I was a vendor at the Big Crafty in Asheville (NC) yesterday afternoon. I've had good sales from this particular fair in the past but this one didn't go nearly as well as I'd hoped. I did make my vendor fee back, times 2. But if you've done any craft fairs yourself you can understand this covers expenses and that's about it. I am disappointed about not doing better but it has me thinking about more than that.
I started my little business in the spring of '09. And since then it's been steadily growing and making a decent contribution to the household. More than that, I'm able to do what I love and share it with the world. As I sat pondering between shoppers yesterday, I thought, would I be just as happy making only for myself and loved ones? And truly, the answer is no. Sure, my children love my toys and end up with a good many of them, but they only need so much. Even if I were to make toys for every child I know, a) that's actually a lot of expense that rests on me and b) I've got a lot of ideas that I want to create and still, children only need so many toys. So I create for your children (or you) and I'm able to work out all the many variations that are bumping around in my head and making for profit pushes me to always be coming up with more and I love that! I love the creative process. I don't love, however, that I'm about to spend this beautiful day making 33 tiny gnomes...
Now, please don't get me wrong. I love what I do and the fact that my business is growing and I can make this financial contribution to my family. I just also am wishing I had more time for said family. Some days I feel like putting my needles away all day so that I can take walks and craft with the girls, or perhaps even use those needles to make something for my children. It's really been quite a while since they've had any new mama knits.
I'm not thinking of closing shop. I'm trying to think of different ways to achieve a little balance and make more time for the things that are really important to me. Right now I'm leaning towards a very set computer time schedule and maybe nixing 'made to order' from the shop. You would still be able to purchase the items I make now, but not until I'm ready to make them up and relist them. I don't know, I think it may work. Shop owners, how do you do this? What works for you and what is maddening?