Well, we lived through our first FULL Calendar year as a business from January through December. Quite an accomplishment!
And we're happy to report that (knock on wood) between "Mostly Monsters" & a part-time job at Mickey D's, we were able to cover 100% of Taylor's College tuition (so far) AND buy a much-needed camera to further her Film Career (95% of the way to the laptop for editing too!!!)
But we're far from done! We've just started on our journey with the monsters, and 2014 will be the time for us to reflect, assess, and GROW!
Our last show of 2013 was a small one...a last-minute opportunity offered by our friends KELLY from "Ms Formaldehyde" and CHRISTY from "My Lucky Dragon", who pulled together a wonderful group of local artists for a last-chance-to-shop-before-Christmas show. Somehow, we were the ONLY artisans to set-up INSIDE the shop, and boy, were we grateful to be warm, dry, and inside! The Coffee Corner in Santee is beautiful, with comfy sofas, a warm electric fireplace, even a cute conference room decorated with books and vintage accessories (Taylor fell in love with the old typewriter!)
And the coffee....YUMMMMMMM!!! We tried the "Funky Monkey"- banana, coconut, and a hint of chocolate- so delicious (and I don't even LIKE coffee!) Then there was the "OCD", listed on the menu as Orange Cream Delight (or something along those lines.) Anyone remember Swensen's Ice Cream Parlors? They used to make this amazing Ice Cream that was my all-time favorite...Swiss Orange Chip. Super-intense Chocolate with ORANGE. TO DIE FOR! I got it frozen blended and it was HEAVEN! If you're in Santee in the near future, we recommend this place...and the family running it is fantastic too!
So before the year is over, here are a few pics from the last show of 2013:
After last night's mini-craft show, we're down to only 1 show to go for the rest of the year! It was a little show, and got pretty Cooooooold (reminding us why we usually stick with indoor shows!), but boy, was it festive! Lots of lights, music, and Hot Cocoa for everyone- guests and crafters alike!
Best moment of the night: earlier in the week, Sabrina attended "Crafty Conspiracy Night" with the Craft Mafia, and taught a (bored?) teenager- a complete stranger- the basics of how to make her OWN little Thumbkins as gifts for her friends. This girl was so excited to learn to sew something she SQUEALED and practically danced out the door. So at last night's show, she came BACK to show us her finished project, and even "dolled him up" with a tiny candy cane and hat made of pipe-cleaners! Now that's paying it forward to the next generation of crafty people, and that makes us happy!
If you haven't yet visited this store, it's a little gem! They've got beads, beads, more beads, and our favorite part- FABRIC! When we weren't in the middle of a sale last night, we found every excuse to sneak inside and peek around, and came home with some AMAZING fabrics we can't wait to use! While the main focus of the store is Native American Craft Supplies, they have plenty of other things to choose from! We're anxious to start working wit the Japanese Lucky Cat fabrics and Sock Monkey prints we bought last night!
"Dancing Bear Indian Trader" is at a new address (but in the same shopping center as before) at 1118 West Valley Parkway in Escondido, very easy to find off i15.
Find more at: www.dancingbearindiantrader.com
Happy and exhausted after a long day and our third show of the week, so not a lot to say, except "Project Messy" was even better than expected!
As a new show, there are of course "growing pains" and things the learn as you go, but we were pleasantly surprised at how pretty the place was inside, how nice the other vendors were to chat with, and how WONDERFUL the customers were! Sales exceeded expectations, and were thrilled to get a chance to do some shopping ourselves!
Sometimes, the smallest shows are the most fun to do!
(And of course, a detour to Mitsuwa Marketplace on the way home doesn't hurt anything!)
Only two shows left...
Wednesday find us at DANCING BEAR INDIAN TRADER, and
Friday, find us at the SANTEE COFFEE CORNER!
(See our section "Amazing Shows & Awesome Events" for details.)
Many thanks to the PURSEMAFIA for inviting us to participate in their Holiday Boutique, POPPED UP in the Club House! We walked into it having no expectations, but hoping for a little fun, and to offer a chance for our local friends to stop by and say "HI!" since we were close to home.
Unfortunately, Taylor had to work, so Sabrina was left to set-up and run the booth alone. Special thanks to our new and adorable 4 year old friend "HAYDEN with an "H"" (she didn't explain how to spell the rest of her name!) for all her offers to help set-up (BTW, she did a great job helping to sort our penguins from our bunnies and putting fuzzy hats on the rack!) Turned out to be a WONDERFUL little show with the nicest bunch of people ever, and all the guests were really there to SHOP!
Our event started with a BANG when our dear friend Stephanie came by with her daughter while we were still setting up and bought an armload of goodies... that was the turnaround for our week! (Had just been chatting with friends how the week needed a reset button...boy, this was IT!) Before three hours were up, we'd SOLD OUT of Indoor Snowballs, sold lots of HATS, many bags full of stocking stuffers, and 6 of our Cuddle Monsters found new homes with orders for two more in custom colors! (It got so busy we couldn't even take pics, and there were some Kodak-worthy moments in there!)
The night ended with some new friends, new connections made, and lots of great drinks and snacks to boot. Special thanks to new friend DANIELLE for helping to drag all our displays and bags out to the car as well as giving a surprise gift, and for calling the missing cell phone to figure out where it disappeared to! You were an angle in disguise, and Santa should bring you extra goodies in your stocking this year! The best new friends can be found at Craft Shows!
And thanks again to PURSEMAFIA...sure hope we can do this again!!!
This time of year is SOOO crazy busy, it's hard to take the time to write and remember to update the show listings, but here we go...
