they settle in to what they are inspecting, ask a few questions, and start to poke around; we both have fun.
A bazaar is not busy from start-to-finish. During the down time vendors may read, or (now a days) stick their face in their phones, but it is way-more interesting to not be shy, make friends with your neighbor, or scout the guy down to row. Yesterday (like most craft fair days) I had the pleasure of meeting some great vendors. In particular there was Tia. She was terribly friendly, and fashionable. She hand paints silk scarves and veils. I also met a girl (who’s name I didn’t catch and who doesn’t have a business card but she is on the FB) who makes piñatas. How awesome is that?! Handmade Piñatas. I got excited because I love piñatas.
Then I met Clayton. He was the highlight of my day. He was this lanky (but burley) old retired Army-guy with a long beard who makes native american crafts. He retired here in Germany, he hikes in the woods, picks up sticks, and decorates them. He loves working with wood, feathers, beads, leather, and arrowheads. He’s got no website. He’s not on the FB. His business card only has his name and an illustration. He’s pretty low-key, but I did get his number.