Airplane Mode, Take 2

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Packed & ready. It all fits! But it's SUPER HEAVY! Ugh, so many stairs in NYC... well, at least I'll have sweet biceps when I'm done with NYC!

Amidst the preparation and such, I churned out a new card:
now on etsy :)

Oh I'm beyond anxious. I've never flown a plane with all my craft fair stuff before. So interesting. Here's to something new! & to New York! I already have my heart set on SHAKE SHACK as my first meal. Just keeping with tradition :)

Airplane Mode

I will elaborate I have free moment (with pictures too!), but I am a tad bit NERVOUS about flying with my crafts. I don't anticipate damage in transit or my luggage getting lost (though that is a possibility I didn't think of until now hehe). I'm just afraid I'm forgetting something and it won't be easy to drive back home to pick it up. I'll be miles & miles away in NYC! On a good note, everything fits in the luggage I picked up from Costco. I think it may be the lightest piece of luggage that I've ever lifted considering its size. WHOOP! :)

Okay, time for a cathartic bike ride. More later!

Treasure Island Flea

Monday, May 30, 2011

Victoria of Paper & Type and I did some serious adventuring Saturday. We dropped by Modern Mouse to replenish inventory (aka YES! P&T is now at Modern Mouse!) & headed to the first Treasure Island Flea!
It was to do research on whether or not this was something we wanted to do in the future.
VVVVVV letter press letters. Too perfect.
It looks like this is the pic Victo took but it's not :)
We both walked away with goodies from Cisco of Restore & Rework. Victo found an addition to her collection of etiquette books and I found a wire basket for my booth. It was hard to walk away--he curates his antique finds very very well. Look for him in fleas scattered throughout the Bay.
I loved the look of these giant letters scattered on the concrete.The view from the flea!
Oh, & most importantly... there was a free photobooth ;)

I think you shall see us there vending at some point this summer/fall!

Paintings for Helen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a quick sketch& a splash of color

J is for Jonah

jonah's a 6 month-old baby with two wonky bottom teeth so he & the plush are twins! :)
sending him on his merry today!

Today's Projects!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

quick sketch of a custom order for lisa
the nose picker, soon to debut on a new card
children's book dummy-ing
i'm pooped!

Maker Faire 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm trying to understand what made this fair 130849230842081309482048 times better than any other fair. I think it has everything to do with the people--the attendees & fellow makers, crafters, and innovators. Every participant and attendee came with a pre-existing appreciation and respect for DIY, and came because of this appreciation. It wasn't to find a cool gift for their friend, or a sweet handmade t-shirt. And every vendor was of the highest skill, quality and caliber. It was definitely an honor to be amongst the hundreds of makers & vendors. Really. An honor :)
I knew they expected 80,000 in attendance but honestly, I didn't know what that meant until it was 12:30pm and people were squeezing their way through the aisles. It was awesome!
nearing the bottom of the bin
closing up shop

I had quite a few favorite moments:
  • Met three amazingly clever and chatty kids who wanted to email me their own drawings. Devon, Kalia, and Ian (sorry if I misspelled), I was serious when I said I'd do a drawing exchange! We can be drawing pen pals! Email me :)
  • the little girl who went through each painting telling her mom an improvised tale
  • the clink doppelgangers(!!!!!!):
  • the woman who requested the 'love of my life' tin can card & sent her friend on a mission to distract her girlfriend at a neighboring booth while I made the card
  • kids digging through the trunk in search of the few elephants with eyes
  • Kevin telling customers I had stepped out but that I look like her, pointing to the cardboard sign
  • oh, and this email: "I just wanted to tell you that when I asked my daughter what her favorite part of the Maker Faire was this year she said seeing your work :) It was one of my favorite parts too."
Warm fuzziness all around. I will definitely apply for next year :)

Craft Fair Preparation Demystified! part 5

I think I should rename the series to something else because we've moved past preparation and onto THE REAL DEAL! I completely failed to blog about what happens during a fair while the actual fair was happening because I was so dang tired. But! Here it is!

