Thursday, 17 September 2009


The post where you decide my future

As you might know, I had a disastrous fair season over the summer. I did a quite a few smaller markets and quite a few medium fairs, but the combination of terrible weather and general poor sales has made me question my face-to-face selling strategy. So I've nixed any small fairs, they're just not worth my time and effort. The jury is still out on medium fairs because although there is always the potential to do well, I've had such a hard time getting my stock levels right. Which leaves me with large fairs. And by large I mean Large, like a pitch hire is the equivalent of some nation's GDP and I would have to make so much stock that the thought of it makes my eyelids twitch. But the potential to do well (and by well I mean Well) is so much greater than anything I've done before and it could be the making of my fledgling business.

So I applied to do the Country Living Fair Scotland at the end of November. I hadn't heard anything for weeks, I was assuming that I'd missed the boat with a late application or didn't get through the jury process. But then came the letter, I've been accepted. Ironically, (and I'm using the Alanis Morrisette definition of irony) I had but two hours earlier bought all eight True Blood books because without the big fair to prepare for, I might actually have some time to read.

See that date? Nine weeks from today. Sixty three days to make a tremendous amount of stock, to get my drivers license, to maybe hire someone to work with me for four days, to procure suitable shopfittings to accommodate my tremendous amount of stock within four square metres. It's going to cost so much money I could weep. But I want to be Debutante Barbie.

So here's your chance to be the master of my destiny. What would you do if you were me? And before you say, 'Go get my eyebrows waxed, buy some new clothes and have a nap', I'm narrowing it down to two options. I'd love to hear what you say in comments but I've put a poll in my side bar too if you're more a voting type of person.

To Country Living Show, what say you?

a.) Freeze! Put down the crackpipe. Now back away. Slowly, slowly. It's sixty three days away! I know you, you're the Master of Procrastination and you'll never be able to get ready in time!

b) You can do it! Sure, you'll toil away until the wee small hours until your eyes bleed, you might lose a finger to the dangerous cocktail of fatigue and rotary cutters, but you can do it! I know you, you're the Master of Working Under Extreme Pressure and you'll totally step up!

I have to decide, like, yesterday so my poll is only open for a week!


  1. Go on, you know you want to! Just make sure the fridge is full of dairylea lunchables on a low shelf so you don't have to stop for silly things like feeding the kids:)

  2. Go for it, just see it as Marketing Costs - the exposure you get is brilliant and it could mean lots of (repeat) orders coming in afterwards. So get on yer sewing machine now ... :-)

  3. WOW!! I didn't realise that it was so soon. I say go for it!!

  4. if anyone can do it you can, you may procrastinate but once you get going you can churn out alot of fabulous stock. I think you should also think about doing some accessories .. as they always sell well at fairs, little hair bands, pins, and pouches to match the lovely clothes you make... I'm sure there will still be time to drool (read) a bit too...

  5. Go for it. You know you want to! No pain no gain!!Is it indoors tho?? Are they insured again hurricanes damaging the building bearing in mind your past experiences?!! You will do so well I think - its the lead up to Christmas too so people will be spending and you'll get a couple of days away from the kids!! Got to be worth it in my book. x

  6. always remember you have a *business*. You can write all the expense off - including the books, just in case you have a quiet minute. Good luck!

  7. So you know you absolutely have to do this, right? If you don't you will never be able to truly enjoy those books... It's hard to appreciate romance when you are full of self-loathing.

    Plus, on a purely selfish level, I am eagerly anticipating the blog posts recounting the work and success of this whole event.

  8. i think you can do it! a deadline and stress always makes things easier (ha) to accomplish!

  9. and oops that last post was from me, your SIL...


  10. This is a good opportunity for you to really think about what you want to get out of all of this. and if you want to grow your business (taking on all of the headaches that come with that growth) then you can't pass this up. It'll increase brand awareness in addition to your market share- it'll be a pain for the short term but in the end it'll pay for itself. Plus- even as an observer ( although I do have 2 have your patterns- sitting in a box waiting for a break from my own school work) and only occasional commenter, I feel invested in your success. Do it!
    But no pressure. ;)

  11. ok you should totally do the fair. it is a fantastic opportunity, and you can totally pull it off! and, if you do it, you can take as much time as you need afterwards to relax and read those sookie stackhouse books [i just finished # 8, and im telling you theyre worth the wait :P]

    so do it!!!!

  12. You should def go for it. Maybe do help you not have to do so much, why not push for custom orders too?

  13. I hate being sensible and practical (I prefer being funny) but I'm going to say don't do it.
    Not just because it's only sixty-odd days away, but I don't think as a business you're ready for it. God, that sounds really awful, but I'm talking about you as a business, not you as a "you".
    Go and do a recce this year, see what everyone else is doing, what are their stands like? Are there lots of customers with shopping bags (ie, are they spending) or are people going to browse? It's such a huge financial and time commitment - get some money/experience (as a business) behind you, you'll feel much more confident (as a business) about your stock/pricing.
    I've been going now for 4 years, and this is the first year I've moved from an "I" business to a "we" business, and I had big ideas about doing Top Drawer and the like, but I simply wouldn't have been ready for it - probably not ready for it now to be honest.
    But hey, that's just my view.
    Hope it reads okay!
    Now for something funny : "nipples"

  14. i'm not sure how helpful this is going to be, but i'd consider two things: opportunity cost and potential for regret (which is usually tied to the former). for example, if it were me, i'd love to do a craft fair (um, and this version of me would have your super sewing skills and creativity). but working full time outside the home and with an 11-month old, the opportunity cost of losing time with her, when i don't have much of it as it is, would not be worth it. neither would the added stress. again, these are just criterion for me - you'll have your own "dealbreakers."

    and in terms of regret, i find for me that i regret more often those things that i don't do versus the things that i do.


  15. I too am old and boring. So I would err on the side of caution. First of all you need to sit down and work out if you can do it, physically and financially. Work out what you would need to sell to *at least* break even. Then work out if you can physically make enough garments to sell in the 60 odd days remaining before the fair.
    If all the sums add up, then go for it. But if you're going to end up working yourself to a frazzle over the next 2 months and not make a profit, it really doesn't seem worth it.
    If you decide not to go for the fair, set yourself another goal instead, something equally challenging but achievable (maybe getting your stuff into a magazine? Getting a local kids boutiquey place to stock your stuff?). Pickledweasel xxx (who still has yet to sell anything / do a craft fair, so you're totally entitled to tell me to stop pissing on your chips :)