What the heck is a chicken diaper?

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This is a handsome Einstein sporting his new chicken diaper ready to go play in the house.

This is a handsome Einstein sporting his new chicken diaper ready to go play in the house.

What the heck is a chicken diaper?  Is it a dance, a gadget, a new game, or a name you call someone who irritates you?  No, it’s exactly what the name says it is.  You put it on a real live chicken so it can come in the house and not leave little (or big) messes all over the place.  The amount of poop a chicken creates depends on who you ask.  Some say they poop 3 to 6 times a day, while others call them a constant poop machine.  I understand that composted chicken poop makes great fertilizer for your garden.

I have a gourding friend name Kayla.  Kayla, like so many others these days, has backyard chickens.  One day she was over and discovered I sew, A LOT.  She hinted, not too subtly (Kayla doesn’t do subtle), that I should make her some chicken diapers.  Not convinced, I made her come with me to the computer to look them up.  Sure enough chicken diapers are a real thing.  You can buy them online or you can find instructions on how to make them.

I thought, if I actually made some, I could say that the weirdest things I’ve ever made were chicken diapers and a gourd egg turner.  You know, those things you use to turn chicken eggs in an incubator to keep all sides warm before they hatch.  Really, do weird and chickens go together?

 

A finished Diaper ready to put on the chicken.  Won't he look handsome.

A finished Diaper ready to put on the chicken. Won’t he look handsome.

To make chicken diapers you start with soft fabric and soft elastic so nothing chafes their sensitive skin and feathers.  There is a pouch that goes over the nasty end to catch the poop.  Did you know that chickens don’t urinate, they only poop.  The pouch is connected to a strip of fabric that lays over the abdomen and chest.  The pouch and chest strip are connected together over the back by the soft elastic in such a way that it doesn’t wring their neck or hamper their wings in any way.  Sometimes people put pretty bows or other decorations on the chicken’s back.  I saw one chicken diaper that was made with a full cape to cover an entire neurotic chicken so he couldn’t pull out his own feathers.

 

Pattern made, pinned, and ready to cut out.

Pattern made, pinned, and ready to cut out.

So first, I drew up a pattern for the chest/belly strap and pouch based on a compilation of the various patterns I saw online.  I hemmed the strap to make it neat and connected it to the pouch.  I added a bit of elastic to the pouch to help keep the poop in.  Next, I securely added 2 pieces of elastic to the end of the strap and 2 more to the pouch end.  The final design problem was how to connect the 4 pieces of elastic so they can be somewhat adjustable and the chicken diaper would also stay down the center of the back away from the wings.  I didn’t want something that had to go over the chicken’s head and bother their comb.  I also didn’t want something where you had to push or pull their wings through.  I decided to connect it with Velcro placed onto matching fabric squares attached to the ends of each elastic.  That way it can open up entirely but be connected when closed.  One of the squares is actually a rectangle so it would connect to all the other pieces.  After that, I saw no reason not to add a bit of embellishment for the pretty hens.

The only thing left is to add folded paper towel into the pouch and then tuck the chicken’s derriere into the pouch, connect the Velcro and see if I have to go back to the drawing board.  I expect the chicken to fuss a bit about having to wear a diaper.  Hopefully, it will get use to it and see the advantage of being able to come in the house and socialize.

Update:  This chicken diaper fit the Bantam Rooster, named Einstein, perfectly and was too small for the larger chickens.  It didn’t seem to bother Einstein too much as he posed nicely for a fashion photo shoot.  He then ran over to his coop mates to confer about his new fashion accessory.

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Chuck, an Old Car Collector, Gets a Gourd Thunder Drum

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The Ranchero was the loser in this drag race in a beautiful red and white with glorious white wall tires.

The Ranchero was the loser in this drag race in a beautiful red and white with glorious white wall tires.

