Ever wondered what it’s like to be a craft vendor? No? Well I’m going to write about it anyway. You can choose what the next post is about, if you like.
Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend, which in my town means ViVA Vienna. This is our town’s annual Memorial Day weekend carnival. According to my kids, it is a weekend of rollicking good fun and sticky sweetness. There are rides, performances, traditional carnival foods, freebies, vendors, and normally, there is blistering sun.
I wouldn’t know about this, because I never get to experience ViVA Vienna the way the rest of my family does. I am one of the aforementioned vendors. My own personal experience involves standing in one place for nine hours for two days straight, and then spending the following Tuesday slowly hobbling around town with a pained look on my face, and a large coffee in my hands.
ViVA Vienna holds a special place in my heart, and selling at markets is a necessary part of my job, but let’s be honest here for a second, okay? I have a love-hate relationship with markets. Like many vendors, I would rather be making stuff than selling it , but apparently the two go hand in hand. When people ask whether I enjoy selling at markets, I’m not sure how to answer them, because I have mixed feelings.
Take ViVA Vienna for example, on the one hand, I get to meet amazing people, introduce myself as a local artist to my community, and hobnob with friends, all while selling my work and making money – pretty sweet. On the other hand, I have moments of quiet madness, when I desperately want to get out of my hot 10×10 tent, and have a go on the massive slide with my kids. And then there’s Mother Nature; outdoor markets are so unpredictable, and things can flip in a minute. It rained so heavily on Sunday, that nobody stopped by for hours on end. My chair was soaked so I couldn’t sit down at all, and I was becoming increasingly freaked out about my merchandise getting damaged. That is not a recipe for big smiles.
Conversely, Monday was beautiful, sunny, dry, and jam packed with happy customers. Sometimes unpredictable is good, sometimes it gives you gray hair and frazzled nerves.
At the end of it all, the good does outweigh the bad and ugly, and it’s always a fun weekend for my whole family.
Here are some honest high, and lowlights:
- Highlight So…many…cute…babies. One of the perks of designing for babies and kids is that I get to hang out with them while their parents are shopping. Cuteness overload, extreme happiness…sigh.
- Lowlight A sudden torrential downpour on Sunday afternoon makes me give into soul crushing sadness, despite the decidedly cest la vie attitude that I tried to adopt on social media that day.
- Highlight When the rain washed all the customers away on Sunday, I realized that I had bought a notebook with me. I worked on ideas for future products, and had a pretty productive few hours.
- Lowlight My feet and legs still feel sore, and not the good sore that you get from exercise. Standing in one place for so long doesn’t really suit my temperament.
- Highlight The people!! I got to catch up with so many friends, some I haven’t seen in a long time, and repeat customers. I discovered other screenprinters and designers, and made plans to meet up with them. ViVA Vienna really is the most sociable event I work all year. It’s lovely to realize how many people you love in your town. I even got a chocolate care package when it rained hard!
- Lowlight I’m still doing laundry after some of my products got wet in the rain.
- Highlight Friends always turn up to help us set up and break down our tent in Vienna. It is so lovely to have that support when you are exhausted.
- Highlight Memorial Day turned out to be gloriously sunny. My tent dried out, lots of people came, and the kids looked ridiculously happy all weekend!
My next fair is on the Alexandria Waterfront in two weeks. Enough time to recuperate and get more things made. Fingers crossed for no rain.