Craft Fairs and personal doubts

March was the time to seek out summer long Craft Fairs and Farmer’s Markets since most applications needed to be in by the beginning of April. I found a few that interested me, that I thought would be a good fit for me and my bags. I know that the best thing for my business is to get involved in them. But I doubted myself.

I was/ still am afraid of shelling out the application fee, usually$10-$25, and then nothing coming of it. Waiting to hear back it tough-will they keep my application fee and let me down easy? Or will they invite me to pay another $250+ to become a weekly participant?  And if I’m accepted, I’m locked in. I struggle to explain what I do to PEOPLE I KNOW, and now I’ll have to talk to strangers? And convince them that buying my bags is money well spent?

I missed the deadline for the Norwich Farmers’ Market, but printed the applications for the Hanover Farmers’ Market (Wednesdays), Lebanon Farmers’ Market (Thursdays), and the Windsor Farmers’ Market (Saturdays), as well as a couple one-day fairs. I’d still have time during the week to sew, and I’d have a nice little schedule.

I sent in my Hanover application, and held off on Windsor. Their deadline is the week before it starts, at the end of May, and my boyfriend was deciding if he wanted to share table space with me. I was more reluctant about Lebanon. They only accept 5 crafters, and if your materials are local or you can provide a demonstration you take precedence over the other applicants. Neither apply to me. Plus, the application fee was more expensive, and I was worried about losing the money. I didn’t end up applying to that one.

I heard back from Hanover last week and I was not accepted. I was disappointed and relieved. I wouldn’t have to put my self on display every Wednesday, but I also wouldn’t get the exposure from the summer tourists I was hoping for. I’m still waiting to hear from Windsor, which I’ve been the most hopeful about.

I’m not good at selling myself, or my work. I’m not good at talking to people about myself and not wringing my hands or picking my nails. I trip over my words while I try to describe my process as accurately as possible. Here are some actual things I have said at craft fairs:

“All these bags are handmade! Well, with a sewing machine. I use my hands though, to, ugh, push the fabric, well guide it, uhm, through the machine… I make the patterns, with my hands…”

“I create everything myself in my studio! Well, it’s more like a work space, in my home. So I keep my desk in the living room and that’s where… I do all my work at my desk. In my living room. I don’t have pets!”

“I, well, I just sort of… When I get an idea, I have to work it out, like, I test everything I make. I want it to be durable, and I use the things I make… Not these ones, I mean I have my own to use, that I made. That are like these ones, like different versions of these ones. You can put them in the washing machine.”

And I always forget who I already saw and talked to and will ALWAYS say, “Hi, how are you?” every time someone passes by my table/tent/display. A couple years, I did a fair at a school with my friend and we were set up in the entry way. Everyone who went in had to come out again, and if they went back in we saw them even more! I remember one woman who was visibly annoyed that I kept saying hello to her. OH, OOPS. What if this happens at Windsor?! What if the same people come back every week for veggies and I just keep saying hi to them as if I have never seen them before?!

I know, deep down, that this will be a great opportunity and I will overcome my self-questioning. Well, hopefully. Anyway, I still need to hear back from the Windsor market before I get myself ALL in a tizzy.

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