I met Chuck at a car show where I was vending. He is in his 80’s and will tell you with a huge grin that he is the most handsome, most charming, and most wonderful person you have ever met. He did this with his wife standing nearby patiently with a knowing and maybe affectionate look on her face. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was there with his Model-T that had the original engine and all of the original leather upholstery, I didn’t know because all Chuck wanted to talk about was gourds. Now, I love to talk gourds at any time and with anybody. Well, it seems the gourds that Chuck grew got squishy and rotted like old pumpkins. Without hesitation, I told him that he had harvested them too soon. I gave the startling advice of don’t pick them, leave them on the vine until the plant is completely dead and if they aren’t on the ground to leave them there all winter.

As it turned out, I did give the right advice. I got a call from Chuck in early Spring. He had gotten a nice crop of gourds and they had dried perfectly right on the vine. He want to know if I wanted some. To a question like that my answer is always yes. A gourd artisan just can’t have too many gourds. We made arrangements for me to come pick them up.

The fabulous orange Ford El Camino was the winner.

The fabulous orange Ford El Camino was the winner.

I drove out to his house, at the appointed time, interrupting his nap. Once he fully awakened, he led me to his garage to show me his bag of gourds. I was there calculating in my head how much I would be willing to pay, when I caught a glimpse into his garage. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I mentally got to mark an item off of my bucket list. His garage holds up to 12 cars and it is a museum of old cars, old car memorabilia and anything else that Chuck felt like collecting. I love the show, ‘American Pickers’ and day dreamed about visiting one of their collector’s stashes. I never thought I would really get to see the results from ‘American Pickers’. I have no idea how long I spent listening to Chuck tell me about how he acquired every little thing. Some cars were put back into their original new condition and others were souped up. There were old signs, gas pumps, oil can, old toys, and so much more. There’s a part of me that so wants to be a collector like that, but another part that wants a more minimal lifestyle. The minimalist is the stronger part at the moment.

The tour sadly came to an end and we headed back to the house with the bag of gourds in tow. I gave him a quote and his reply came out something like this. ‘I don’t want your money, I want you to make me something’. It took me awhile to convince him I could put anything he wanted on his gourd. After I bit of thought he decided he wanted a 1957 Chevy Ranchero in red and white drag racing an orange 1958 Ford El Camino with a pin-up in a bikini holding the checkered flag. Then this 80+ year old man pulled out a plastic lawn chair and started to stand up on it to show me a gourd bird house hanging in one of his trees. I put a quick stop to that. I think he thought he was invincible. He thought he wanted me to make him a bird house but he didn’t want the hole to get in the way. I suggested a Thunder drum, which wouldn’t have the hole, he agreed even if he had never heard of one.

There needed to be a rabbit at the finish line near the bikini clad pin-up with the checkered flag.

There needed to be a rabbit at the finish line near the bikini clad pin-up with the checkered flag.

I really like this kind of request. It really puts my skill and creativity to a test. The best part, for me, comes a few days later, when he calls to tell me he wants the Ford to be winning, with a rabbit at the finish line and a tree with a couple of birds by the start line. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I swear, that it could have been my father during his later years, on the other end of the phone. Chuck is so much like my own father. The collecting, the thinking he can do anything, and how he thinks, and plans, and schemes match the way my father was. At least now I know he is truly looking forward to my creation for him. It will probably go into his collection. I know I can never make what he had in his mind, but I’ll do my best and he will be thrilled. My father always was when someone made something especially for him.

First Vending Experience: Trolley Square Farmer’s Market-1970’s

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Trolley Square was home to my first market experience.

Trolley Square was home to my first market experience.

Back in the 1970’s, I found myself stranded in Salt Lake City with only a little bit of money and no place to stay. Up until then, I had been keeping myself afloat by embroidering shirts for people. I didn’t know anyone in Salt Lake City except my friend Sandy. I crashed at her apartment, until an opening came available in the building next door. It was a furnished basement apartment, which was good, since I had only a few boxes of belongings, a treadle sewing machine, my clothes, and a bicycle. I loved that bicycle. It was old with fat tires and a big basket up front. It was also my only mode of transportation.

