Monday, November 17, 2008

Craft Fairs and the Economy, Beachcombing for Sea Glass

Last week, I received a call from a show organizer about an opening for a jewelry vendor in her show this past weekend. I was a bit hesitant to take the space, as my last few shows had been disappointments and I was concerned that the economy had really taken it's toll on the public's disposable income (it has on mine) and bad weather has hurt many of the shows I've done recently.

I was assured I would be 1 of only 2 jewelry crafters and since the price was right ($25 for a 10x3 space) I took the plunge. I really wanted to do this show, as I had been happy with the shows in this area. I was recruited for a possible opening, but when I called, the spot was taken.

Luckily for me, someone backed out of the show. The show was held in a large firehouse and the organizer's did a great job of limiting the number of vendors and keeping the aisles wide open for traffic to move about freely. They also did a wonderful job of limiting medias and offering the public a wide variety of handmade goods. The community was very supportive of the show, as were surrounding communities.

The traffic was constant throughout the show and it was great to see many vendors with nice crowds around their displays during the day. For myself, I did better than expected and hope to have found a future customer or two for my Etsy shop in the future, along with a few wire-wrapping jobs for a couple of sea glass enthusiasts. One of the women entrusted me with a gorgeous piece of aqua sea glass to create a necklace for her and I"ll try to post an image of the necklace when it's completed.

It was nice to see many people buying gifts for the holidays at this show and the crowd was very receptive of all the vendors. I saw very few people leaving the firehouse empty-handed. I guess the economy may have slowed down some people's spending habits, but people have to buy holiday gifts, so why not buy handmade? At this show, the economy may have cost me a couple sales on high-ticket items, but I did make sales to people that were definitely buying my handmade "wearable-art" creations as gifts for family and friends.

Since I did the show on Saturday, I was unable to get to the beach on a key day to search for sea glass. The hubby did get to go yesterday afternoon, just before low tide. Low tide was pretty late in the day (around 4:15pm) and it left little time to search, as the sun was struggling to shine thru the clouds. He went to his secret favorite spot, turned to the north and walked, finding several large shell beds that contained very little. The bed may have been picked clean of sea glass, but he said he hadn't noticed any footprints in the area of the shell beds.

He turned back to the south and went back to the block where he finds many rarer colors. The shell bed was wider than it had been on Friday, but not as dense. He was able to spend about 20 minutes there in decent light and found about 35-40 more keepers, including one small piece of cobalt blue. There were only 1 or 2 pieces that I consider to be jewelry quality (for bracelets), but with another cobalt and a couple of pretty olive greens, it turned out to be a worthwhile search.

Hubby spent another 15 minutes or so searching in diminished light, before being forced to give up the search. The wind was fierce, the temp was in the mid 40s and with poor lighting, it didn't make much sense to continue on.

The New Moon which had resulted in what is called " the spring tides" wasn't as plentiful as last year. High tide left very few shell beds high up on the beach. Instead, the beds were down near the surf and the only time to find sea glass was during low tide... which meant being near the water... and that's not always a fun thing when the wind is a constant 25-30 mph and gusting at about 35mph, in mid-40 degree weather.

But as DH always says" Everyday is a good day at the beach, some are just better than others." Hopefully the next spring tides will be more fruitful!

'til next time...


PS- the photo above is my newest addition to my Etsy shop!


kim* said...

wow wish i was there, sounds cool and such a great deal!

Leah said...

I love that new addition!