Monday, November 22, 2010

Bring Your Dollar(s) to the Craft Fair!

Mary Ching's Lauhala Hat Kitchen Towels are 3-D!
It's not a good thing when a craft fair is only four hours long and yet I have time to make a few bracelets plus take a tour of the fair photographing crafts.  Yes, it was a somewhat slow morning for me at the King Kaumualii  craft fair last Saturday, but as we vendors often say, "Better than staying at home!" (As long as, of course, you make enough to cover your table fee and the materials you used.)  Of course I actually love staying home playing Bejeweled or watching YouTube, but yeh, can't make money doing that.

Carolyn Ogata's Cupcake Potholders
The Ogatas' Geta Table Accessories
Despite selling my handcrafted clothing for almost 20 years, I often come across people on Kauai who have never seen my work. Craft fairs have been popular for even longer than my 19 years in the business, but obviously not everyone attends craft fairs. We should be urging attendance not just to "keep it local," but because there are many creative and quality products being produced in a diningroom or spare room near you! There are hundreds of other very unique products, but pictured here are just a few.

If you haven't been to a craft fair in recent years, try attending one again.  They're not as crowded as they used to be--which is sad for us crafters, but good news for you shoppers!  At Hawaii craft fairs--and I'm sure the same can be said for craft fairs throughout the U.S.--you are purchasing quality products that are made by your neighbors rather than supporting foreign products, often of lesser quality.  Ask for a business card or receipt so if in case of a problem you can contact the crafter.  Return/exchange policies differ with each vendor, but many are very accommodating. 
Crocheted Potholder Gift Pack

Charlene Adric's Platter Gift Pack
Many vendors make gift-giving a cinch by preparing gift packs for you.  I loved Charlene Adric's very creative idea of writing, printing, and assembling her own mini-cookbooks and including one in each of her colorful and attractive kitchen gift sets.   (Reminder:  Click on any image to see a larger version.)

Pam Coyamin's Potluck Must-Have's
 A couple of my favorite items were what I call "potluck must-haves" made by Pam Coyamin.   The first is a 9 x 13 pan cover.  No more messing with foil that won't stay on, no more having a lift up the cover to peek at the contents, and no more condensation problems.  I can't wait to use mine!  Next to it on the table were soda box covers.  OMG!!  The aluminum foil business is in serious trouble here!!  You will be the hit of the potluck with these items no matter how bad a cook you are! *LOL*

Miss Hillary Handbags is much more than handcrafted bags!
 If there was an Eye Candy award for this fair,  I would give it to Hillary Akau. She has a very eye-catching "boutique" of a table that would catch any girly girl's fancy.  You want to just eat her creations, but you have to wear them instead.  Visit her Etsy store at . 

Pink and green is a combination I find irresistible!

One Size black iris dress
 As I'm writing this I'm wondering why I'm showing you everyone else's craftwork and not my own? Am I beyond shameless self-promotion? Heck no! At the fair while I was selflessly photographing the other crafters' creations to feature here, it never occurred to me to photograph my I ran just now to take some photos (notice the closet door backdrop)! [Again, click on any photo for a larger version.]

Black tank "3 Cards" design
Men's Texas Orange Palm Pocket
If you've been following the local news, we micro business people--much smaller than small business--are now under scrutiny because apparently the State suspects we're making billions in cash that we're not reporting.  That's pretty sad, but understandable giving the shortfall of funds that the government is experiencing.  Craft vendors have been doing less and less business each year from what I hear from my "co-workers" and in my own experience.  I've had my GET license for the 19 years I've been in business so it doesn't affect me much, but it's a tad annoying that Walmart can make billions using cheap Chinese labor and those of us here at home trying to compete with that are being "nickeled and dimed." 

So take your dollah to a craft fair please! Speaking of which, Russell Peters will be at the Blaisdell this Saturday! Check him out here: my "You Save Fifty Cents Here" blogpost.

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