The old bicycle was such a work horse.

The old bicycle was such a work horse.

Fortunately, It was springtime and a small Saturday craft/farmer’s market opened up 10 to 12 blocks from me. I signed up to be a vendor. I can’t remember if there was a cost, but it wasn’t much if there was. The market was outside and at one end of Trolley Square. Trolley Square in Salt Lake City is a big mall with wonderfully eclectic shops. It was still new in the seventies, renovated from the old trolley barns.
My skills at that time centered around fibers only. I sewed, embroidered, did macramé and crocheted. The hippie movement was still a pretty big deal, but it was hard to find clothing that reflected that time, especially in Utah. So clothing is what I made. I started by using the supplies I had. I remember making macraméd halter tops, skirts from old curtains, jean skirts, and embroidered men’s and women’s shirts all using recycled fabrics and yarns.

Remnants of day gone past

Remnants of day gone past

That was a glorious summer. I took Sunday’s off to plan and design new ideas. On Mondays, I jumped on my bicycle and made the rounds to the local thrift shops looking for men’s dress shirts to redo, men’s ties, afghans to take apart, curtains to use as fabric and old jeans. That night I would plan out the items I was going to make for the week and cut everything out. Tuesday through Friday, I’d sew, embroider, crochet and macramé. Friday night I would pack everything up for Saturday’s Market.

Early on Saturday, I’d pack by bicycle basket with nesting cardboard boxes and fabric to drape on them. I’d wear a backpack full of my clothing for the week and pedal over to Trolley Square. Once there, I’d arrange my boxes on the ground and drape them with Indian prints. Then I’d arrange that week’s clothing, sit on the ground next to my display and wait for customers. I didn’t sell a lot. I didn’t have a lot to sell. But it was always enough. In retrospect, I was probably an anomaly in conservative Utah and as such sold most of what I could make each week. That night I set aside what I needed for rent and food and calculated what I could spend on Monday when I made my weekly trip to the thrift shops.

I loved that summer. I was free. I was independent. I was earning my own way through my own labors. I dreamed of someday making it big as a clothing designer. As the fall weather turned cold and the market moved indoors, my summer came to an end. It was time to look for a job and work for ‘the man’. I held onto the glories of that summer over the years of jobs, college, and raising a family until I was again free to recreate that time as the person I’ve become throughout the years. Today, some forty odd years later, I am back to being a vendor, although with more creature comforts and security. I love it just as much today as I did then.

It is Scary to Open an Online Shop Until You Do it

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This page lets me tell the bigger story and it has a slide show with it.

This page lets me tell the bigger story and it has a slide show with it.

One Day in July I decided.  I decided I needed to sell online.  It had to happen.  I kept telling myself I could do it, all I had to do was start.  I needed this, period, end of discussion.  One January day, months and months after I made that decision, I finally got up the nerve to actually do it.  I went to the Etsy site (my choice of online markets) and signed up for a shop.  That’s it.  It didn’t cost me a thing.  It took only a few minutes.  I was so relieved and pleased with myself.  Then it took me 10 days more to get up the nerve to start to put the shop together.  I spent those 10 days frantically reading all of their requirements and advice and guiltily ignoring my shop.  A month later and more study and work I finally got it together to actually put some products up for sale.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I was such a ninny about opening an online shop.  It was really quite easy and I didn’t even have to pledge my first born child to do it.

This is the page people see when they click on my picture.

This is the page people see when they click on my picture.

I’ve learned a lot and built confidence since then about opening a shop.  These are some of my thoughts on how to get started.

