Saturday, December 31, 2011

Craft Shows of 2011

This year has been one hell of a ride with my shows. It took some new turns this time. I attended new shows and some of the old ones that I was in before.

My first show started early in February for Valentine’s Day weekend. I didn’t expect to start early, but what the hell. It took place at a fire department building in Blackwood, NJ. This show was called the Ultimate Shindig Arts Festival. It was a nice start. I got this invitation back in January on my website from a woman named Kim. She’s a cool person to work with. In this show, I saw other kids in costumes of Tinkerbell, Optimus Prime, Spider-Man, Pablo from Backyardigans, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Kim’s son Jared fell in love with my work instantly, lol. At the end of the show, Jared gave me a hug goodbye and I was like,”Awww!” It was very nice of him. I did pretty well at this show. I wouldn’t mind doing it again.

My next show took place a month later in Stratford, NJ. At first, I was thinking about the fall festival that usually takes place there, but this show took place somewhere else in Stratford. It took place at an elementary school. It was called Stratford PTO. For this show, I didn’t come alone. My friend Emely decided to tag along to sell her handmade headbands and other accessories. This was an indoor show. I got this invitation from the first show. A woman named Jessica was hosting this show. This wasn’t a bad show. I did well with my sales. Emely didn’t do too bad with her sales as well. I was chatting with Emely the whole time. It’s always nice chatting with a good friend. As usual, the kids were all over my work. I don’t blame them. Kim and her family made an appearance at this show. It was nice seeing them.

As I was looking thru more shows to apply, I noticed that some of my best shows this year were happening at the same time and it gave me a lil bit of a hard time to decide. As I was looking, I was going to apply for the Cherry Hill show and it turns out that the Earth Day people doing the show were at it again. The price to enter the show dropped, but that didn’t bother me. It was their “Green” thing again. The original sponsors surrendered the show to the Earth Day people and made it difficult to apply only because my work isn’t “Green”. Therefore, I was rejected. I gave up on them because I’m not going to put up with this BS. If they send an invite, I’m just gonna tell them straight out on my thoughts on why I’m not interested in the show anymore. However, I did have a backup plan that day of the show. Instead, I entered The Gloucester City Riverfront show once again. At the time I had this show, I had two more shows that weekend. I had Gloucester City show, Ultimate Shindig Mother’s Day show and my return to the First Friday @ Haddonfield. I appeared at the First Friday at Haddonfield on Friday night. It was a good start for that weekend. I was next to the Hadrosaur statue once again. It reminded me of my first appearance to this event. The next day, my other 2 shows were approaching. Emely decided to join me once again for both of these shows. The Gloucester City show was out at their riverfront park. I wasn’t too impressed with the spot we were at. We were pretty far from the other vendors and this was the second time that happened. Next time, I’m gonna ask for a different spot. It was somewhat hot that day. There wasn’t a whole lot at the show, but it went well for the both of us. The next day, we took off to the Ultimate Shindig show in Somerdale, NJ. This show was pretty much dead, but it was enjoyable. It was dead due to the hot weather and every time that happens, everyone goes off to the shores. This was an indoor show. It wasn’t too far from home. It was nice to see some good friends at this show though.