We're counting down the last 4 Craft Shows before Christmas, and then we'll have a moment to catch our breath! (Not that we aren't already working on Valentine Monsters, Easter goodies, and even SUMMER TOTE BAG Monsters!!!)
This past Sunday was our show with the San Diego North Park Craft Mafia. The day before was SOOOOO cold and pouring rain, and many of the local shows were rained out. But on Sunday, the weather was cold but BEAUTIFUL, and we were blessed to be indoors. The show was gorgeous with a lot of wonderful "indy"-style crafters with amazing and unusual handmade merchandise, and no resale to be found- a true handcrafted market full of talented independent artists. While traffic was a little slow, our sales were GREAT! And best of all, we met some amazing new crafters and made some even more amazing connections. Don't want to "jinx" it, but sounds like we may be collaborating with a Texas Artist to bring a recurring character from her art installation to life to be sold at her event Gift Shop!!!
Many thanks to the Craft Mafia for all their hard work in bringing this group of local artists together!
So what's up for this week?
We've realized we've sorely neglected our Etsy listings...while we've been working away making custom creations for several customers and made lots of new goodies, somehow we've fallen behind on photographing and listing them! So this week is camera week, so our out-of-town customers have a chance to buy some of our favorite Christmas goodies like indoor snowballs, curly-toes stocking ornaments, and Thumbkin PENGUINS, not to mention the pile of NEW Cuddle Monsters waiting for adoption! Watch our facebook and Etsy, and we'll get those up before next weekend is over!
Also this week, we've got a show on THURSDAY, yes, that's right, THURSDAY. It's a Pop-up Party and Boutique in one right here in Chula Vista. Not a large show, but an intimate setting right here in Chula Vista, perfect for folks coming by right after work to enjoy some light refreshments while they shop. (see flier below)
And on Saturday, we'll be at "Project Messy" (flier also shown below.)
And one more wonderful show on the 21st...but more on that later.
Back to work!
As the Holiday Craft Season moves along, I've been seeing and hearing a lot of new crafters going through "growing pains" I remember going through 20 years ago. Although now we have Social networking and online shops to add to the mix, the Craft Show Scene really hasn't changed since I started. If you are not a crafter yourself, feel free to ignore this entry. But if you are a NEW crafter, I hope you will find some of these ramblings helpful. Returning to the world of local Craft Shows after 10 years away, I'm finding that I need to remind MYSELF of a few tidbits I had learned along the way ...
"BE UNIQUE"- NOBODY benefits when there are too many crafters selling the same type of item!
Why would I buy from YOU, rather than the third booth down? Don't COPY! Don't make what you see on Pinterest! Don't make things from a pattern you bought at the store and expect to make bank! Be creative, be yourself, be inspired. And if you really, really, have to make something similar to something that is available elsewhere, it better have a TWIST!
"BE PATIENT-First Paid is NOT first served!" Just because you applied to a show doesn't mean you are in! Turn in your application- being sure to include ALL information, links, and a nice set of photos to represent your merchandise & display is a plus. Then WAIT! Politely & patiently. If a show is a "GOOD" Show, they will carefully review your merchandise to make sure that your things are of high quality, they mesh well with the style of merchandise at the show, and that their show has a wide variety of items available. Some shows MAY actively seek you out in the future, or they may wait list you. And don't take it personally if you are not invited to participate this time...not everyone can get into every show. You don't know why they didn't invite you. And if they actually tell you "No Thank You", politely accept it and move on. This is not the show you are looking for.
"BE PROFESSIONAL"- Treat your crafts as a BUSINESS! Hobbies do NOT make money. The way you behave in person and online reflects on your merchandise... think 6 degrees of separation, because it will all come back around at some point, whether it is good, bad, or indifferent, so keep reminding yourself to behave in a professional manner. Reputation cannot be bought, it must be earned. And make sure you are tracking your sales and purchases, as well as having the proper Seller's Permits, etc.
"BE FRIENDLY"-A kind word and a smile can go a loooooooong way! Watch what you say in front of customers, online, and elsewhere. In this day and age, everything spreads like wildfire (more of the "6 degrees" & Karma too!) Be kind to the customers, the other crafters, the promoters...you never know who might be watching!
"BE NEAT"- After working retail as a Merchandiser for many, many years, there are more thing ingrained in my brain as far as display psychology goes than I can ever share (color coordination, themes, outfits, etc.). But I can tell you NOBODY wants to walk into a booth that is a mess! Hide your boxes under the table, tuck your purse and jacket and lunch where the customer can't see them! Keep your display organized and coordinated, but keep the eye travelling with a few places to "rest", be sure there are many "levels", and don't put decorative pieces out that don't serve a purpose...they only confuse the customers. Yes, there WILL be someone wanting to dig through your boxes as you are packing up, but that's not because of the mess...that's because they are hoping for a last-minute bargain!
"QUALITY COUNTS!!!"- Don't take shortcuts to quality! SEW rather than glue, PAINT rather than transfer, finish those seams, make it heavy-duty, whatever you have to do to make it a product the customer will love so much they will use it for years. Nothing will hurt your reputation (and your sales!) faster than shoddy workmanship.
"SALE does NOT equal SALES!!!"- Resist the temptation to mark things down for the sake of a quick sale. Okay, we've all made too many of something and wanted to get rid of them, but beware the dreaded markdown! If the item didn't sell in the first place, how can you RE-make it to make it more desirable? Was it overpriced to begin with? Or perhaps you are just trying to make more $$$...what does that say about you and your merchandise? SALE means CHEAP. So do you want the customer to think you make cheap junk? Think about it!
I invite you to comment...I hope we can gather a collection of tips to help each other out as fellow crafters!
Thoughts from the Monsters...
Sabrina & Taylor are the sole employees at "Mostly Monsters", so we :