Setting up your store:

  • Give your shop a name that is easy to remember, means something to you and relates to your product. It can be changed later.  I think about changing my shop’s name but too many people know it so it doesn’t make sense to lose the recognition.
  • Take advantage of the wisdom the online company passes along. Remember, the more money you make, the more money they make.  They want you to succeed.   Read the site’s advice and requirements and follow it.
  • I can think of 3 places in Etsy to talk about yourself and your product. Fill them all in.  Let your personality and enthusiasm come through. Tell your story.  People want to know who they are buying from and feel a connection to you just like they would buying from you in person.
  • Always add pictures when you can especially of your work area. Let people know about you.  You don’t have to be in the pictures.
  • It is your shop. If you had physical store you would know every inch of it.  Do that with your online shop as well.  Don’t be afraid to dig around the site.  Explore all the different places.  When setting up your shop, fill out as much information as you can.
  • Make your shop look like it is there to stay. Every successful shop I’ve seen looks well thought out.
  • Think through all of the policies choices they give you and fill them in even if you’re not sure. Anything can be changed later.  I looked through the site’s advise and through other peoples shop to decide on my policies.
  • Decide where you are willing to send mail to.
  • Decide how often you will go to the post office.
  • Decide how you are going to take money. The site gives you options.  I started with Pay Pal only.
  • Decide on your policy for returns.
  • Decide if you are willing to do custom orders.
  • I guess an important but awkward question is how serious are you about making a success of your online shop. Be really honest with yourself here.  It is okay to want this venture to be just a fun thing you do for now.  It is also okay if you would like to have this replace your day job someday or anywhere in between.  It is important to know this so you can keep perspective.
  • Your bookkeeping methods will depend on what you decided above. The bookkeeping can be very informal or even use the Online site’s records for your own.  The formality of your bookkeeping will depend on how professional you intend to have your business become.  I mention this here because the bookkeeping needs to start with your online shop.
  • A tricky part for me was to set some realistic goals. I didn’t try to set the great big goals that were unrealistic,  I had a tendency to not set goals at all.  I knew I wanted my shop to keep doing better each year and I was in it for the long haul. Have some sort on business plan in mind.

 

Under the banner is a place to talk about your shop.

Under the banner is a place to talk about your shop.

 

If you have been thinking about opening an online shop, do your research and recognize it isn’t a life or death deal.  Good luck, I hope it all works for you.  I wish there was a magic that could instantly make you successful.  There’s not!  I takes you spending time and some hard work.

Don’t Grump, Try Learning When Vendor Sales are Slow

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Don't Over crowd a Display and Display Upwards

Don’t Over crowd a Display and Display Upwards

You’re signed up for a booth at an event. If you’re like me you’re excited and expecting to do well or at least hoping to do well. You get there, get set up, and you are raring to go. Something is wrong. Nobody is stopping at your booth and you are getting no sales. You have a choice to make. You can get grumpy and pout or you can go into learning mode and find out what’s wrong.
Linder Beads  backed by Redeemed by Red

Linder Beads backed by Redeemed by Red


Circumstances Outside Your Control
There are some things that really are outside of your control. If no-one is there to buy, you can’t sell. That tells you either the weather is a bust or the promoter didn’t advertise. All you can do then it wait it out and not go back to that event. It could be, when you look around, that this is a flea market event and people are only looking for a bargain, not beautiful handcrafts. Again, don’t go back next year. These things happen, especially when you’re new and inexperienced. Never blame other vendors. They are just like you, trying to do their best. Hopefully, you’ll make enough to cover your booth fee.
Raspberry Patch BSU Display

Raspberry Patch BSU Display


Circumstances You CAN Control
But if everything is good, there are lots of people spending money, the event is all about handcrafts, and you’re still not selling, it’s time to look at yourself. First, check your attitude. Are you friendly, welcoming and outgoing. If not, get with it. I don’t know about you, but If someone looks disgruntled I tend to steer clear.
As often as not, I have found, it the display that is the problem. Your work is beautiful, but it is not drawing people in. Maybe your product is too crowded and people can’t see the beauty of your work. Rearrange your items and think about having a nice focal point. Put something flashy or unique near the front to draw people’s eyes to your booth. Highlight different items as you rearrange. There seems to be an optimum number of any specific item. Too many, cheapen them and too few appear to be leftovers. Even if I’m not sure it’s my display, I still rearrange. It keeps me busy and it makes people look to see what I am doing.
Oasis Honey's Display of Bees' Wax Candles

