There's a first for everything....

So most you know that I've been trying to get more business to/through my Etsy account.  I had actually thought about abandoning my small business efforts at the beginning of this summer (2012) but my awesome husband really pushed me to keep trying.  I was totally on the fence.  After all, while I have made money selling my wares I certainly haven't hit it big and I hate the waste, both physically from making items, and monetarily from buying things to make the items.  I hadn't completely decided what to do when Kelly and I and her twins A&E went on a walk through Chicago's largest and one of the most historic parks (which just happens to be in our neighborhood) and we saw this sign:
"Crafters Wanted", well...we knew where they could get some ;)  We called and got the info and without boring you with the details decided to go in on a booth together and commit to making our summer jobs be the items we'd sell at the craft fair.  I was excited for the opportunity to see people's reactions to my items and see if I had something people want.  It's hard to tell with an online ecommerce site like Etsy.  You rarely get feed back, even when people buy your items, though I have heard back from several happy clients...but I was really looking forward to doing some R&D on a face to face level.  Mick said he'd help that weekend in the tent and Kelly and I were off and running...I sewed and sewed and sewed all summer.  Bought a used pop up canopy and the day of the event to say I was excited was an understatement.  The Knights of Columbus told us that the craft fair drew close to 4-5,000 people and I just couldn't wait to hear all the ooo's and aaah's over my bibs...well there were plenty of ooo's and aaaah's but not a lot of buying.  The craft fair didn't seem to bring anyone out...just people who happened to cut through the park on their Saturday and Sunday errands...I walked around the park Saturday just after the fair opened and was so disappointed to see that over half of the booths were not even hand made items...but imported crap from China and Mexico.  Two booths down from me a guy set up several tables and was selling items like random pen and pencil sets, staplers, and post it notes for a buck...It was definitely more of a "flea market" type vibe and I, along with several other ACTUAL artist and crafters were very upset...after all the fee we paid was quite high compared to other craft fairs I had looked into.  In the end I did make back the money I'd spent on the canopy and the fee plus a bit more...Kelly didn't sell anything but she was only there Sunday and the turn out Sunday was worse than Saturday...such a disappointment.
The good thing, however, is that I did in fact get a little R&D and overall everyone LOVED my bibs and designs...I had lots of people taking my card and almost everyone who walked by the booth smiled and make positive comments. I'm still on the fence about continuing to pursue this as a side job.  I love sewing and making things.  And I really feel like I have a good product.  I actually looked up a few more craft fairs and am thinking about attending a few this fall to scope them out and go to them next year.  There's a huge one at the Lake County Fair grounds here in Illinois but it's already booked.  300 booths all gone...Kelly's Aunt Pam goes to it every year on Thanksgiving weekend so it's perfect for me as a musician.  Mick and I have decided since we're not redoing any part of the house this holiday season we will treat ourselves to a weekend looking around at that craft fair and decided if we want to be vendors for next year. 
So...that's the long and the short of it...I came, I saw, I sold (a little) and I'm looking forward to one where people actually came to see handcrafted items and not dollar store crap.  Now I just have to decide how many Christmas/Winter themed bibs/items I want to make for my Etsy shop for the upcoming holiday season....hmmmmm....and if you're in the market for some awesome HALLOWEEN or THANKSGIVING DAY bibs I got you your hook up.  Check out the WonderJo shop...they are pre-tty adorable if I do say so myself;)
Until next time!

One of the few times I've closed my eyes in a pictures...really.  But that's me on Saturday getting ready for what is surely going to be a rush of people ;)

My handsome back up man.  He manned the booth for potty breaks, ran and got us food, and set up almost everything exactly according to my layouts...I am lucky.

One of my most favorite WonderJo Designs Original.  Did you know that all of my designs are original? Drawn and crafted by can't get these ghosts anywhere else (and why would you want to???)

FLIBS! A whole rack of FLIBS!

Little Ms. Eisley L being a perfect little model in a small print Flib.  This design sold out but you can look through the rest of the WonderJo Designs stock here:

Being so adorable really takes its toll on the young ones.  Abby and Eisley just passed out from all the attention.  Good thing their FLIBS were open and ready to catch all that drool that comes with teething ;)


  1. If you scope out any new fairs for next year, let me know...since I'm planning on being "retired" I'd love to pop down for a visit and help! lover you, mom


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