I got back a few days ago from and arts and crafts show where I was an exhibitor. Such a strange word and such an odd position for an introvert like me! My first show ever was our state’s homeschooling convention….three years ago. That was a lovely show for me and finding other shows seemed the next step. I did not want to wholesale my wares….I like that my papers pass through my hands many times as I make them, and as someone chooses to purchase them….I like that they never sit neglected on a dusty shelf in a shop somewhere or are stuffed in a shopping bag by someone who doesn’t appreciate them. So my website and retail shows seemed the way to go.
When I began Small Meadow Press, I found each show that I tried an adventure. Most worked out pretty well. Tho’ my creations appeal to a rather small segment of the population, that small segment found me often enough to make shows worthwhile and truly gratifying. For my customers, there is nothing like being able to see the true colors of the ink on a card, feel the handmade paper of the envelope files or the scent of the lavender filling the sachets! For me, there is nothing like hearing the sighs of someone who identifies with a quote they are reading on a missive, to hear about the person a notecard set is destined for or just to chat about Jane Austen or birds or books.
When a show is well-attended and has a happy and attractive atmosphere, it is not a bad place to spend a few days. It is hard to be shut up in a climate-controlled building, but I try to make my booth as “sunny” and pleasant as possible and always have a book to read and small things to cut and fold. But I had my first really dismal show this past weekend and that has made me think. Of course, I have thought about this all along, especially when a show is slow and I am sitting and sitting in my little corner and feeling very conspicuous. But I have really been thinking since this last show.
I never attended arts and crafts shows of this type before I became an exhibitor at them. Shows in large venues that charge admission. When my husband and I started courting, that began my delight in small, arty, outside shows. But I cannot do outside shows! What a frustration…..a bit of humidity, wind or rain and that is that. I did try one once, but an April shower came and the paper began to curl. So I continue to try shows that I hear about, trying to find the right fit.
How much I appreciate the people who do support me and so many others by attending shows of all sorts. It will be lovely to keep meeting kindred spirits face-to-face. And what an amazing venue for exhibition is this world wide web! A very good fit for we home-loving women. And I have been blessed this week to receive several nice web orders that take the sting out of the sad show last weekend. That is my ultimate goal, to stay home more and reach people through the website and only do the sweet-sort-of-shows. If you know of any of these ( in Virginia ) you will let me know, won’t you?