Oasis Honey’s Display of Bees’ Wax Candles


After the show, rethink your display. Think about how you can make it better. We only have ourselves while big businesses actually hire people to just study and create better displays for optimal selling. I try to research other people’s displays with similar products to mine to give me more ideas to try. We vendors usually have limited budget for display so get creative and think outside the box.
You love your product. If you didn’t you wouldn’t make it. Maybe now it is time to look at what you are making. Can you tweak it to give it a broader appeal? If I’m making something for me, I can do what I love. If I’m making something for a friend or family member, I take into account their tastes. When I am making for the public, I have to take into account a broader spectrum of tastes. I like natural tones, but I make things in the current or classical color trends. I like organic shapes but I make things in geometrics. I do have my limits. I can’t bring myself to do anything with cutesy cartoons or product placement. That is just me, but if someone special order something like that, I will make it for them. I listen to my customers and ask their opinions. I never thought much about putting owls or dragonflies on things until some customers asked about them. I now sell lots of owls and dragonflies.
I’ve had my share of bad days. Sometimes, I just chalk it up to the error of picking the wrong event. Always, I look at myself for ways to get better. I want to succeed and I can’t do that by blaming others or doing the same things over and over and getting the same results.

Vending: It’s All About the Attitude

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I was a waitress so long ago but I still live my some of the lessons I learned.

I was a waitress so long ago but I still live my some of the lessons I learned.

As I waitressed through my college years, I learned that being outgoing, friendly, and welcoming earned me bigger tips than efficiency. I had to learn to overcome my natural shyness and really look at my customers and treat them how they wanted to be treated.

Teaching others teaches you.

Teaching others teaches you.

During the years I taught school, I recognized that my state of mind affected my classes. If I was cranky so were they. If I was calm, they became calmer. Really, are kids ever calm? I learned to calm myself even on cranky days.

You are never too old to learn and be happy.

You are never too old to learn and be happy.

I retired and became a vendor. I found that my attitude really affected my sales. On days I was tired, distracted, tense, or down my sales were slower. I had to learn to set my own moods aside and purposely determine to love what I was doing right then. That sometimes put me outside my comfort zone. While it’s not particularly easy to just be happy on demand, you might be surprised at yourself. If you smile, greet people and tell people you’re great when they ask, you find that you actually are.

Some people don’t seem to have a shy bone in their bodies and others of us battle it. I find it helps when I look at my booth as if is my home and every person at the event was invited to my home. Treat everyone who comes to you as an invited and welcome guest.

It’s interesting to note that when a person is reading a book, busy with craftwork, on their phones, eating their lunch, or in a conversation with someone else, we hesitate to interrupt them. I wonder how many people have walked by my booth because my concentration was elsewhere and they didn’t want to disturb me. My job, as I see it, is to be there ready to talk to and help all potential customers.

I learn new and better ways to sell at every event I do to. I’m sure I still have lots to learn. The following are some of the things I’ve learned over time so people come into my booth and potentially buy:
• Smile and greet everyone who passes by and don’t worry if they don’t all respond.
• Find sincere things to compliment people about.
• Talk to children. Perhaps you can kindly teach them expected behavior is your booth. But mostly treat them with respect. Parent’s appreciate that.
• Ask to pet dogs. On hot days you may even want to have water for the dogs. People love their dogs.
• Never let grumpy people get to you or take rude comments personally. Think about making their day better, not letting them bring your day down.
• Keep your concentration on potential customers. Even when you are helping a customer, acknowledge any others that come by.
• Keep moving. Straighten and rearrange your product. I know a vendor who doesn’t even bring a chair.
• Be careful not to appear pushy or desperate for a sale. Relax and enjoy.
• Love your product and show your excitement and love for it.
• Don’t be afraid to make friends. There are really wonderful people in this world.
• Keep all of your talk positive.
• Attempt the skill of making the person you are talking with the most important one in your life at that moment.
• Sometimes, you’ll run across people that are in great need of lots of conversation and human contact. Talk with them, but learn to kindly say, ‘excuse me’ to help someone else rather than get pulled away from your real job.
• Make friends with other vendors. You are all makers taking a risk with the public. There is a lot you can do to help one another.