9. Vending like it ain't no thang
I look terrified but don't be! It's all gravy! :)

There are a few things to remember while vending:
  • Greet your customers. A lot of stores & boutiques even have 'greeter' as a duty & there's a reason for it. It's important to make them feel acknowledged & welcomed to do more than just a glance-and-a-walk-away. And if they do pull that move, don't be discouraged--there's always someone new to talk to!
  • If they decide to hang around, engage! Chat 'em up by asking a question as simple as 'how are you?' or tell them a fun fact about what they're eying. Make it interesting & don't be shy! If they ask how much it is, don't just say the price. Give the product a story so it's personal.
  • Accessibility. When I say accessibility, I mean it to describe your products and YOU! You are the face of your business so make sure you're visible, smiling, and able to easily engage with your customers. You can do this while standing next to your booth, sitting behind, whatever. Just make sure you can be seen. Regarding product, I usually keep display copies in the front and the purchasable items in the back for safe keeping. And when I organize everything, I make sure everything I'll need urgently is immediately close by.
  • Your supportive, visiting friends are important & of course you want to show your appreciation. I learned from experience that it's good to let them in behind the booth and talk to them while keeping an eye on the front of the booth. Friendship crowds are good but not so much if they're blocking access to your booth. Don't worry--your friends will understand.
  • Making the sale. Congratulations! You did it!!! I think it's good to develop a rhythm--deliver the price, package the item, $ transaction, change, thank you & hand off, inventory log. If you have a helper--even better! I tend to handle the verbal/face action while my helper is backstage prepping it all.
here's my helper :)
  • Stay hydrated, sit, take breaks, and eat. It'll be hard to find a moment to eat a complete meal without being interrupted so plan on lots of snacking. Bring fruit, granola, nuts, cookies and chocolate for a lovely pick-me-up. Oh & mints for that after-snacking breath :)
  • Keep a notebook at your post in the event of artist suggestions, notes on customers, custom orders, good stories or suggestions. There's so much happening you probably won't remember unless you jot it down.
  • The last moments of the day are the toughest because you're pooped but try your hardest not to take down early. You never know who will come by in a hurry & with an intent to buy. & when you do pack up, make sure to keep the money on you. You have much more at stake than the starting $100 in change. Take your time to put everything away in an orderly & organized fashion. It'll be a lot easier to unpack when you're home or if you're readying for another fair.
Mmmm... I'm on a roll so I'll finish this series with the final step:

10. Craft Fair Wrap-Up
By this time, your brain is putty. You're exhausted & want nothing more than to veg. To counterattack this impulse, I created a post-craft fair to do list so I don't have to think about the steps. It's all spelled out for me & it's pretty consistent with every fair:
  • unpack supplies & inventory
  • input finances in log
  • check inventory for loss/theft
  • blog/fb/twitter about event
  • update mailing list
  • email follow ups/inquiries
  • email 'nice to meet you' coupon
  • deposit money
  • plus/delta
I usually get this all done the day after the fair. Afterwards I feel a sense of closure and can move on to whatever is next on the plate.

Everything on the list is important but IMO, the most significant is the plus/delta (photo above). Writing out the good & bad very much informs what my intentions are for the next fair, and in some cases, what the next fair will be. Big questions to ask are: do I need to change or add to my inventory in light of how people responded? Do I need to work craft fairs at all? Should I share a booth or have my own next time? Do I need to change my display? Of course, this is all from one fair and it's up to you to test & see if it's an actual trend or simply a fluke.

Overall, as you can see fairs are kiiiind of a big deal. A lot goes into a day or two of vending, but I think it's well worth it especially because it'll tell you more than just a thing or two about what it means to be a business.

