Then Again, Maybe Not

So the Universe was 1 for 2. I found a new source of inspiration, but as for the craft fair . . . I basically got what I paid for (the spaces were free).

We got to the craft fair site at about 9 am. We found our space and were set up, ready to go in about half an hour. As we began, we were in full shade with a light breeze and we were freezing. We took turns walking around, looking at all the other stuff - about half of the vendors were in the sunshine, though, under canopies, so we had a chance to warm up. Out of 62 vendors, there were four who were NOT selling jewelry. Tough crowd. There were only about 3 beadweavers - the rest were stringers, wireworkers and/or metal workers.

The host of the fair, Mama's Minerals, had engaged a chair masseuse for all the vendors to enjoy for free. She set up right next to us, so we all took turns. Twice.

I spent most of my time saying, "Yes, those are My Little Ponies that I've encased in beads," and "No, it isn't work when you love what you do," and "Yes, they did take a lot of time to make." I will say this, though - no one walked by without stopping to admire them. If you click on the photo above, you'll see that I managed to finish the manes and tails for Vinnie and Monet (better pictures later).

The morning was overcast, which was great - kept us from frying - but the last three hours of our tour was full burn. It was the worst turnout for a craft fair I'd ever seen. We packed it in at 4 pm. I sold a few of my sale pieces and some of my destash seed beads - I walked away from the experience with a wicked sunburn, a slight case of dehydration, a migraine, massive hunger, and $63.50.

NOTE TO SELF: Never, ever do an outdoor craft fair in Albuquerque WITHOUT a canopy. Doesn't matter how much water you drink; if the sun's staring you down, you're gonna lose.

There was a high spot to the day, though. Inspiration #15 is a lampworker I found on Craigs List last year. We corresponded for a while and he was interested in trading beads for bookstore credit. His business has taken him all over the country and we never managed to connect, until yesterday. I am now the proud conservator of two of his fabulous "high desert twist" lampworked beads - he is the exceptional Rashan Omari Jones. Check out his gallery - you'll be glad you did!


  1. My friends who do well at craft fairs all have solid customer bases of folks who know their work, buy it and know where to buy it...so a one time shot at a new-to-you venue isn't likely to blow you out of the water with great sales.
    But if you show up at the same venue, week after week, with moderately prices items, a living can be made.

  2. beadbabe: I've done well at craft fairs before and have made consistent decent sales - the problem here is that this show was not advertised much beyond the customer base of Mama's Minerals (this was the 4th annual), not a weekly gig, and the turnout was so bad the serious pros (ones who had done this every year since it started) were grumbling about their poor sales and packing up at 2 pm! Then again, the spaces were free.

  3. Been there, done that too, Morwyn. Craft fairs are such darn iffy things.

    Those lampwork beads are to die for!

    Kathy V in NM

  4. didn't realize you'd done craft fairs before....but yeah, this hasn't been a good year for them here on the coast either and I've heard the same things from the folks who do the shows regularly...sales are way down.

  5. I feel for you. But take heart. We have an annual street fair up here in April as part of our tulip festival. This year the poor vendors had to cope with really lousy weather for all three days of the event. The first day would have been the best but it was cloudy and cool. The second day they got hail, the third day, snow. Not fun. And I doubt their sales were anything near what they've done in the past!


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