It truly is amazing the wonderful people you will meet and the friends you will make. I am always thrilled when a customer comes back to buy more or brings a friend over. Believe me when I say, they do this because they liked you and not just your product.

The Wild Wicked Wind: Vending Outdoors

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I seem to have to learn lessons about the results of wind for a vendor the hard way.

I seem to have to learn lessons about the results of wind for a vendor the hard way.


You plan and perfect your product. You plan and perfect your display. All that planning can be for nothing if you don’t take some thought to safety and protection from the elements. You just never know when the wind or the rain will interrupt a perfectly good event. You never know when a gust or storm will hit you. When I first started vending I didn’t know any of this. I learned pretty fast that my set-up had flaws. I had an old cheap canopy with no weights. I lost it within the first month. I had lessons to learn.

This booth lasted less than a month before the wind took it.

This booth lasted less than a month before the wind took it.

If you’re ever going to be outside, make sure you have a decent canopy. Most places offer a 10 foot by 10 foot space so it is best to invest in at least one. The good ones are a more expensive for sure, but they will hold up over time and be worth your investment. When I look for a canopy, I check out those recommended for vendors rather that those for the occasional backyard party. I often have to put the canopy up by myself, so I have to watch weight and ease of set-up. I prefer the ones that have support across the center, a vented top and will accommodate walls. Do research before you invest.
Even the best canopy will not stand up to the wind if it isn’t weighted down. I have seen too many canopies lost when a burst of wind picked them up and knocked them over. Weights are essential! You can purchase weights that are made specifically for canopies, or you make them yourself. I have seen them made from sand bags, coffee cans filled with cement, gallon bottles filled with water, cinder blocks, filled PVC pipe or just about anything you can think of. Weights that hang from the top part of the frame can be more effective as long they don’t swing. Here is some things to think about when putting together your weights. Are they heavy enough to hold the canopy down in the wind? Are they unsightly and detract from your display and product? More importantly, do they present a tripping hazard for those that come into or by your booth? I started with sand bags tied to the frame and have upgraded to commercial made ones because they are easier for me to handle by myself. WEIGHTS ARE ESSENTIAL!

The next lesson I learned was that table covers flap around in the wind and knock things off the table. They need to be secured down. I use a large cloth and tailor it to exactly fit over the table down to the ground. It still flaps around in the wind, but not up where the product is. Other vendors us clips, tape, heavy or weighted fabric. It certainly helps to think about how to keep a table cover in its place.

Table covers aren’t the only problem in the wind. A bigger problem is your product. Anything light weight, like my gourds, are in danger of blowing off the table and breaking, getting scuffed or getting dirty. After a few events of chasing my gourds all over, I learned by lesson and started duct taping them down. That worked. I’ve since gotten better display pieces that protect my gourds. Each vendor has unique issues of keeping their product safe from the wind. Some use cases, baskets, boards, boxes, racks, bungee cords or weights. Everyone needs to figure this out for themselves. I hope you are smarter than me and think this through before you go out to vend.

Canopy walls are great in a mild to moderate wind. They work as a wind break as long as the canopy has good weights on it. They are also great to protect from the sun or the rain. But, (you know there’s always a ‘but’) in a strong wind they work like the sails on a boat. If the wind gets really bad, take those walls down.

I speak from experience here. Just this last season, I put curtains across the back of my booth as a back drop and attached them to the table covers. A giant wind gust came out of nowhere and within seconds I was a disaster. The canopy shifted, even with weights. Because I attached the backdrop to the table cover it knocked over the tables and everything on them landed on the ground. Thank goodness for helpful hands. I was able to get the curtains down and everything back in place after a slight melt-down hiding in my car to get my cool back. Another lesson learned. I shutter thinking of the lessons still in store for me.