I was looking forward to the next shows to come and it turns out I was in for a rude awakening. Before that, I had another round of the First Friday event which went pretty well. I was invited to 2 shows that were to come. One of them took place in Erial, NJ called WOW! Science Camp and the other as located in Pine Hill,NJ. That show was called Thanks to you for giving Arts festival. These 2 shows were a disappointment. I’m glad Emely didn’t tag along. She woulda hated it. The first one was in some type of dance hall and it was completely dead. There was a flea market that was across the street from us and they had the same problem. That show just took place at the wrong location. Not even the sponsors of the show were impressed. I saw it in their eyes. The only thing that was good at this show was meeting the good people who came out and sharing some tips for future reference to craft shows. I met someone who makes great gift baskets and another who makes cool things with baby supplies. I should contact this person by the time I have kids someday. I also got acquainted with one of the sponsors. Her name is Annette. She does fundraisers in festivals. After the show, I helped her and her daughter wrap everything up. Hopefully, I will see them again someday. Two weeks later, I attended this next show in Pine Hill, NJ. I got this invitation from the sponsors of some cancer research thingy. This took place at a baseball field. I was told that they got my info from the Magnolia Mayfair I did last year. Even the location at this show looked the same. Instead of hectic windy weather, it was a hot one again. As a result, the show was dead as well. This show didn’t entertain me very well. I could not wait til the end of it so after the show, I took my girlfriend out to Friendly’s. It never fails.
I decided to lay low for a while. On an urgent move, I received an e-mail from my friend Ilan from last year’s Marlton show. She told me that she was unable to make it to her next show due to family reasons so she asked me to fill in for her at this next show. I decided to fill in for her for this next show. This is another new show for me to do. This took place at a Jewish church in Cherry Hill, NJ. It was called M’Kor Shalom. This was an outdoor show. I didn’t do too badly at this show. I wouldn’t mind doing this show again sometime. Since this was Ilan’s show, we decided to split the money I made. 50/50 pretty much did it. A week later, I came out at First Friday once again. I did well in that’s how as well.

As July was approaching, things were about to get intense. Ilan told me about a show in Philadelphia that she did. It was called Headhouse Square in Philadelphia. I was thrilled on the details she gave me. I signed up for the ones in August, but I decided to do it early for one day early as a sneak peek for me. It was an all day show. It was a nice place to have a show. The sales weren’t too bad. I did well for a start. This next one took place 2 weeks later and it was another new one for me. Yes indeed. This next show took place in Long Beach Island, NJ (LBI). I kept on hearing from every craft vendor to do a show around the beach so I did that. Yeah, the wait was over. The ones who were in charge were the sponsors of the Cherry Hill show. It was nice seeing them again. This show was a two day event and it had a big downfall. It was extremely hot that day. It was 110. Thank God I had a cooler with ice cold drinks. I invited my friend Christine to the show because she lives in LBI and she was right there. The heat was so bad, I saw someone leave in an ambulance. I’m guessing it was dehydration from the heat. I was feeling like crap too and When Christine arrived, she was feeling the effects from the heat wave too and I told her to leave before the heat gets you too. No kidding, the heat tried to kill us all. As for my sales, I did well. I felt like I was risking my life for a good sale. After the show, Christine let me stay at her place for the night, saving me the trouble from a long drive back home. Also, I haven’t seen or talked with my friend in ages so it was catching up time. As the next day came by, I left Christine’s place to go back to the LBI show. I bought more ice and drinks at Wawa for another hot one. Fortunately, the heat went easy on us. Also, I decided to form my display booth into my old school look to get the customer’s attention and it worked like a charm. When my sales finally picked up, I was like, “THAT’S MORE FUCKING LIKE IT!!!” lol. I also got acquainted with a couple of face painters who were right beside me. Their work was awesome. One of them bought one of my figurines. The figurine was King Boo was Mario Bros. These two face painters were Rachel and Katie. I got a chance to get to know them. They are good people. They gave me info on future shows. It was nice of them. As the show was coming to an end, a thunderstorm was closing in and I think we could all use that. Also, we had to be quick to pack up our stuff before we all get soak and wet from the rain. I pretty much left happy from another job well done. If I ever return to this show, I’m bringing a bathing suit to go to the beach.

