All the Crafty Things is 8 years old! Here is a look back at how it began and has evolved over the years.
A local handmade marketplace called Amberleaf opened in our town, which my friend Kristin described as "like walking into Pinterest!" We were both pretty crafty — she was really good at sewing and I had been doing embroidery and crochet for a few years. We became inspired to try to create a booth of our own, and came up with the slogan "two Pinterest and coffee addicted friends, joining forces to create all the crafty things."
That summer Amberleaf invited us to participate in their sip n' stroll event. We spent the summer making things -- bags, scarves, hats, cup cozies, towels. We cobbled together a display using items from our homes including a coat rack, a dress form, a bench, and random tablecloths and baskets.
We did okay for our first market. We met a lot of people, had fun, and learned a lot. After that confidence boost, we signed up to do two more markets that fall. One was at my kids' elementary school fall festival and the other was at a church bazaar.
We continued making things throughout the year and participating in 2 or 3 markets in the fall/winter. It was a fun way for us to spend the day together without our husbands and kids. Our display gradually improved as we did each event.
Life got busy. We were both working full-time, plus Kristin went back to school to get her teaching degree. We did a two-day market that September and it was a total flop (and 90 bazillion degrees outside). After that we both decided that we were done doing craft fairs.
Life got even more busy. In 2019 my daughter had two surgeries a few months apart. Both were really hard on her and involved a lengthy recovery. And then I had to have surgery myself that fall and winter. Once we were both finally healed up and things were starting to settle, the COVID pandemic started and everything shut down. So I spent the majority of 2019-20 at home, taking care of my daughter, helping my kids with online school, working remotely, and knitting/crocheting during my spare time.
Things opened back up in 2021, including craft fairs. I had created a lot of items over the years which were sitting in tubs in my closet, so I decided to give it another shot and participate solo in a local event that a friend told me about. Sadly it turned out to be a dud; it was poorly advertised and had very low traffic, and my random items didn't go together at all.
I posted the above photo in an online crafters group and got some great feedback and suggestions about ways to improve my items and display:
Make less categories of items so that the customer is not overwhelmed (this is hard because I want to make all the things)
Stick to a more cohesive color palette with more neutrals.
Only bring items that are seasonally appropriate.
Choose events more wisely. Make sure they are well advertised, have a lot of traffic, and that my items fit in there.
Since I still had so much inventory, I decided to list it on Etsy. I cleared out a lot of things and also discovered that my best seller on there is knitted cat hats.
I was content with selling cat hats on Etsy until I stumbled upon some market vlogs by Taylor Lynn Crochet and Camryn's Cute Creations. They make items similar to mine and their displays look so cute! It inspired me (again) to do another craft fair.
Since I was starting with low inventory, I chose a more muted color palette and went through my yarn stash to see what I already had in those colors, then bought a few more skeins during the January yarn sales to fill in the gaps. I made hats, scarves, scrunchies, keychains, bags, cup cozies, and towels. I got a few more crates to add height to my display, a canvas banner with my logo, fitted tablecloths, and I made some cute hat stands. And my husband made me an awesome checkout stand.
I did two carefully-chosen craft fairs this spring and am signed up to do 2 more this fall/winter, which is my "prime time" season. I also spruced up my Etsy shop, created this website and blog, and started designing and publishing some of my knitting and crochet patterns on Etsy and Ravelry.