To be completely honest, I shouldn’t have been expecting great things from this year’s Downtown Craft Fair. I didn’t follow through on many of my bright ideas for notebook covers, and ended up bringing mostly last year’s leftover inventory, with about three or four new books added in. At Aaron’s suggestion, I even discounted some of my less-than-perfect books, since I’d have felt guilty selling them at full price when I didn’t think they were up to par.
I did purchase a couple of tiered acrylic display stands, which made my layout look a little more organized. (A string of battery-powered LED lights came with each stand, so I opted to use one.) The tablecloth I brought was not quite up to the task, so I was glad I also brought a few giant binder clips to keep it in place (and to anchor the LED string).
The location I was assigned happened to be a dead spot for cell reception. The bright side to that, I suppose, is that I didn’t have to pay any fees to Square for swiping credit cards, since they wouldn’t authorize.
As it was, I only had one sale at the fair, anyway, and she was willing to hit up the nearby ATM for cash.
I made some additional sales to my co-workers, though, including a few custom orders. One guy placed an order the day before the fair, since he wouldn’t be in the office that day, and my work BFF ordered two notebooks as stocking stuffers for her kids. My manager bought one for his wife — interestingly enough, he chose the one I almost didn’t even want to sell, since it was a major experiment in creative bookcovers. Continuing the theme of me being more critical of my work than others are, my newest co-worker bought one of my recent binding experiments (the results of which did not meet my expectations, but was good enough that I sold it at full price), then she bought a discounted book later on for her daughter.
I guess my thing is that I don’t really consider this a side hustle as much as a creative experiment? So, instead of finding something that works and running with it, I keep trying different techniques and seeing how they turn out. I guess that means I end up with a bunch of rough drafts and some happy accidents, but no tried-and-true repeatable methodology.
Considering that I have three custom orders to complete, though, perhaps this is my opportunity to get comfortable with one given process.