Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh the fun we've had

Over the last three years I've tried out many different types of arts and crafts fairs. Slowly I'm learning which ones I tend to do best at. I'm also learning the flip side of that coin: the kinds of fairs I want to avoid like the plague!

With that said, I composed this little list, while sitting at my booth at a rather disappointing fair recently (I won't mince words: it was the Alameda Art and Wine Fair.) If I offend anyone, I apologize. Mostly, I just wanted to share this as a way of commiserating with my fellow artisan vendors. Some days are rough, and some days are rougher than others!

I give you: "A fun little list of a few of the reasons why I won't be selling at a certain kind of craft fair ever again"

1. Men who see a woman working at a booth by herself and automatically think she needs help/wants to talk to you/is lonely.

2. When people pick up my jewelry, look at it with disdain, and then drop it back on the table in a jumble of chain, pendant and what not. It's not garbage to just be thrown about!

3. People who try to haggle. Especially if the piece has already been discounted for a sale. You are not at a garage sale. Nor are you at a flea market. Enough said.

4. When people quite audibly criticize the design/color/length what-have-you of some or any of my designs. It's not that people can't have differing opinions, I just ask that people be respectful.

5. When people leave food crumbs/wine stains/beer cans on my displays.

6. When people allow their kids to come and pick up/mess up/ruin my displays and or jewelry. I understand that kids want to see things, and that's okay, I just want the parents by their side!

7. Women who set their ginourmous purses on my displays and jewelry. Then they scooch it out of the way! And of course, all of the jewelry gets scooched right along with it.


9. The general overall taste level - by which I mean, the booths that are the busiest, guaranteed, are the ones selling the cheaply made imports. Do people come to these arts and crafts fairs to see arts and crafts or to see a giant outdoors WalMart?

10. Women who have to get their boyfriend's/husband's okay on the taste level of a piece of jewelry before they buy. This is what I want to say to these women: "Honey, do you like it? That's what should matter!"

11. When the vendor next to you is handing out fliers and they keep deciding that the best place to do this is standing right in front of your booth.

12. Drunk people.

13. When your booth is set up right next to another booth selling noise-makers for kids. And you get to listen to kids playing with those noise makers all day. ALL DAY!

Okey dokey! I'm dying to hear from some other vendors. Got something to add to the list?


  1. Ah, you're bringing back some really bad memories, but thanks for the laughs. As for #7: "the ones selling the cheaply made imports", we used to call this stuff "sh*t on a stick". Anyway, my all-time least favorite is the person who picks up something carefully handmade and says: "I could make that" and walks away...

  2. oh, dear! i have done fairs selling my own baked goods and i know the personal attachment to peoples' reactions...but now, working with a jeweler who is selling at markets, i have an expanded view... :)

    1. gotta love the people who think you're there to socialize...i have gotten pretty good at talking for a minute or so and then getting really distracted and making it known i'd like them to either buy something or leave :)
    2. a subtle scowl and 'oh, please be careful with that' works for me on that one...
    3. yuck! if only they knew the deal they were already getting! i like to say 'we put a lot of work into those pieces and that's already quite a deal. i'm sorry, i can't discount it further.' and then i move on to another customer or sip my coffee.
    4. oh, no! this is the fun time, in your head to say something like: 'yeah? well that shirt you're wearing is a little too tight, lady.'
    5. grumble. just rude. not much to be done..
    6. yep, it happens. maybe move the super delicate things back so the kids have more trouble reaching them...a candy bowl? distract em :)
    7. as soon as that happens, you tell em to move that whale satchel! not cool.
    8. oh man, totally avoidable frustrations though! bungees and binder clips and bigger clamps, galore. secure that bidness DOWN.
    9. disheartening...but...some of those folks work hard, too :) i guess you gotta ask if you're making things that you want to put out there or things that you think people want out there? probly a little of both...and i think people aren't yet generally at that place where they recognize how essential good quality and originality is...but they will..your things are amazing.
    10. just be glad it's not you. can you imagine?? too bad we can't also sell self esteem. alas, that may sell REALLY poorly :)
    11. right away, you gotta stop that shizzle.
    12. yuck! guess it's a good call to find out if it's that kinda fair...because those suckers can be tiresome!!
    13. yeah, out of control. let's start a committee to ban those noisemakers from the markets. the worst!
    hang in there, mamacita. you make beautiful things and this struggle is all part of the progression :) the BEST part is when your vendor neighbor is a really cool one you can commiserate with :)

  3. Heidi - I hear you!

    Keri - thanks for all of the positive words! I completely agree with you on nearly every account. I mostly wanted to post this as a way to connect with other vendors. When you vend often all of the crap-ola can kind of start to accumulate in your head if you don't let it out. I can only imagine the unique situations you must deal with selling perishable baked goods!