So You Want to be a Vendor: Let’s Get Started

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The Market
You’ve given it a lot of thought and decided you want to try your hand at being a vendor with a booth. You could pull that old folding table out and cover it with a table cloth or you could take it a step farther and make it look like you really mean business. Try vending first with what you already have or what you can borrow until you know is this truly if for you, and you are ready to invest time and money in a booth.
My first trip to an event was with a borrowed canopy, table and chair. I planned where everything would go before I got there and was so pleased. The truth was, it looked like I was a newbie. I only made 30 dollars that first day and the feeling that someone actually and truly wanted to pay me for something I made, was indescribable. I was hooked.
Here’s what I learned since then through my own experience and through advice from others about the basic set up of a booth:
• If you are ever going to be outside, read my blog, ‘The Wild Wicked Wind’ for advice.
• Know the size of the space you’ll be allotted. It is often a 10′ by 10′ space but not always.
• Figure out if you prefer to have a walk in booth or a walk by booth with tables in front of you. It will depend on your product, the room that you need, and how you display your product.
• Now make a floor plan. Where will your tables be? Where will you sit? Where will your check out area be?
• Plan your booth to reflect who you are, obviously by highlighting but not distracting from your product. Are you elegant, country, whimsical, western, modern, eclectic, sleek, or whatever. I tend toward the shabby chic. Pick your colors and design all of your display to fit into this. This becomes your signature style or brand.
• Pick table covers that are simple or plain that fit into your color scheme.
• Next plan your product display. Think about both the design style you chose and how it would best show off your product. Your product is most visible from the elbow to shoulder height, so plan to build your display upward.
• Put flashy or attention getting product near the front to bring the eye to your booth and something really interesting farther back to bring the customer in closer.
• Set up your display at home before that first event so there are no surprises. Bring a bag with extra tape, pins, pencils, a calculator, extra paper, first aid kit, or whatever you think you might need for an emergency.
• Name your business and then make a sign that fits your theme or brand to display. Try to make the name memorial. The size and placement is up to you, but let the sign show you care about your business. Business cards are a nice touch, they can be printed at home on card stock until you are sure you want to go farther.
• Price everything. Don’t make your potential customers ask. Label each item with a sticker or tag or place a small sign near a group of like items. I was once told to never hand write anything unless it is done artistically.
• Giving multiple prices might be a good idea if it fits with your product and prices. Everyone loves a bargain. i.e. $5.00 each or 3 for $12.00 or buy 3 and get the 4th one free. Consider having less expensive items as well as more expensive items.
• Money, Oh My! Decide how you are going to take money and give change. some people use a money box, while others wear their money. It will depend on you and what you know about yourself and how your booth is set up. I wear mine only because I like to talk, I mean talk a lot.
• How are you going to keep track of what you sell? Will you use a receipt book or write it down in a notebook. Figure out what will work for you.
• Most places require you to collect and pay sales tax. Check with your state and get a tax number if needed. You can add taxes to each purchase as you sell, in which case you will need to bring change. Another option is to include taxes in the price and figure out the total in taxes as the end of the event.
• Lastly, as you start out, consider vending as a learning experience, so you are always think of ways to become a better vendor. If you don’t expect miracles, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget to bring your smile.

Why Would Anyone Become a Vendor

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Booth Vending

Booth Vending


You’re a maker and makers have to make. Right? Some makers don’t get obsessive and can balance the things they make with everything else in their life. Other makers get more obsessive and find they have made more things than they can use or give as gifts, while the desire to make isn’t even slightly diminished. I fit into the obsessive category. If that’s you or a bit of extra money sounds good, you might consider becoming a vendor by selling what you make.

There are always risks to becoming a vendor. What if no-one likes my stuff? What if I don’t sell anything? What if I lose money? I’d say to you, look at what you make. Do you love it? Would you buy it? Do friends and family enjoy it? If the answer is yes, it just might be worth the risk. If the answer is no, I don’t know what to say other than it probably isn’t work the risk.

