Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tales from the Trove - Renault Winery Grape Stomping Festival






















Today was the Renault Winery October Fest & Grape Stomping show. I can easily say that it was the most picturesque, classiest venue in which I have ever vended. For those who aren't familiar, Renault Winery is a quaint winery and golf resort in Egg Harbor City that resembles an old fashioned village. That said, this show was also an odd one in that it seemed to cater toward more commercial vendors. For example, my tent was sandwiched between Mary Kay and a company selling solar panels. Pampered Chef, Longaberger, Tupperware, and other brands were also in attendance. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with these companies, and I certainly respect that their representatives need to make a living. I just never sold my work in that kind of environment, so I was a little disconcerted. Anyway, the weather was gorgeous, and I held my own in sales of skirt purses (of course), tiny totes, and a surprising amount of jewelry. Ironically, I didn't sell any pouches and only one wine bag. Happily though, it was the bag I had on display stuffed with a bottle and colorful tissue. I also had the opportunity to meet two fellow EtsyNJers. Suz of Whimseys, http://www.whimseys.etsy.com/, was playing shopper today and stopped by my tent to introduce herself. We'd chatted via email on the EtsyNJ list (she was the one who told me about the Renault show), so it was really nice to meet her in person. She was carrying one of her amazing handbags, which also happened to be a Hoffman Challenge winner (you can peruse http://www.hoffmanchallenge.com/ for more details). She recognized the bf right off because she follows my blog and noted that I was wearing my Make and Tell Challenge-inspired jeans. I must admit I got a little kick out of that. Shortly afterwards I took a walk around while the bf manned the tent and visited Susann of Alonia Creations, http://www.sue114.etsy.com/. She was surrounded by a charming array of her handmade dolls, bags, little girls' dresses, and jewelry. I'm actually a follower of her blog, so it was fun meeting her. I continued on my way, stopping to visit the tent across from mine, Patty's Crafts, before getting back to work. Patty and her friend had come all the way from Connecticut! Their husbands were playing in a Renault golf tournament, so they decided to set up shop at the festival. I purchased two of Patty's adorable handmade cupcake pincushions, one for me and one for my sister. I suppose I'll need one now that I'm a budding seamstress (ha ha). My sister stopped by a little later, and I presented her with the pincushion. She was delighted. My last visitor of the day arrived just as I was packing up. This wasn't odd; I find that many browsers will stop to check out your wares as you're breaking down. It's almost as if they don't want to miss out. Anyway, this last-minute buyer turned out to be my very first craft fair customer ever. She'd bought some jewelry from me at the Somers Point Ladies Auxiliary Flea Market back in April (an otherwise bleak event), then made another purchase at the Brigantine PTA show later that spring. She is a very original dresser, and I was happy to see her. In fact, she was carrying a purse made out of a toilet seat cover! She'd bought it at another craft show, and it was really cute. She made several purchases, including one of my Rocker Bangles. I'd had yet to sell one anywhere up until then, and I was really pleased, as they are one of my favorite products. So, that was it. Would I do this show again? I suppose. I ended up doing as well as I do at most smaller shows, and the entrance fee was relatively low. However, it was difficult to lug everything to the tent site (the village setup didn't seem nearly as quaint when the bf and I were trudging through it like a couple of dromedaries). The Renault people have three shows on tap for next year, so we'll see how I feel. As of now I don't have any more shows scheduled at all. It's a bit of a relief because it means I can hunker down and prepare for next year's shows as well as work on pitching inventory to shops. I hope that ends up working out, as it would be a nice additonal outlet.

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