I sat in my booth at my first big craft fair thinking “what in the world am I doing here?” Hundreds of people passed me up without so much as a glance at my precious baby gifts. I had worked so hard. Hours at the sewing machine, ironing, packaging, researching. I had made my husband drag half the house to the show to use for displays. He helped me set up and everything looked cute as can be. I took a peek around the other booths and did not see any other vendors devoted to baby merchandise.
I tried to play my lullaby CD for people to hear as they walked by, but the overhead music was loud enough that no one noticed it. I thought about standing near the front of the booth and grabbing visitors as they came by, but then I didn’t want to get thrown out of my first vendor fair. I also noticed that the large majority of people were over the age of 60. Hmmm…wouldn’t you think they would be grandparents? Wouldn’t you think they would want some baby stuff for their grandchildren???? Where were all the expectant mothers in this town? And where are all my friends who said they would stop by?? Panic was starting to set in. And so was a large dose of self pity.
I had an urge to start handing out stuff free of charge just to get rid of it. I got control of my emotions and did some serious self talk. It was time to realize that I was not in control of my business – I had given it to God. I wanted this experience to be one of direction from Him. I had asked Him to show me which way to go with my business. A nice lady at a jewelry booth across the way was so sweet and gave me the advise to “not get discouraged.” I knew that if I was trusting God, I would not be discouraged. I wondered how long it would take for me to release the feeling of disappointment. After all, if I only gained experience and knowledge from this weekend, it would be worth it. My biggest desire is to discover the direction I seek. Financial reward would just be a bonus – although a welcomed one. Maybe us crafters need a bail out too!
Well by the end of the first day I had not yet earned enough to pay the booth fee. But I had gained some idea of what customers liked and what they were not interested in. That was worth a lot to me to know what I could lay down and what I needed to keep working on. It’s often the non-monetary things that give us the most benefit in the long run. My friends and family keep telling me that it takes time to develop a product and know how to market it. Patience is not my strongest character trait, so here I go, learning to lean not on my own understanding of business and life.
Many more lessons to learn. Let me know if you feel the same.