As August came, I started the month with another 3 day weekend with the craft shows. I had my finale to First Friday @ Haddonfield and not only that this show wasn’t successful this time, but I wasn’t feeling too well. A day before the show, I ended up getting a stomach virus that made me feel like shit. I felt like I was gonna collapse, but the worst part was over before the show. I said that the show didn’t go well because the streets of Haddonfield were having a sidewalk sale and me and every other craft vendor wasn’t getting any sales. Everyone was mostly focused on the sidewalk sale. I only sold 2 figures that night, but it didn’t bother me too much because it was free to get in to the show and I didn’t feel like doing anymore first Fridays for the year. Next day, I started my weekly event to Headhouse Square in Philadelphia. The one I had after the first show of August was a different show. I wouldn’t say it was a show, but close enough. Kim invited me to some small event hosted by a tattoo parlor called Twisted Visions, located in Clementon. I met the people there. They were cool. This was more like a friend’s get-together in craft show style. For the vendors, there was me, Kim and some other vendor. Kim was selling her handmade flowers. Her business was called Stylin’ Sorellas. She does a good job in making them. The rest of Kim’s family decided to come along so I was hanging with them the entire day. This small show also had free food, a martial arts demonstration, and someone actually bought in vehicle displays of a car and a Captain America Motorcycle. It was cool on how it was displayed. As the show came to an end, it made me think if I’m ever gonna do this show again. We’ll see. As for the rest of the month of August, it was all Headhouse Square. The last two shows I did from that were very successful. It was actually one way to draw the summer to a close. I wouldn’t mind doing this show once more. I didn’t enter its final show because not only I didn’t volunteer, but we were struck by Hurricane Irene and everything was cancelled. That was crazy storm, but the good thing is no one got hurt.

Alrighty then, it is the moment of truth: The Fall Festivals! I was mostly looking forward to this because this is when the craft shows are at their finest and I was right all along. It definitely gave me some results. I was involved in 5 fall festivals this year. We started things off with the Maple Shade Fall Festival. I was definitely looking forward to this show. This is one of my best shows. This year, the show was doing a tribute to the 10 year anniversary to 9/11. We also had a visit from the Phillie Phanatic. Unfortunately, not only that he was there for an hour, but he was only on one spot and I was too far off from him and alone. Otherwise, my sales took a big turn. I sold a lot that day. I came back with $500.00. I kept thinking that I surpassed my sales from my first show in Stratford, but I was wrong on that detail. I surpassed its sales, but not figure quantity. Either way, I did well. The next week, I did a new show in Swarthmore, PA called Outdoor Craft Store. This show was hosted by an old friend of mine that I used to work with. It was nice seeing her again. This show went pretty well. The location was at a college area. Being at a place made me feel young again, lol. I made at least $300 or $400 at this show. I wouldn’t mind doing this show again next time. The next one was the biggest show for me. The Stratford Fall Festival. I had forgotten how insane this show is. It kicked my ass, but it left me with another tremendous result. I made $500 at this show as well. That’s just awesome. This next one took place in Tuckerton, NJ. It was next to LBI. This show was alright. I didn’t entertain me too much. I got this invite from the face painters, Rachel and Katie. It was nice seeing them again. The kids at this show were very snotty. I don’t know what to make of that. I made $300 at this show. Not too bad. My last fall festival took place in Ventnor, NJ. It was right next to Atlantic City. This is the first time that I went to AC during the day. I t was nice everywhere. This next show took place at an elementary school. Rachel and Katie decided to tag along once more. We were indoors in the cafeteria. I didn’t do too bad at this show. I just didn’t understand why we didn’t have the show outside. It was very beautiful out there without a cloud in the sky. I think I made at least $200. Not too shabby. It definitely was a good way to wrap up the fall festivals. After the fall festivals, I decided to take a break from the shows before my final show.

One month later, I came back to do one more show. For the holiday season, I returned to the Gloucester City Holiday show. This wasn’t as big as the last time I was here, but it was good. I did some adjustments to my display booth for Christmas. I added a small pre-lit tree so I can hang up my Christmas ornaments. It was nice doing a show again from resting. I made the average amount at this show like I would normally make at a small show.

This year was definitely full of surprises. I wonder what will be in store for next year. We’ll see….