We joined etsy pretty late last June, so we didn't make last year's summer show season. But this year we're all in!
We already did a couple of great shows in the spring: Craft Happy in Fremont, and Artisan Village/Handmade Ho Down in Oakland.
We spent an exhausting 4 day long Memorial weekend vending at San Jose's Fanime Con, which was quite the experience! I'd never been to a Con and seen all the people dressed up and parading around and shopping my booth as if it was all in a day's work.
One benefit of having done such an event is that all other events seem blissfully short and easy in comparison! No matter how long the day or the show, it can't compare to the four day marathon of Fanime Con.
Yesterday we vended at San Francisco's Indie Mart, which was our first time vending outdoors. We learned many lessons, such as:
Be prepared for wind!
All our stuff, including our business cards, tablecloths, jewelry, and jewelry displays, kept blowing everywhere. Thank goodness Tyler brought a huge roll of electrical tape for just in case, as he was able to secure everything pretty well. But we sure had many near heart attacks!
Be prepared for sun!
Poor Tyler got terribly sunburned on his arms and neck. Yes, we did bring sunscreen, and yes, we both applied it every 2 hours. But the sun was fierce and he got painfully burned nonetheless. I was spared the worst of it by keeping my jacket on, even though it was hot.
Be prepared for dirt!
Everything got dirty. Little grimy black specks of dirt (or worse, who knows) blew onto everything all day long. Keep everything covered and sealed throughout the day as best you can. Of course, what's on display will inevitably get dirty. We have to clean everything now.
Be prepared for lack of bathrooms!
Luckily Whole Foods was only a couple blocks away, so we ran over there every time we had to use the bathroom. We didn't want to frequent the Porta Potties that were surely getting all torn up by the street fair peeps. I know there won't always be a handy Whole Foods nearby every outdoor event we do, so we'll have to bring paper towels, toilet tissue, hand sanitizer and wet naps to future shows.
Bring lots of water!
I didn't even know San Francisco got so hot in the summer. We downed all the bottled water that I packed, and probably could have drank 2 more bottles each. More is better when it comes to packing, as my mom taught me. If you have extra and you don't use it, it's no big deal. But if you need it and you don't have it, you're in trouble. You don't want to dip into your profits to buy overpriced bottled water.
Bring a change of shoes (and maybe clothes)!
I wore sneakers to the show, which was great for the cold, foggy morning. When the fog suddenly burned off and the temp spiked, I switched to sandals. At 6pm the breeze grew stronger and the weather cooled, and I put my suddenly chilled feet back into sandals. It also lessons the inevitable ache in your feet from standing for so many hours to switch up your shoes.
I also brought a light jacket and a heavier one, and was thankful for both. And mishaps do happen: a customer spilled coffee right in front of our table, and while it didn't get on the merchandise, it did get on stuff we had stored under the table. Be prepared for people (maybe even you) to spill, and bring a change of clothes.
Be prepared for children and animals!
These little creatures want to mess with your displays (one toddler took a necklace and ran off, and Tyler had to run him down). Keep a close eye out for them. Try find a way to secure your displays and merchandise to protect them. We're going to put our tables on PVC pipe risers so it's harder for little creatures to get to them.
Children and animals seem especially attracted to our merchandise because it's shiny and sparkly. Our neighbor sold notecards and said she never had a problem with little creatures.
That's all I can think of now. Hope my experience helps someone out!