AppleUmpkin Festival 2016 Recap

What. A. Weekend.

I was really nervous about doing this festival. It was the most expensive festival I’ve done, a lot of vendor acquaintances don’t do this festival anymore due to bad sales, and I just didn’t feel mentally prepared for it.

Saturday morning started off really rough, which just made everything feel so much worse. Thankfully we set my tent, tables, and trellises up Friday night, so I just had to set¬†everything else myself that morning. It wasn’t until I was about half finished that I realized that I forgot things at home, so had to just throw everything in the tent, zip it up, and rush home.

Thankfully we live 5 minutes away, right? ūüėČ

Running home also meant I got to see my kids quickly and get more views of this gorgeous sunrise (aka painting inspiration):

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Once I was back and all set up, things went fairly smoothly Saturday. There were times I was swamped, and there were times it was pretty quiet. It ended up being the best day I’ve ever had for a festival, and after my rough week and start to the day, it was really encouraging.

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Sunday was a bit slower; there were quiet and swamped times as well, but the crowds seemed to mostly want to just walk the grounds, get food (oh man, the smells were AMAZING), and enjoy the music.

Highlights:

The weather. Seriously. We could not have had better fall weather! Bright sunshine, slight breeze, and cool temperatures? Perfection.

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Visitors! Getting to see friends from the community I hadn’t seen in awhile (my kids just switched to another district, and we don’t get to see a lot of our friends here anymore), a friend from college came to check out the festival, repeat customers came to say hi, and my aunt and uncle happened to be in the area for another event so stopped by to see me!

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Cute little helpers!!!! My youngest came and helped for a bit while the other two kids and the hubby walked the festival, then my daughter helped my close out the day Saturday. My super cute niece also kept my chair warm while her mom and dad watched my booth so I could have a quick break.

Fun shoppers who take their time making decisions. I had one customer take a while deciding which of the Harry Potter inspired necklaces she wanted. She chose the Hufflepuff one at first, but then realized she was a Ravenclaw so went back to look at those necklaces. That brought about another round of which one to get!

Later when my youngest was helping, I had a customer who couldn’t decide which pair of earrings to get. Her husband and I both suggested the purple ones, but eventually she chose multi colored ones. She ended up coming back right before closing and exchanged them for the purple ones we recommended she get! But what makes it even funnier, is that she came back Sunday and brought her mom to my booth. Her mom ended up buying the multi colored ones that her daughter¬†originally bought Saturday!

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Excitement over Boathouse. My supervisor from the campus library I worked at during college bought a copy of each for her as well as to donate to the campus library, and a teacher at the school my kids used to attend came and got them for her granddaughters.

I also had THREE people request that some of the illustrations become prints!!!!

There was also a little boy who stopped outside of my booth and got so excited about the Boathouse books I had on display! He was talking about all the things Boathouse does in the stories, and that his teacher read them in his class, and how he really likes them!

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Meeting other artists. I had an artist come in who just happened to be there with his wife, and we talked for a bit Saturday morning about programs and processes, and then Sunday morning another oil painter who was a vendor on the other side of the festival stopped in and we talked about processes and our love of the color blue.

One of my originals is THE wish list for Christmas! A woman came to my booth and fell in love with¬†Middlebury Sky. She grew up here, and misses the clouds. She lives in Philly and happened to be in the area for the festival, and now she’s going home to tell her husband that what she wants for Christmas is this painting!

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The Lows:

My neighboring vendors weren’t super friendly. Maybe I was just spoiled at Brockport…okay, I probably was spoiled there by making two great connections with other vendors, and that’s ruined me for all festivals. They weren’t awful at AppleUmpkin, but just pretty much kept to themselves.

Dew. We had a lot of moisture Sunday morning on our booths, and thankfully it stayed outside my booth rather than come in and make a mess. This was the only damage I had, and it only happened because the breeze would blow the side of my tent right into the price tag. No big deal, my tent just dripped onto customers for the first couple hours as they entered and exited the booth.

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Being away from home. Not being home for two weekends in a row was really hard on my family. Both weekends were really important and amazing, but we’re really looking forward to me being home this upcoming weekend.

Panic. Okay, so this is really a good problem to have, but I hate feeling unprepared. I almost sold out of a few different styles of my jewelry, and only had one jewelry gift box left! I had tissue paper as a back up, but still, too close for comfort!

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All in all, it was a great weekend, and I could see myself doing this festival again. I’m glad I did it, and it was by far the best festival/craft show I’ve ever had. I haven’t signed up for next year yet as I’m considering changing the direction my booth takes in terms of which products I’ll have available, and I want to know exactly what that direction is before I apply. But in the meantime, it’s time to work on Boathouse 3 and get ready for the next craft show I’m doing in November! Woo hoo!!!!

New Booth Displays

You may have seen in my AppleUmpkin post that I made some new updates to my booth displays. The displays that I had weren’t quite working for me, and I knew that I was going to need more and better displays for new products.

After browsing Pinterest, I really didn’t have any ideas on what I wanted for my note cards and new earring style. I found displays I liked, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money if I wasn’t sure I knew that was going to be the display I’d use for a really long time.

