Last year at this show, I was so busy that I didn't get to talk to anyone. Very sad stuff - I love networking with my fellow crafters! This year, because we were all concerned about each other and because we weren't swamped with customers, there was much visiting of other tents and chatting about the weather, the scene, and other fun stuff. Crafter heaven, actually!
My friend Heather from Rinse Soap shared some of her successes with me, including adding a wholesale account in Chicago during the show - you go girl! The friendly gals of the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta, Shannon and Christy, were keeping me in the loop of their upcoming holiday show which I am excited about and hopefully will be able to apply. (just gotta work out the timing of buying a house and moving) There are just too many shows I want to do this fall! I had to bail out of the Girlie Show in Oklahoma due to all this house buying mess and that makes me sad. I have another application out in cyberspace that I am already worried about being able to commit to doing. I guess I'll have to "make it work!"
Anyway, I also reconnected with Chicago illustrator Cindy T. who is now making beautiful cards under the name Paper Parasol. She was sharing her booth with Holly of Thread and Needle and Courtney Fischer - they had done an amazing job of saving their products from the water by rigging up some fancy tarp and bungee cords to keep the rain out. Holly actually won my Valentine's contest and she was so grateful that she gave me one of her coffee cuffs which i have been using nonstop since!
Amy of Olaria Studio flew in from Boston to do the show and my hubs and I were lucky enough to grab some very tasty brunch at Forno with her Sunday morning. (the food was delicious - if you've never been and you live in Chicago - go there now!) She is originally from Birmingham and only moved to Boston recently, so she filled me in on all the southern crafty scoop. I had a feeling that if she lived in Nashville, we'd be hanging out all the time. She also encouraged me on the Philadelphia Buyer's Market of American Craft application I have sent in and said we should be booth neighbors if I get accepted. I have already been rejected from the American Craft Council wholesale show so I'm not holding my breath, but if I got in that would be wonderful! I welcome more wholesale with open arms.
The ceramics of my back yard booth neighbor, Up in the Air Somewhere did not disappoint. Her work is so beautiful I was overwhelmed. I could not make a decision of what to buy but again - after the house stuff is worked out I'll know exactly which one (or five) of her pieces will be the perfect finishing touch to our new pad. I'm thinking an arrangement of Silos on a dining room table (that I don't have yet but hey a girl can dream).
Socializing aside, I was lucky enough to do a bit of trading. Megan of Harrilu and I have done a few shows together in the past - she was wearing my birdie necklace all weekend and picked up a few more Freshie & Zero pieces for gifts. I am now the lucky owner of two of her v-neck t-shirts, including the one below.
Squast by Les - my favorite hat maker was also sweet enough to trade with me, so I indulged in a fourth hat from her. This one is totally different than the others, though. First of all, it's fuzzy on the inside so it's great for cold months, plus it has little ear flaps and it's simple black (all of my others are prints). I told everyone who would listen that they should go to her booth and two girls came back to my booth, each proudly wearing one of her hats and thanked me for the suggestion! Just spreading some crafty love...
So that's the thing - yes everyone was soaking wet and praying that their product wasn't ruined but the ones who stuck it out both days really were rewarded with good camaraderie and good sales. My sales were still high overall for a show - people really came out to shop despite the weather. Chicago shoppers are tough cookies! They aren't going to let a little rainfall keep them from their crafts and I love them for it!