Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Vintage and Made Fair -- My First Show!

I started getting serious about my Etsy business last fall.  I designed several things for the 2013 holiday season and it was going pretty well; I loved designing and being able to make some money at the same time.  In January, I found out I was pregnant with our third and spent several months completely sick and exhausted but still so motivated to see my business grow.  During that time, my good friend Tricia, and some of her junkin' friends, announced that they were going to be putting on a "fair" in June showcasing junkers, crafters and handmade artisans from all around the area. I was super excited and signed up anyway, fully knowing I would be sick for awhile and would really have to pull it together to be ready in time.  

Slowly but surely, I found the time to work on my drawings and grow my inventory for the show.  At first, there were many mornings where I laid on the couch and drew because I couldn't muster up the energy to do much else.  Then, over time, I started to feel better and was able to send my kids to a sitter one day a week so I could focus, focus, focus.  

It's been a labor of love and last weekend was the first time showing off all my hard work in person.  The show was so rewarding, encouraging, exciting, draining and just plain FUN.  

Here I am with all my work!!

I used things from around my house to prop up my prints.  I think it gives you an idea of my personal style and makes the tent feel warm and inviting.  

See the drop cloth walls? Yeah, we had to DIY those in just a couple hours and on a budget so that the wind and rain wouldn't get to my work and ruin it over the weekend.  I'm so glad we did because it POURED for 6 hours STRAIGHT on Saturday.  Oi.

I unveiled a new product at the show-- DIY pennant banners (see them in my Etsy Store here).  Customers could come up, choose the letters for anything they wanted to spell, string them on some twine and tie on some vintage fabric tassels.  I was nervous people would think it was too much work to do at a show but it went off without a hitch!

I was SO exhausted after this show.  Obviously, three days of this was a lot of work but additionally, I had such a hard time sleeping each night for various reasons, mostly unrelated to the show.  When it was over on Sunday, I just wanted to crawl into my bed but I also had this overwhelming feeling that I couldn't wait until I could do it again.  There are few things more rewarding than rising to the occasion during a difficult season in your life and meeting your goals.  This business, and all the creating that comes with it, has become one of the greatest joys so far in my life.  

My show was everything I hoped it could be and in so many ways I have to thank my husband.  He has supported my creativity from day one... always allowing me the time to make room for my talent.  He's been my listening ear and helped me with marketing decisions and other shop-related decisions.  He's stayed up late packaging prints with me and learning how to cut dowels perfectly straight to hang canvas prints.  During the show, he was right there beside me the whole time, being fun with the customers, doing a lot of leg work and at the beginning and end, handling a majority of the grunt work to set-up and tear-down.  This is such an image of the man he is... always giving to me, always sacrificing over and over.  I adore him.  

Also, I wouldn't be doing this business if I didn't feel like my Creator had set me on this path. Being a creative visionary type, I have started and stopped so many things but this feels more meant to be with each day.  I have gone to God over and over for vision and discernment with this business.  There were months things weren't jiving and then I would sense Him calling me to focus on a different area of the business and BOOM it was back again.  I can see His hand clearly over this and that has been such an encouragement to me.  

In the night when I wasn't able to sleep on Saturday, I got up and paced the halls of my house for over 45 minutes.  I was feeling sick and just praying and praying I would be well enough to do the show on Sunday.  It was then that I had this overwhelming sense that He was saying He was my Jehovah Jireh or God My Provider.  I walked around in the dark thinking of all the ways He has provided for us in the last year (I'll share more about that sometime) and how this instance wouldn't be any different.  And it wasn't.  Things don't always work out like that, but that night, and in that circumstance, I knew He was about to show me something awesome.  That something awesome being all the joy and pay off of the show.

So, I'll cut the sappy stuff now :)  I just wanted to close by saying I may be addicted to shows after this!  In fact, if you missed this one, I just signed up for my second show on Saturday, July 26th in Valley Junction (Des Moines, IA).  There are more details to come so stay tuned!  

Thanks for all your love and support,

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