Top of the morning to you! I had a great weekend filled with vending at two different events. One was the Colonial Park UMC Fall Arts & Crafts Festival and the other was the 4th Annual Purple Meets Pink Affair (for Domestic Violence Survivors & Breast Cancer Survivors). Let’s get the WOES out of the way, shall we?
The Woes: I was affected by the storm and tornado that came through on Monday morning of last week. My power was out until FRIDAY evening and I had my entire week planned to finish up and prepare for both events. I had to crochet in the day and go to my parents in the evening and return home at night. It was cold at night and I have Rheumatoid Disease. I layered my quilts. I eventually got a hotel room Thursday night until Saturday morning. I crocheted all Friday night and slept for 4 hours and did the event. In the midst of this I finalized the ending of a relationship after seeing something with my own eyes. This person was also suppose to help me with both shows. I had no idea how I was going to do all of this. I was incredibly STRESSED and in so much pain. My daughter called me from college Friday and said “Mom, my classmate is coming home and I am going to ride to come and help you with your events.” She had no idea about the power being out, nor the break up. I did not want to concern her with those things because she should be focused on her classes. I was exhausted before she ever arrived. I did tell her once she got here. She was a HUGE help as she has been my helper as long as she could walk and talk lol. Anyways, I made it through both events and the last one I had to do all by myself, but she helped load everything into the car before she returned to school on Sunday. I had two very supportive phone calls from one stranger during that week about the break up, depression and anxiety. She is an in your face truth kind of person. I needed that. Plus, I realize Mercury is in Scorpio and this is the season of BOLD TRUTH AND BRUTAL HONESTY. Boy did I get a HEAP (as my granny would say) of that at the end of this relationship. A HEAP (just had to say it again).
Now on to TRIUMPH!
The rain slowed the crowd down at the Arts and Crafts festival that morning. But then as I suspected and prayed for, all of us vendors in my area were praying, the rain slacked and the people came in like a flood! I sold so much of my crocheted items and even a piece of art! I met numerous vendors, received great advice and made many connections. I also learned of more places I could vend and sell. I also learned how to get into the fairs that come to our city. I learned about a huge event in St. Louis. It was a great Saturday although I was tired, in pain, and I slept like a log when I did get home. I put on my smiling face and greeted every customer.
Sunday I was ready to go to the second event. The event itself was inspiring and once again I met some great business owners. I shopped with them and they with me. I did very well at this event for it to me a small crowd. The people there were very supportive and so were the vendors.
Here are some photos of the other amazing and gifted vendors from both events. Plus, the things I purchased!
This is my haul from the events. It’s important to support other vendors!
A few weeks ago I tried a pattern with chunky yarn and it looked nothing like the photo. After what we call “frogging” the project and many attempts, I came up with my own way of doing it. I was pleased and so were the people I made them for. I figure sometimes this happens not only when a person creates a pattern, but also when manufacturers don’t give clear and concise instructions. I see it often in the crochet and knitting groups. We are all about making adjustments!
Saturday, I had my first opportunity as a vendor for my crocheted items. It was an awesome opportunity to gain experience, meet new customers, and network with other vendors who are also African American. It has nothing to do with exclusion, but it has everything to do with building and creating opportunities for crafts, small businesses, exposure, and financial gains for businesses that are often overlooked or unheard of. We are also able to keep each other informed on bigger craft shows and opportunities to support each other. This is a plus for ALL women as we began to included each other and support each other’s ventures. Friendships and partnerships are often made.
My next vendor adventure will be a very big one at the Colonial Park Church in my city. It is a Fall Festival I have always known about before I began to crochet. I have never been, but it’s a family friendly event that involves the entire community. Needless to say, but saying it anyway, I am anxious about it. I was very anxious about the one I did yesterday and nervous because it was my first time. I was filled with doubt and prepared myself that if I didn’t sell one thing I had at least taken the first step. I had no idea how to set my table up so I reached out to other crafters, women from all over the world that gave me tips, shared pictures, and some that never did a craft show but wanted to wish me luck and pray that I sell boat loads as one said. I did sell some things and I was pleased with the outcome! I was pleased to network and purchase from two other vendors. I was pleased to meet new customers. I was pleased that I was offered more opportunities. I am now less anxious about next Saturday. I had to talk to myself the entire time I was on the way there. Therapy helps. I used the tools I was given and was able to calm my anxiety.
Afterwards, I had to pack up and get things back in the car. Here is where RA/RD and fibromyalgia is major factor. Well, that morning I had no help to load my car. My daughter was with her father. When I arrived, I had some help getting things out, then I had to set up on my own, break it down on my own, and I had help loading my car. But, when I got home, guess what? I had to take some things out and the other stuff is still in there. My body was so sore and achy BEFORE I even left the event or began to pack up. This was from just loading up everything to get there. Needless to say, the rest of the evening I was incredibly sore and I had to take pain medication for my pain. Sunday, was a little bit better and today is much better physically except my hands are still achy and I have been having some shoulder and back issues before all of this. BUT, I am so proud of myself to push past anxiety, my shyness (believe it or not), and put my side hobby out there. And it helped to have the support of a crafting community, friends, and family that cheered me on. This one reason I try to cheer others on. I know how important it is.
There are just somethings in this life you have to take by the horns and fix it yourself. I waited until the last minute to resolve an issue. I sought wise counsel and I got great, but mixed advice. I thought I saw the right thing to do or was it that I saw what I wanted to see? I thought I felt the right thing to do, but it was too hard to do. I was vexed in my spirit for two weeks! I knew all along what had to be done. I only wish I would have done it sooner.
The lessons and reminders for me are:
- Leadership requires making hard decisions sometimes
- This wasn’t a Fix it Jesus moment. This was a moment of growth in my journey. It was very uncomfortable. I had to work through that emotionally and I am still working through that.
- Vibes and energy are important. If you don’t feel it or them, if they do not feel you, just don’t mix it with business or pleasure. People are responsible for the energy they bring to you and you are responsible for yours. You can put out good energy and they can still bring their weird or bad vibes. What are you going to do?
- If you are in business, you should bring good energy and vibes. You are providing a service, but people are paying you for it. Why would you bring bad juju? 😀
- You are not asking for a favor, you are acquiring a service. (wise counsel)
- Keep it short, don’t go into detail if you feel they won’t be receptive anyway, and keep it professional. (wise counsel)
- They told you how they felt about you through actions and attitude. It’s okay to do what you need to do. (God, Holy Spirit)
- This helped to decipher if I were being sensitive or if this was my GUT speaking. Hence, feeling vexed versus hurt feelings. My gut was practically screaming!
- You know what energy you want to bring to an event. You know your audience. Trust yourself to cut what doesn’t flow.