I started to stress about the festival, and I was running out of time.

There was a day about a week before the festival that I was taking a van load of donations to a local second hand store, and at the bottom of my pile was a cardboard box full of wooden boxes. The boxes had been given to me years ago, full of art supplies. The boxes didn’t quite work for me for storage purposes, but I loved them too much to get rid of them.

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Wooden boxes, before…

So in my basement they sat.

Last year I decided I should get rid of them, but I could never quite bring myself to actually take them out of the house.

And I’m so glad I didn’t!

They have dividers in the bottom half and a hinged lid, and are super sturdy. After some playing around, I figured out how to turn them into my displays!

I took two boxes and removed the hinges and hardware, then painted them black. The bottom halves became note card displays; I used to have them displayed in baskets, but you couldn’t see what styles were in the baskets, and this allows shoppers to see what styles are available at a glance.

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Testing it as a note card display

The tops I took and hinged together. Once put on it’s side, I attached some ribbon for hanging the earrings on.

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Box lids before…
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Box lids after!

One box I left the top and bottom together, but removed the handle and latches. After painting it black, it became the display for some of my Christmas items!

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Testing out Christmas display layout

I didn’t take one of the box bottoms to the festival; it was supposed to hold my Christmas cards to sell. Yet again, the Note Card Gremlins attacked. Before one of the¬†last festivals I did, all of the settings for the printer got messed up and note cards wouldn’t print properly. This time, my blank note cards disappeared, so I had to reorder new ones. After they arrived, my printer would print about 3/4 of the note card beautifully, but for the last couple of inches, the note card would get pushed crooked and print incorrectly. My tech guy (aka my husband) will be checking the printer and trying to remove the Gremlins from it soon, so I hope to have Christmas cards available soon.

What would you use these boxes for?

AppleUmpkin 2015

The AppleUmpkin Festival in Wyoming, NY¬†was this past weekend, and I had the opportunity to set my booth up on a friend’s front yard and participate!

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The weather was absolutely perfect. One day of the festival is usually too hot or rainy, but we lucked out and had two absolutely gorgeous days.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this festival; I hadn’t done a two day festival before, so trying to figure out how much inventory to have was problematic, as well as wondering how my stamina would be. I had a bit of a cold, and I’m usually exhausted after just a one day show. We were also at the very edge of the festival, and not everyone who attended the festival would enter from our side. We were also on the opposite side of the road, so only a fraction of the fraction of people who would attend the show would actually come see where we were set up. Pete also was unable to help me this weekend run the booth, so I was alone all weekend. However, there were three of us selling our wares at this house, so someone was always available to watch my booth when I needed to step away.

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I’m really happy with how well the show went, and could write all day about all the fun things that happened over the weekend.

My favorite stories from the weekend are:

Being asked to inscribe and autograph a print

A customer searching me out because she saw my AppleUmpkin Festival Facebook event (that went viral locally!) and wanted to see what I was about

A customer coming to my booth, recognizing my work from a previous event, and then telling me she wants to see me everywhere next year because she thinks my work is amazing

Friends, family and repeat customers coming by to support me, either by visiting or making purchases

People coming in Sunday (when it was really really slow) because they wanted to make sure I didn’t feel left out, and then making purchases because they fell in love with my work. One woman only came in because she was concerned no one saw me because I was behind a tree!

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Hearing stories of people buying my jewelry and not being able to wait to put it on (or even putting it on in the booth after purchasing it!) and hanging up art as soon as it gets home ‚̧

New changes and additions to the booth:

The new style of earrings debuted, and they were a huge hit! I think I sold fourteen pairs!

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New displays for jewelry, note cards, and the Christmas items. This made it so much easier for people to find exactly what design they were looking for.

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Another table! I ended up ordering a table identical to what I already had. All the longer tables I found either didn’t fold or didn’t change heights, and I like having the higher tables. Even with the extra table, I was still cramped for space, and I wasn’t able to have all the products I intended to have.

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Things I want to change:

Possibly get yet another table. The corner with the prints was a little cramped, and once Boathouse Mouse books are out, I’ll have those as well.

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Maybe work on layout a little bit more. If people came from the left side, they only saw the originals and walked past. People walking from the right side saw all the jewelry and prints and were more apt to stop because they saw smaller items.

New ideas for products:

I always get feedback about new products that people would like to see. I got two great ones this weekend, and I’m definitely going to be looking into them:

Non-holiday gift tags. Gifts are given for more than just Christmas, so ones for birthdays would be a great thing to have. The woman who suggested that actually came back and asked me to make apple gift tags for teacher gifts, so those will be coming soon!

Adding an optional non-porous backing to my necklaces. I was really confused when this was first mentioned to me, but this would allow them to be wearable essential oil diffusers! I think it’s a great idea, and as we love essential oils in my family and I know they’re popular with a lot of people right now, I think it’s definitely something to look into.

This was my last outdoor show for the season, and only have one more indoor show scheduled. Thank you all for your support this year; we can’t wait to see what next year brings!