It has been a volatile month or so here at Noctiluna HQ (also known as the studio above my garage).
In late October/ early November, feeling ragged and uninspired, I gave myself a two week break from printing. I spent this time locked my studio exploring my painterly side and listening to audiobooks while muttering to myself darkly. After this hiatus, I emerged from my cocoon in a much better mood, ready to grin and engage with the outside world again.
I started by getting together for large amounts of coffee and chatter with fellow maker and mompreneur, Suzanne, from Bennebokids. Still shaking like maniacs from our strong Danish coffee buzz, we enthusiastically planned and publicised a Holiday Open Studio for mid November. Ooh how exciting! It was all fun and games to start with, but once the coffee buzz wore off we realised the truth of it all.
Organizing and promoting a public event like this was a first for us, and let me tell you, it is fairly terrifying putting yourself out there.
Once you have committed to your date, made a flyer, put the word out again and again and again on social media, offered enticements of food and drink, and oh so casually mentioned the event in passing to EVERY PERSON YOU MEET; you realize there is not much else you can do but cross your fingers and hope to god someone actually turns up. The Facebook RSVP numbers were pathetic. Five people RSVPd as ‘attending’ (one was my husband, bless him). However, forty people clicked on ‘interested’. WTF?
“Somewhere between five and forty people may turn up” I told my husband. “How much apple cider should I buy?” It was nerve wracking.
Suzanne and I tried to manage each others’ expectations.
“What’s the worst that could happen, eh?”
“Nobody turns up?”
“Exactly. We get to spend a day hanging out together eating cookies. Not a bad Saturday really.”
“And we are indoors, and didn’t have to pay a fee to be in this show.”
“There you go.
“And this way, we get to have a good, analytic look at our inventory.”
“Things could be much worse.”
“Let’s have a coffee.”
I can’t speak for Suzanne, but let’s be honest, I really hoped that people would actually turn up…. more than four people at least.
We spruced up the studio, cooked up special offers for customers, put my thirteen year old in charge of the music (more about that another time). Susanne even baked Danish cookies. Did I mention that she is Danish? Bet that coffee reference is making much more sense now, right? It all looked so pretty that I want to share the pictures with you here:
We waited with bated breath, and prepared ourselves for a day of silence and too many cookies. But guess what? PEOPLE ACTUALLY TURNED UP.
Not a huge crowd of people, but a steady trickle. A few neighbors, a couple of customers from markets, local friends with their own friends in tow, old friends from further away, and a lovely fellow maker. All of these people carved out time in their weekend for us. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude at the love and support people gave us.
As Thanksgiving is coming up, I would like to reiterate how thankful I am for every single person who has supported my small business in some way, especially the people who cheered me on when all I wanted to do was give up and lie face down on my sofa sobbing. It has really made a difference to me. If you plan on going shopping this week, consider supporting a small business and buy from a local maker. Every time you do, you help someone decide that it’s worth persevering at their dream.