My Etsy Shop

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Fair that Got Away...

Yesterday, (Sunday), I went to the big Fair I couldn't even afford to become part of, had there been spots...
It was a real education for me.  This is a fair that is famous all over our Province and beyond, called a 'Taste of Saltspring'...
For those of you from elsewhere, Saltspring is a Gulf Island off the coast of the big Island (where I live), Vancouver Island, which, in turn, is off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, on the West Coast.
Saltspring Island is famous for it's overheated real estate market, and extremely hot craft market, so much so that many of those who wish to be part of it must resort to Vancouver Island for space.
Despite the fact that Saltspring Island has several craft markets of its own at this season,a portion of the population (and others, some from the Mainland, some from other Provinces) gather together very near the ferry to Victoria (the Provincial capital) at a huge Community Centre and spend 3 days selling at the 'Taste of Saltspring' Fair...
About 1 1/2 hours away by vehicle, I thought, as a present to myself, and to satisfy my curiosity, I'd take myself there, and, for a change, be a customer instead of a seller.

It was interesting, frustrating and instructive. So packed I could hardly move at times, it was really impossible to see every booth-not so great for potential business. I did of course manage to spend way too much money, but why not, tis the season to overindulge.
I found some crafters who I've sold with in the past, and they all said it was a good fair for them. I wonder...
It's several hundred dollars for three days, and far enough away that you'd have to rent a hotel room, plus fuel. You'd have to make a great deal of money indeed, for it to be worthwhile-and so much for adjudication...
I saw several instances of reselling of foreign-made goods, in a fair that is supposedly strictly-enforced handmade...this seems to be a pervasive issue all over, as the popularity of craft fairs has attracted those who would benefit without effort. A shame, as it really brings down the tone of the whole fair.
Glad I went? Yes, if only for a glimpse of what is in the possible future...but right now I'm content with my local Market.
I learned that bigger is not always more profitable, and after speaking with friends, found that my intuition about other fairs had been spot -on...if you wish to make a career, even part-time, of crafting, best to to stick with what feels right; you could lose everything by gambling on a "big show".
It's an old adage, in many forms, but comes down to don't gamble if you can't afford to..
Perhaps someday I'll feel confident enough to throw a thousand dollars into the wind and see where it falls, but for now I'm gonna be boring and practical and stick to the tried and true.
On the last day of that big and prosperous craft market, I saw resignation on the faces of too many sellers...I know the look and I know the feeling...


  1. It is always nice to get a buyer perspective. I hope for God's sakes you did not commit the ultimate sin of asking something stupid that is now being bashed away on forums and blogs all over the internet such as "Nice, how did you make that?" LOL.


  2. I never ask, but when they know you are a fellow craftsperson, they often volunteer that info...unlike the raging paranoia in the Etsy Forums...but no, Pam, I would never ask, it's rude and obnoxious and i save those characteristics for my friends...or my blog!

  3. Oh. I ask sometimes, but usually only if I am interested in really buying something. I like to know about what I buy.


  4. Because I have been at this crafting business for awhile, and have moved around within that sphere to different types of crafting, only to end up back at what i do best (hats , etc) I actually know how to do alot of things..and I'm happy to answer intelligent questions regarding my work..but some are doozies, so in my little mind i sing to myself"smile, though yor heart is breaking" favourites are when people look at my crocheted hats and say, oh, I knit too...

  5. Your tree is lovely by the way.


  6. Oops, that's the other blog..thanks, though, I can't believe how hard it is to take a decent picture around here...i guess i need a better camera..