Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crafting and canopies

One year ago, I joined throngs of crafters who started small businesses to escape the 9-5 grind and share our crafty goods with the world. In addition to making pretty things, I’ve spent the past year learning about marketing, production, sales, and budgets, which I’ve actually found interesting and challenging. After a long winter hiatus, I returned to selling my jewelry last weekend at the kick-off event for Seattle’s festival season, the University District Street Fair.

Whether in ignorance or denial, I didn’t let the volatile, unpredictable May weather dampen my anticipation for the start of the busy selling season. But this weekend’s weather was trying even for this Kansas native. Day one brought winds gusting up to 24 mph, pummeling my canopy to the brink of collapse. Even in clement weather, there’s plenty of work just maintaining the display and chatting it up with customers, but the stress of pending burial beneath yards of polyester was a strain. At the start of day two, my canopy was still standing in spite of enduring a long night of wind and rain. Hoping it would shelter me one more day, I bolstered it with an ingenious mechanism involving a dismembered Swiffer pole and lots of duct tape. But Sunday’s challenge wasn’t wind, but rain. “What next?”, I wondered. Locusts?

The canopy limped through the day, valiantly keeping me dry, if not warm. What was more astonishing were the thousands who joined the festivities in the full-on, unrelenting rain. Who ARE these people? On Saturday, a friendly group of tourists from Thailand stopped to ask what we were celebrating at this festival. “Capitalism”, I thought to myself. But Sunday showed me that we were actually celebrating spring, whatever it might bring: rain, shine, or both. Seattleites spend several months a year in GoreTex, and by May, we defiantly get out whether the weather cooperates or not.

At the end of a taxing, but fun, weekend, I wrung out my clothes and jumped into a hot shower with a martini (yes, I can drink in the shower). With aching feet, I sat down to a hot bowl of chili and Greg’s corn bread to reflect on the first show of the year. In spite of the weather, I pulled out a profit, most of which will go into a new canopy. Several of my loyal supporters stopped by to cheer me on. I even made a few new friends in my eclectic block of non-profit organizations (special thanks to Richard from the Mountaineers and the woman in leather from the King County Republicans who bought a necklace for a friend). And I managed to restrain myself from consuming an unreasonable about of Kettle Korn, the crack (or krack) of street fairs.

Stop by and visit me at the Fremont Fair, June 16-17. And look for me at Fremont Sunday Market, but not until it’s clear, warm, and dry.

1 comment:

Tasha said...

Emily, Emily, Emily! I'll see you at the Fremont Fair. I need something bobbly and red