Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Ego Has Suffered a Blow Thanks to PVC and Marshmallows

Dear Log,
Yesterday my ego was taken down a few notches at the hands of sports-team-theme fleece blankets and marshmallow guns made out of PVC.  I was seated among the two at the St. Joseph's Band Craft Fair in Cottleville where, much to my chagrin, the marshmallow guns (pea shooters, basically) sold out within three hours and my work was continuously passed up for fleece Mizzou scarves.  Granted, this was in a school cafeteria, and children aren't going to give a hoot about my photography work, and the stitching along the edges of the blankets and scarves did look very nicely done.  It's just so frustrating for multiple people to come up to my table and compliment my work (I heard the words "great idea," "unique," "stunning," and "cute[?]" several times), not buy anything, then move to the table next to me and go crazy over a Curious George fleece item.  Needless to say, I did not do as well as I wanted, and this is not the first time I've felt this way.  The past few shows I've been in have been shows put on by cool people, and I've found myself more frustrated than having fun and more irked about the time and money I spent on creating my items than keeping a positive attitude.  So I ask you, Log, where do I fit in the crafting world?!  Do I keep my chin up and keep making coasters, magnets and note cards?  Or do I try to get rid of the rest of my inventory and tell myself that I gave it a year and it's time to move on?  My thoughts are that I should stop trying to craft for an income supplement and do it as a hobby instead.  I am just about IN love with the people I have met through the Craft Mafia, Show Me Etsy, and EtsyVeg, and I don't want to stop associating with them.  This would mean, though, that I would have to switch up the craft entirely, because photography crafting to me right now only connotes a semi-failed attempt at income.  Perhaps I'll take up cross stitching and stitch silly phrases for fun instead.  Or I could cross stitch the likenesses of my favorite people over and over and over again.  I could have a Christian Bale cross stitched piece on every wall of my apartment...

Thanks for listening, Log!


  1. Timely post. Julie, I'm right there with you and am feeling the same sentiments right now, too. And I had a similar craft show experience this week, and I'm going to see how this holiday season fares for me and re-evaluate things early next year. I want this business to work, but it is a business, after all, and setting emotion aside (I *love* what I do), I'm not going to continue to pour my most precious resource (time) into a business that isn't generating income. My thinking is that life is too big and too short to spend it banging my head against a wall. I hope to see you at the next sme meeting!

  2. Hang in there toots. No matter what you decide to do, all your crafty pals will still think you're great! You're very talented and it baffles me that people would rather buy marshmallow guns than your totally kick ass stuff. I don't get it. For me, I consider my first year an experiment. Some venues will be great, some will suck and I'll learn a lot along the way so I can be more savvy in the future which will hopefully translate in to greater income.

  3. Hi Julie,
    I followed your link from the craft mafia email. I'm not sure how long you have been at selling your work, but I'm assuming not too long? I'm a little behind on getting to know everyone in the craft mafia right now. When I first joined the craft mafia it was really small and I was really new at trying to make money off stuff I'd made. I had a lot of shows/listings on ebay that were just a bust although I'd get lots of compliments on my work. I did gypsy caravan with April and my sister Catie and none of us sold crap and took a beatin' with the crazy stuff people would say as they passed by. We watched as some crazy toy with a motorized tail sold out across from us. Don't give up. I seriously contemplated giving up doing crafts for a living but didn't and the last two years have made some more serious cash at the bigger show. I'm not making very much money each year, but I have four kids that I homeschool so I'm basically getting out of it what I'm putting in right now. I think your stuff is great. Sometimes it just takes a while to get out there and get recognized, figure out which shows to do and which to avoid, etc.
    sarah (House Shoe Mama)

  4. Well, your first mistake was doing any show with the words "Saint" or "Band" in the title :)
    Many times, Beqi and I sat at church/school affairs and watched folks sell TONS of wrapping paper and cinder block snowmen.
    It might just be that you have to find the right place to sell your stuff, like a fancy gift boutique in Ladue or something.
    I would love Maggie coasters...and imagine other folks would treasure having such a permanent reminder of their doggies/kitties.
    Hang in there!