Well, it’s been a while, I know.
I’m in the throes of custom orders, but I thought it was time to do an update.
The One of a Kind Show was great fun, if a little exhausting. Being primarily an online seller, I do love to get out there, and let folks see, feel, and, in the case of my hats, try on my products, and to talk to people. Another favourite activity is getting out and about and seeing what my fellow amazing artisans are creating. I even did some shopping and bought myself a new dress from Frëtt Design, a Québec clothier and my favourite from last year’s Spring One of a Kind Show. I also bought myself a vintage map of Toronto pillow from my friend Helen of County Cupboard for my late, great dad’s wingback chair that I inherited:
The show itself was long:
Tuesday was move-in, where I had to set up my table with a huge cherry picker parked directly in front of my table (see right).
I came back later that evening (setup was until 10pm the night before), but it was still there. So the first day was an early morning, since it opens at 10am, but media is allowed in at 9am, and I had to get back there before 9am to make sure it actually looked okay, and to get my garland and sign pinned up.
Did I tell you the story of the garland? It was my favourite wool sweater (no, I didn’t make it, it was a store-bought gift from my husband), which finally wore through the elbows. Generally I cut up old woollens into strips and use them as the centres of my dryer balls, but I couldn’t let go of my sweater. Since it was in the same colour scheme as my logo (surprise, surprise!), I decided to felt the sweater, then cut it up and make it into a garland. That was back last September, just before the Danforth East Arts Fair. For the One of a Kind Show, I was going to buy a sign, but I still had a good portion of that sweater left, so I decided to try make my own sign. It was really not what I needed to do in the week leading up to the OOAK Show, but it turned out pretty good (not perfect, but a good first try) and it was a fun needle felting project. This photo shows the first day, before the show opened and before I turned on the lights:
Speaking of the week leading up to the OOAK Show, on the day before move-in, I received an email from a home magazine saying they wanted to include a set of my Sheepy Dryer Balls in a “laundry” issue, and they needed them by Thursday. I would have loved to have picked out or create 3 perfect specimens for them but I didn’t have any blanks left and I was packed up and ready to move in so I had to make do. I also didn’t have time to drop them off anywhere but luckily they came by and picked them up!
My friend Helen and I carpooled and shared a parking pass, which was great. I had a four friends (thankfully I have the kindest and most generous friends) come by to spell me off for a couple of hours so I could take a break each day. That was fantastic since Wednesday I started before 9am and closing time was 9pm. Thursday was the late night shopping, plus there was a new seller breakfast and info session, so we were there from about 9:30am-11:15pm. Friday and Saturday were 10am-9pm, and Sunday was 10am-7pm, plus move-out. Although Saturday and Sunday were the busiest for foot traffic, Thursday and Friday were the busiest for sales, which was interesting.
I had a great time with my Etsy Section neighbours, including Son of a Woodcutter, Misses Country, CGMonsters, and Green Honeydew (photo below doesn’t show all of our tables, as Son of a Woodcutter was beside Misses Country):
It is a fun atmosphere in the Etsy Section, as cosy as it is. The section itself is a big attraction for people, but the major drawbacks as a seller to the section is that if you are placed in the middle aisles, it gets too crowded (I felt very fortunate to be placed where I was on the outside of the section) to get around, and for each of the 50 tables in the section, you can only have a maximum of 3 people at your table at one time. That said, it was a great opportunity to get my name and products out there, it was a ton of fun, and I feel it was a great success. My Sheepy Dryer Balls also got a mention on a lovely and informative Streamlife blog in an entry about the One of a Kind Show, for which I am very grateful.
Tips for the OOAK Show if you are a vendor:
- Enlist friends to help you if you can. Even just an hour off to eat a meal quietly is a welcome break. If your friends can’t do it, employ a booth sitter for a little break.
- If you need a nap, there is a nap room. There are only 3 cots, but at least there is one!
- There is a registered massage therapist with whom you can sign up for a massage if you need one.
- Bring your own food. The show is expensive enough without adding overpriced food to your expenses. There is an artisan lounge with microwave ovens to heat up your meals, a fridge, free coffee, tea, tables and chairs, and a computer.
- Bring a bottle for water. There is an HTO water refill station, but if you forget your bottle you’ll pay $5 for water. And it is super-dry in there so you need to keep hydrated.
- I had an anti-fatigue mat upon which to stand and I think it saved me, since that floor is concrete. $25 well spent.
- Smile. Engage with folks. Stay off your phone. Meet your neighbours. Enjoy yourself. And when the final announcement is made that the OOAK Spring Show is closed, have a good hearty cheer with all of the other vendors (that was a fun surprise!)
- Use the mentor program. I wish I had done so.
Lots of family and friends came by to visit and cheer me on, which was a real treat. Here’s a photo of a local friend and Swag Sisters owner, Guy, and I having some fun with hats late on Thursday night. (Incidentally, I am in the Frëtt Design top that I bought at last year’s Spring OOAK Show.) Thanks, Erin (also of Swag Sisters fame!), for taking the photo.
During the OOAK Show, I received a message from someone in the US who loved the Toronto iPad Mini sleeve, but she keeps chickens, so she was wondering if I could make her an iPad sleeve with a chicken on it. So after the OOAK Show was over, I got to work on that, which was a totally fun project! She has since received it and is very pleased:
The other custom orders I have been working on have been custom sizes for Toronto tea cosies.
Next up are a couple of custom Teavana cosies, one with the Eiffel Tower and one with a carousel. I will post those when they are complete, but my rough sketch for the carousel is:
And finally, last week I taught another needle felting class at The Purple Purl, which was great fun, as always. Bunnies are an ambitious project for a first class, but we mostly fared well, and here are our results:
There are a few other things in the pipe, but they will have to wait until next time.