One way to sell is by going online, picking one of the sites that sell handcrafts and open a store. The upside is you don’t have to leave home, the financial risks are quite small, and you get to play on the computer if that’s your thing. The downside is you have lots of competition, the customer only has you pictures and description to decide if they want to buy, and you have to take and post pictures of everything you make. If this sounds good to you research it. I will be posting more about online selling.

Another option is vending in person with a booth at an event. The upside is, customers get to touch and see your product in person, you get the satisfaction of witnessing a sale, and it is a short term commitment. The downside is having to figure out how to display your product, having to have someone (you) there the entire time, picking the right event can be tricky, and it’s not continuous. I wil also be posting more about booth selling.

The final option is putting your product into a shop. Wholesaling is nice but hard to get into, besides you have to be committed to making a set amount of product. Consignment is easier. The upside is someone else is doing the selling, displaying, and marketing for you. The downside is that selling product is often slow, your inventory is tied up in the shop, and you will probably have to pay rent to have your thing displayed.

I have done all three and loved being a vendor. The most satisfying for me is to vend in person at a booth. I love the friends I make, the other vendors, and the look on people’s faces when they find something I made that they can’t live without. When I decided to become a vendor, I choose to do this for the long haul. I studied and researched how to make each sale or event better than the last. When I started I didn’t expect to become an overnight success, I expected to learn from my mistakes and get better. Think all this through and research on vending before you make any decisions.

Oh My! I’m a Hoarder of Fabric

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Too much fabric to see it all.  Some has to go.

Too much fabric to see it all. Some has to go.

I took the month of January off from ‘making’ to do some much needed heavy cleaning and organizing in my home. I was so pleased with myself and all of clearing out I got accomplished. I even cleared out my dreaded basement. I left my craft room to the very last since it clearly was in need the most.

The day came when I had scheduled myself to start on the craft room. I dug right into the gourd area. I moved the gourds to the newly cleaned basement and spread out both my work area and storage. It only took one day to get that part taken care of. The one thing left to finish, was the sewing and fabric area. I knew I had to thin out the amount of fabric, there was too many pieces of fabric that I knew I would never use.

The fabric thinning day started bright and sunny. I pulled out the first pile and could go no further. The day suddenly got overcast and glum. My stress level hit the roof. My adrenalin started pumping and I had to walk away. I couldn’t make myself part with a single piece of fabric. I knew this must make me a hoarder. I had to get help.
I turned, of course, to Facebook. My social networking friends were terribly entertained, supportive, sympathetic, and gave tons of suggestions and ideas. Bolstered with their support and shaming, the next day I dug in and got ruthless knowing I could put it all back if I wanted to. When I was finished, I had 11 black leave and lawn bags of fabric that was suppose to leave. I’m serious, there really were 11 of them. Okay, I admit each bag was only about half full, but I can’t carry a full bag.

11 bags of fabric leaving

11 bags of fabric leaving

I took a good long look at my now depleted shelves of fabric and realized I still had scads of fabric. The best part was I could actually access ALL of it when I needed to get creative.

There is still plenty of fabric after the purge.

There is still plenty of fabric after the purge.

I had all these bags now cluttering the floor of my craft room. It was the only place left in my entire home that wasn’t neat and organized. They absolutely had to go. Somehow miraculously, once they were in the bags and I couldn’t see them anymore, the fabric ceased to exist for me.

Isn't this fabric beautiful?

Isn’t this fabric beautiful?

I pulled and tugged them all out to my car and off I drove to my favorite thrift shop. Someone is going to get a good deal on fabrics. In exchange for my donation I got 3, that’s right 3, 30% off coupons to spend there.
Of course, I couldn’t just go there and not take a quick look around. Who could? You know what happened next don’t you? In my defense, it was amazing. It was perfect. And the fabric was in my current favorite colors.