Okay, let me just get this out into the open, I’ve been depressed lately. No biggie, it is what it is. So the craft event this past Saturday was just another firm groin kick for me. My table was in a gym with an orchestestra playing, zumba and a dance recital going on. And although it was rather cute and entertaining, I couldn’t hear a darn thing and there was no way any customers could hear a darn thing I was saying. To make matters so much worse, they put me next to Mary Kay’s saleswoman of the year. It was deflating to see people passing me by while they lined up to sample and buy her products. AND to make matters even more ridiculous, another soap vendor came up to me furious that I was there because she should be the only soap vendor allowed to participate in this event. She stormed off to complain and gave me the evil eye across the gym the rest of the time. If you know me, you know that limiting events to only one soap person is one of my biggest pet peeves. I don’t care what you say, all soaps aren’t created equal.
On the other hand, I did get the opportunity to catch up with another bath & body person I met in Beekman who I really adore (Made With Love), I met an awesome jewelry designer from Scotland (Style C), and bonded over natural skin care with a talented artist. So it certainly wasn’t a complete loss–no craft events ever are in my opinion. (Oh, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention my no-holds-barred mac-n-cheese and rice pudding consumption extravaganza–I’m putting on my winter pudge.) At the end of the day, despite the dismal sales and unexpected hassles, I was strangely jazzed about making the most out of Sunday’s event in Arlington. I spent the night gussying up my display, labeling products, making hair & body oils, making shampoo, etc… Why all this extra prep? See, Arlington is where my turtles are. This is the school where I spent years chasing and being outrun by them. I was coming home to my peeps and somehow I knew they would be sending me some good juju from the nearby swamps. Arlington was the first event ever where I had to set up a tent indoors. I still don’t really understand why it was necessary but I went with it. Since money was tight I literally had to go through my linen chest to find items that would pass for legitimate side panels. I found some old tapestries that I love and a shower curtain I made a few years ago. Yup, pretty bad but I made do. The morning was beyond depressing. People passed me by right and left. I could hear and see them shopping in the booths next to and across from me. The feeling of not being good enough quickly took hold and gloom set in. I just gave up. I buried my head in a book, didn’t bother to look up, and just resigned myself to the fact that this day was going to be a bust. I promised myself there would be no more craft fairs after this and that I would consider closing up shop. I mean, how can little ole me survive in a Mary Kay world anyway? I was a fool to think otherwise. Then a lovely lady with a lovely family came up to me and basically breathed a huge sigh of relief when she saw my table. Her feelings, concerns, and frustrations were palpable and I said to myself “this is my people.” We talked for a while and she ended up buying $50 worth of products. She was the much-needed reminder of why I do this because it certainly isn’t for the money. I invest more than I make. She turned the tide for the rest of my day. After her, it was like the dam broke and a wave of appreciative customers swept through my booth. My tension was gone and I allowed myself to just enjoy it all. During my downtime I wandered about and met other interesting characters selling their wares and caught up with the mega talented jewelry designer, Nancy from Draped in Jewelry. I even bought myself a walking stick from Laird McPherson to help me get around during hikes AND a new razor from the very talented Scott Chenevert of The Wooden Pearl (fact: I have not owned one for a while. Yucky!). Not too shabby.
All in all, despite the rather unpleasantly cold experience of setting up and breaking down in something like 20 degree weather with a friggin’ zero degree windchill, it was a good day. I was even invited to be the soap vendor for a fantastic farmers market this summer. I’m all over that offer! Oh and speaking of farmers markets…during the event, the folks from the Saugerties Farmers Market texted me to check on my whereabouts and to see if I was feeling okay. It’s so nice to know that they look out for me. I truly appreciate the extended family I’ve found in them. For extra reassurance, when I got home and checked my email, there was a message from the nice woman I had met saying that she had excitedly used everything she bought (which included laundry soap, toothpaste, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner–she must have been busy!) as soon as she got home and loved it all! Her gratitude gave me such joy. Thank you Kate for saying those nice things. You came to my table at the perfect time. I’m sure we all have negative thoughts and emotions that swim through our minds and sometimes unfortunately take seed. Luckily, sometimes life provides you with that one person, one stranger even, who is there, right on time, to remind you of who you are, what you stand for, and that you’re not alone.
So once again, thank you Kate, thank you Arlington, thank you to the wonderful vendors who’ve kept me company these past two days, thank you customers, and thank you turtles (I hope the swamps are treating you well.)!!!!!! Oh and happy birthday to my biz partner (and mother), Ling Ling! You’re the best!