I’m not dead. I swear. I feel a little like I’m dead, though. My eyes are blurry, I’ve got a headache like a hangover, and I slept about 11 hours last night. No, I’m not sick. I’m recovering from the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire this past weekend, at which I was a vendor! I’ve been super quiet the past few weeks while buried in preparation for the faire, which was our first vendor experience. And boy, did we learn a few things!
Number One: You will never be prepared enough.
I had been working for weeks on this stuff. I burnt my fingers more times on a glue gun than I’d care to count. Lots of late nights, only to wake up hours later remembering something I’d forgotten or having a great idea. And yet, when we actually got to the faire, it was like all of that work had disappeared. We were late, for starters, so we had a very small amount of time to pitch our tent and get set up. All morning, I kept adjusting little things, adding signs, working on jewelry, fussing over things. I’d remember something I wanted to put out, or the wording on a sign, or any of a million other things. I forgot about a dozen things I’d wanted to bring. I could easily have been miserable.
Number Two: Make as many friends as you can.
While I manned the booth, I would turn around to find the fiance had disappeared. This happened, oh… all the time. Finally, I asked him where he kept running off to. “I’m talking to other booth vendors.” He had, in fact, spoken with every vendor at the faire and gotten tips, info, and advice. The fiance had a bad weekend, you see. He was pretty miserable, in fact, and was bemoaning our involvement with the faire at every opportunity. He didn’t listen to a word I said, but when another vendor would repeat my words of “Its your first faire. It’ll only get better”, he bought it right off. Of course. The fact is, though, that they did have some really good advice for us, being veterans of the faire circuit and all.
Number Three: Stay organized!
At one point on Saturday, while I was still setting up (because we were late and woefully unprepared), a husband and wife came to the table. She loved a
pair of dragonfly earrings I had, and the man immediately had a twenty in his hand and asked how much. I hadn’t labeled them yet, and being caught off guard, quickly searched for a number I remembered. “Eighteen,” I said, and he bought them immediately. Later, I told the fiance happily that I had sold them for eighteen bucks. He was not happy. Apparently I remembered the number eighteen because that was how much they cost to make; I could easily have gotten $30-$35 for them, and seeing how eager that wife was, I knew it was true. But I didn’t have the price list in front of me, and the earrings weren’t tagged, and I had panicked. If I had been more organized, had my paperwork up front, and had tagged the items beforehand like I wanted to, I would have probably made double what I sold them for. But I wasn’t organized, and I just barely covered costs. Not fun.
Number Four: Keep a positive outlook.
Aside from the fact that we were vending at our first faire, we had a pretty terrible weekend. For many reasons, I wasn’t ready to go on Friday like I’d hoped, and was up very late getting work done. That meant I had about 2 hours of sleep, and then was late getting to the faire Saturday. I was late Sunday too, but not nearly as bad. The fiance’s car decided this was the perfect weekend to die – like, beyond resurrection dead – and that made him pretty pissed off. And while we did good for our first faire, we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped. In fact, the fiance spent the entire weekend saying this was a terrible idea and that we weren’t coming back for the second weekend, despite already having paid for it. (Don’t worry, we are now. His mood improved a little.) The thing is, even though I was feeling completely down, I kept a smile on my face and kept reminding myself: it’s out first faire. You don’t hit a home run the first time you pick up a bat. And I actually had a good time, now that I think about it. And I’m really looking forward to next weekend.
Number Five: Shoes are for bitches.
I walked around without shoes all weekend. Just coz I felt like it. My reasoning was sailors didn’t wear shoes… but really I just wanted the grass and dirt between my toes. It kept me grounded.
All in all, it was a learning experience, and one that I’m very thankful for. When we go back for our second weekend, I’ll be more prepared, have more stock, and we’ll have a better tent too. (EZUps for the win, dude. Seriously.) I’m going to work a little magick to bring more people to our tent (which I should have done in the first place, honestly) and I’m even bringing a chair to do mini reiki sessions too. I think it’ll be a really great weekend, and I hope it changes the fiance’s outlook on the whole thing.
If you live in the area and are interested in coming out for a good cause, go here to get more information.
Posted on May 15, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged good advice, lessons learned, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Renaissance Faire, Renaissance fair, the poor pirate, vendor experience. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.