Huzzah!!! :)

Here are previous posts part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4

Craft Fair Preparation Demystified! part 4

Friday, May 20, 2011

So I'm back from San Mateo. Set up went well except for the fact that it's hella windy with ish blowing EVERRRRYWHERE. Add that to the cons list of an outdoor fair. Oh, and I FORGOT A SHEET! I even mentioned it in the first post. duh-DOY! Anyway, let's recap the day as:

8. Setting up the booth
So you've gone through the checklist. Checked it once & twice. You've packed the car so neatly and off you go. On the way to San Mateo, I took the liberty of stopping at an Ikea. Ikeas are just soo far away from the center of civilization I feel like you should take advantage whenever you're within a 4 mile radius (at least!). So I stocked up on frames in the event I run out this weekend. It's better to be safe with an option of returning than sorry.

The first thing you do on-site is check-in! I know the impulse is unload the car but really, slow down. Have your friend/parent/lover/chauffeur wait in the car while you check-in and get your bearings. The lovely folks running the fair will probably give you a map, any freebies, IDs of some sort, information on where to load and then park your car, and most importantly, they will direct you to your booth. Some craft fairs offer a free dolly service which is always wonderful and always should be taken advantage of.

Unload the lot, then have your friend park while you carry it all to your booth. It's courtesy to those fellow vendors wanting to get in there and unload. Of course, it's always good to watch your belongings but I've never witnessed or been victim to any thievery at fairs. To be on the safe side, be sure to keep the pricey goods and monies on your person.
What works for me is unpacking big to small. Establish the big furniture like tables, shelves, tablecloth and just keep moving all the smaller pieces around it. When I pack things, I tend to group it together as first unpack this, then this, then this whole bag is just under the table, etc. You'll get the hang of it the more fairs you do.
Even though Maker Faire is one of those fairs where you set-up only to vend the next day, I set everything up as if it were ferreal (see the first pic above). It's just so I know what works and what doesn't and I'm not panicking moments before the fair. I let the booth be for a while and assessed what needed to be fixed based on its orientation (i.e. gauging from which side the crowd will be moving), how it looked squeezed between two neighbors, WIND FACTOR (ugh!!), lighting, etc. I take note and figure out ways to solve the problem, hopefully fixing it right then & there or bringing a solution tomorrow. For example, to combat the wind, I'm bringing putty to place on the bottom of the cards and white linen to place behind the shelf so my HOWL doesn't fly away.

Oh! And when driving to the fair, take note of your surroundings. Remember that sheet problem I had? I noticed a Ross on the way and had my parents pick up a sheet for me while I set up ;)

Once done fixing the booth, it's good to wander the grounds, establishing where the nearest bathrooms are and of course, FOOOOOD! Don't be shy--chat it up with your new neighbors and fellow vendors!

Here are some of the sights I saw while wandering Maker Faire with my mama santos.
big ass bike
2 R2D2s!!!
This thing shoots out lightning or something. CRAZY!

Anyway, I'm excited for tomorrow. I aim to get plenty of sleep tonight and my helper, Kevin, has just arrived. So seeeeyaaahh :)

Craft Fair Preparation Demystified! part 3

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Aha! It's the day before the day before the big day. Although the day before the big day is actually a pretty big deal because in the case of Maker Faire, as also Unique LA, Friday (tomorrow) is set up day. So I treat tomorrow like the BIG DAY because it's all outta my hands after that.


7. Getting Everything Ready for Move-In
I usually use this day to stay calm & add the finishing touches on things. I go through my check list and make sure everything is in order. Extra business cards... check.
Double check inventory numbers & print my inventory sheet, which doubles as my sales log.
Dress up the extras like stamping craft bags & adding tags to all my plush. I print tickets/directions/information if there are any to be printed. In the case of Maker Faire, I bought a ticket for my weekend helper, Kevin (yay see you soooon!).
& I neatly pack away the goods (top left clockwise):
  • packaging: plastic bags for the big prints, newsprint if they want it to be rolled instead, craft bags for prints & cards, and paper bags. My clipboards are also in there with the inventory sheets & extra sheets of scrap paper for my hand-drawn sign up sheets. Pen is also already tied!
  • 8x10 prints already packaged and taped in individual plastic sleeves, divided in their own section. Extra plastic sleeves & tape are also included.
  • all things SQUISHY & sewn very carefully squeezed into the green chest I put in front of the booth for you to 'sift through & find a friend!'
  • framed prints & cards: you can see a glimmer of the new print in the white square frame ;)
The furniture, like the table, shelf, chairs and all that stuff is either in the garage or in my car so that will be taken care of tomorrow when I load up the car.

