My first “craft fair” was a big one. It was actually not my very first, there was one held on a card table in a hallway that no one frequented in the winter, but I am not going to count that one.
No, my first one was the Hoboken Art and Music Fair in Hoboken, NJ. There were over 300 vendors and, in a town with a population of over 50,000 (2010 US Census Bureau) in one square mile, a lot of residents, not to mention visitors. Think Mumbai or maybe just about any town in Hudson County, NJ.
Anyway since I have justified “big” let me get down to the experience, what happened and what I learned.
Having spent much of the winter producing “product”, I was ready to go. I had the tent, I had the tables and the chairs, one for myself and one for anyone else who cared to spend the day, racks to hang photos and bins for customers to sort through. I had the iPad and Square for credit cards and about $300.00 in singles for change, maybe a little overkill there. I even had the car, or so I thought, having had to give up my Jeep Wrangler for the ubiquitous Ford Escort, the “art car” as someone so kindly called it (a minor miscalculation, bad math, I should have gone with the Edge, the racks did not fit).
Then came the anticipation. The event was to be on Sunday, May 1st. I got increasingly anxious. I could not manage the tent by myself, I would not make the sign in time, I would forget something and on and on. It pored on Saturday, I packed up half the car on Saturday night, unpacking, rearranging, repacking, no way those racks were going to fit. Wet and exhausted I called it a night, never checking my email. The rain was so heavy, the event was canceled, but there would be a rain date, June 12th.
I was much more calm when the new day rolled around, after all I had almost done it once. Things went well and I sold enough to cover the cost of the tent and part of the entry fee. Since then I have done two more. I am able to take the tent down by myself, given up on the racks and covered the cost of my investment. I have also learned the difference between art and craft. Art, it seems, is about me and people at craft fairs don’t buy me. Craft is about the buyer. It is about them and fits in with their life style and decor.
It’s back to the studio.