Saturday I participated in the Boutique at the Barn, which was super fun. I had a great time sitting next to Samurai Mom and her awesome display of demi millinery as well as seeing lots of friends who came to shop. The event was the culmination of much stress and a few tears, and a lot of what-did-I-get-myself-into's.
Also, I sewed 20 new purses for the event. Along with the purses I already had in inventory, that made 31 purses to sell at the show. And, don't forget, each purse has a story that goes with it. It was a lot of sewing and a lot of writing.
Then I had to figure out a way to get 31 purses and stories to look cute, so I made tags and ironed out wrinkles and created some displays. Some displays were inexpensive, like the $1.99 plate holder from Goodwill. Others were more expensive, like the $15 jewelry holder from JoAnn's (but I had a 40% off coupon). The $9 table leg and $1 dowel from Home Depot was the display that held the most purses, but also required some assembly (thanks Robert.)
I loved how people would come up to my purses and read the stories and laugh and laugh. I had two ladies tell me they had a craft show in September and would love to invite me to participate next year--that my purses would be a perfect fit. I had a couple other ladies tell me that people were talking about the "purses with stories" on the other side of the horse arena (did I tell you the craft fair was in a horse arena?) So there was good buzz and great feedback on the bags.
Unfortunately, I only sold five purses on Saturday.
This was disappointing on several levels but the biggest one was that I now had to cart all the purses back to my house.
Only slightly less disappointing was the realization that crafting just doesn't pay. The amount of time and effort that goes into making one of these purses, plus that fact that I'm mostly paying retail with coupons for the supplies adds up to a very, very small profit.
Now, if I felt some compulsion to sew purses and just could not stop doing it, then maybe this might be a good avenue for me to recoup some of my cost. But the purses have become a burden--something I have to do.
So, what I'm thinking is that I'll put these bad boys up on Etsy, offer free shipping through Dec 15 and try and move some inventory. Then I'm done with the purse business.