Well, it’s been an interesting year of Craft Fairs and Festivals and we’ve learned so much.
I’ve gone from being terrified and nervous about putting my art out into the world to confidently contacting Barnes and Noble to be part of their Harry Potter Holiday Magical Event next Friday. Don’t get me wrong, as we were driving up to meet the manager to show her our wands we took a moment to take in the moment and realize how far we’ve come.
What’s been the biggest change? I think it’s letting go of the fear of failing at being an artist. In the beginning I was worried that I’d be rejected by everyone who looked at me and the paintings or wands, henna, or crafts I was creating.
There’s been some rejection – like the lady who walked past our booth last month and when I said hi she looked at our wands and said, “Oh, we don’t practice witchcraft”. I was taken back and didn’t say anything, but I wish I’d said, “Neither do we, but we have fun reading, playing, and creating”. I’ll never get the chance to tell her that, but it doesn’t matter. For every person who walked past my booth there were three who just wanted to pick up a wand and geek out over Harry Potter.
I met a woman who told me that the Harry Potter series saved her life. She bought a wand and a painting. A painting! Are you kidding me!?
One of my favorite wand moments this year was at my house. My son and two of his new friends were playing with the wands and the very sweet girl of 8, pointed her wand at her brother, and with the most passionate and assertive voice, simply said, “Frog!” These are the moments I imagine I’m helping create in people’s homes. Where little girls can turn their brothers into frogs.
We’ve met countless teenagers who can’t afford wands but are excited that we are nerd-crafting. Oh, yeah, that’s the official term: nerd-crafting. We’ll take it. We love to read, explore, and use our passions to create. We are nerd crafters and we love to talk with people who share our passions for literature. If you are a reader, I want to know what you are reading, what you like about that book, what you don’t like, where does it rank in the books you’ve been reading lately. I’m most interested in humans and sharing this life with others; this is how I can connect in an instant.
The human connections we’ve made have been the thing that’s slayed the fear. We met Cindy and Tink, who are our craft fair role models. We’ve become friends and it’s really great to have someone to look forward to seeing at the fairs and festivals.
I feel like our booth stands out at craft fairs because we make something that no one else in the building is making. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard, “I’ve never seen anything like this before”, or “You’ve got a great product here”, or “My sister is going to love this, can I take a picture?” Yes, of course you can take a picture!
We’ve expanded our craft fair offerings from wands to earrings and necklaces, personalized hands sanitizers, and wizard themed travel mugs. We are exploring what people are looking for – how can we engage readers and lovers of all things magical?
I’ve led a bunch of workshops with art camps, private parties, and Girl Scouts on how to make wizard wands. I love to share my skills and talents with others. Anyone can make these wands. I think it’s my love of all things Harry Potter that makes them special.
Looking ahead to the next year, I’d like to incorporate more mermaid themed art into our booth. Bryan is fine tuning his preferences for different woods and looking at a larger lathe.
Our son is getting really great at engaging people at craft fairs. He’s seen that our excitement and interest in people is what helps us succeed, and this is one of the best lessons I could ever hope for him to soak in.
This has been a wonderful year of art and discovery, there was a new Harry Potter book and a new J.K. Rowling Universe movie. We’ve made connections with our local indie bookstore, with people passing through town and people we didn’t know were our neighbors. We’ve learned that we always need to bring tape, a couple of sharpies, and that our ability to be flexible is one of our greatest assets.
I’ve personally grown my henna skills. I’ve found new techniques for making wands. It’s been a year and I’m still excited about this – which is very cool.
I am helping a friend create a vendor and craft fair for her childrens’ PTA and I’m confident that I can help her do this in a way that makes sense to the PTA and to vendors. I’ve seen what no advertisement can do to a craft fair and I’ve seen the most organized groups run a great show. We’ve never not sold a wand at a craft fair, so we feel very fortunate.
Our Etsy page finally has wands on it – which is something we’ve been putting off. The fear there is that we’ll post a wand and then sell it and not be able to sell it to someone online. What a great problem to have! We solved this by making our Etsy wands made to order. We are looking forward to our first Etsy order.
If I could give myself advice one year ago, it would be to jump in and that it’s okay to feel afraid – that courage is being afraid of doing something and doing it anyway. Have courage. Be brave. You’ll be alright kid.
Just keep swimming.