A couple weekends ago, I took Hereafter on the road and went to Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, my first craft show since the start of the pandemic. After living in Oaxaca mostly away from city life for over two years now, it felt a little strange being around so many people! I was excited to finally get to connect with customers in person and see everyone’s faces again.
Ten years ago, I set up a booth at my very first craft fair selling only wood greeting cards. This time around, I had so much more to offer, from journals to plant picks to frames and even keepsake boxes. It was interesting to see what shoppers gravitated towards, especially now that there are so many options. Not surprisingly, people loved our plant picks! They are just too cute to resist when you see them in person and make a great little gift for yourself or a friend.
Even though I’ve been selling at craft fairs for a decade now, something new we did this time was put up a “wishing tree” to encourage a moment of reflection amidst the busyness of the day. I had paper flower petals that our team made on the laser cutter for anyone to write their wishes on, then we’d tie the petals to a string adorning the front corner of our booth. It was inspiring to see when others feel the most loved or what others wish for the world and it’s something I want to continue doing at future craft fairs.
While I’d consider this weekend a success, the second day I faced something I’ve never experienced in my ten years of craft shows. I’ve never done a craft fair in the rain before, so I wasn’t at all prepared! There were flash flood alerts, rain was pouring into my booth, all my items were getting wet, and my feet were freezing! But it was in these moments that I got to feel the love and support of Chicagoans. Someone was sweet enough to stand by my booth with their umbrella to help block the rain. Another person who used to vend said their place is always open if I never need a place to keep my stuff. Someone else who had bought a card for their mom the day before brought their mom back the next day to show her my booth. It’s always nice to be around nice people.
My favorite part of all however has always been getting to meet other vendors. It’s inspiring to see what other artists and makers are passionate about. At the same time, it’s comforting to talk about the struggles that we share as small business owners. All the weeks of planning, all the prep work that goes into vending, it’s nice to know you’re not alone! Hope to see you at our next fair!
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