I learned from previous fairs that the less time I spend preparing a sold item for a customer at the fair the better. I used to have my prints loose and in a big pile, all mixed up. Now I take the time to sign each print & place it in a sleeve well before the fair. I don't know why but my brain goes crazy whenever I make a sale and I suddenly feel all this pressure like, oh my god this customer just bought something. What do I do?!? What do I do!? So I don't know. It helps to have it all ready & good to go.

Okay, time to do yoga & hit Trader Joes. I need my usual snack ammunition of seaweed, gallon of water, coconut water, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Oh. And ice cream. For the 15 min drive back home. Whaaaat!? It calms me! :)


get ready for magic:

F5 2011 RE:PLAY Film Festival. Inductance from Physalia Studio on Vimeo.

thanks for sharing, jo!

Craft Fair Preparation Demystified! part 2

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ah, hello! Let's continue this craft fair demystifying shall we! (btw, if you're just joining us now, here's the previous post!)

6. Setting IntentionsOne thing that I always make sure to do before any fair, big or small, is set my intentions.

My early craft fair intentions used to go a little like this:
  • make a profit, any profit!
  • have people sign up for the mailing list
  • don't be shy
  • stay hydrated & don't forget to pee!
  • learn a lot! make mistakes!
All very general, but very good to have. I remember on the first day of my first fair, I intentionally didn't put prices on anything to force me to talk to customers. Then as the fairs continued, the intentions became more specific and it became clear the areas I wanted to work on. Now my intentions are more like this (for maker faire, from the photo above):
  • actually venture outside the booth & explore! that requires trust, letting go & energy!
  • tweet & post pictures throughout the day--requires discipline, and it'll be great promotion
  • do not get so tired that it affects your mood and demeanor. remember to drink, take breaks, get rest before & after the show days
  • of course meet new people, make friends, inspire, get press, move beyond just an email/etsy username--make it personal! tell your story and learn theirs.
  • take good inventory throughout the day. you're great at organizing the space under the table, but make it so it contributes to a rhythm and habit of prep, log, change and give.
  • really utilize your helpers! become a better manager and let go of tasks so that you can effectively talk and greet and make sales.
I think writing out intentions is sooooo important. It gives me a focus/foci that isn't merely 'sales.' It's about how to be a better businesswoman, crafter, artist, communicator, manager, etc. You gotta think big picture! which is so important because you have to believe there's a big picture for your craft if it's to successfully become your bread & butter.

I love craft fairs because I get to meet so many people and not only see that they liked something enough to pick it up or buy it, but see WHY. Little known fact: I thought I was going into the plush business. Then I had my first craft fair and to my surprise, my artwork and prints stole all the glory! If I didn't learn that, I probably wouldn't be around. Probably would have been discouraged because no one was buying elephants, and I wouldn't know exactly why.

Craft fairs can be expensive, laborious affairs but I believe they're well worth the effort, stress, everything. So cheers to this weekend! I can't wait!

Stay tuned for the next post about what happens the DAY BEFORE THE FAIR! Dun dun DUNNNN!

Oh Brother What a World!

The origin of this phrase is none other than the talented Manolo. I forget if I've already blogged about him. Well, if I did already, he deserves a revisit! We became friends in NYC through my bffffff Sandeep. He gave me my first 'break' hehe at the Bushwick Artwalk when he let me share his studio space and display my artwork alongside his. He also let me borrow the phrase 'oh brother what a world' which I use at least 23904802384 times a day. Thank you.
"say something funny"

His personality definitely shines through his art... there's a darker silliness and understanding. I applaud him for perfecting such a unique style :)
"introverting for a living"
"hello clouds"
these two are my favorite
"the vision is free"
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