This weekend the Amherst Family Center, Amherst, MA celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a Craft Fair on the Amherst Common. I helped jury their first craft show when our family lived in Amherst. So when I was asked to come back this year to sell my work at their show I thought it would be a great chance to see a few old friends, to check out the town after having moved away nearly 20 years ago, and maybe to sell a few things. As the show started and as I walked around the Common it was clear that this family and child centered event has survived and is doing well. It was great to see the kids and their parents walking about, enjoying the activities, the music, and yes, even the crafts! I haven't heard old Rafi songs coming from a music tent or seen little Froggy style boots in years! It was delightful to see that some things haven't changed much. And when I did bump into some old friends we talked mostly about how our young adult "kids" were doing!
So what does this have to do with the selling of one's craft? I think it might have something to do with making a connection with the customer. Its easiest of course with old friends and family. But whether it is at a small town family event or at a larger urban show...connecting directly with the customer...with someone who enjoys and values your work...is very satisfying. Its just a lot more fun when its done on friendly turf!
Congratulations to the Amherst Family Center on your 25th year in supporting families and handmade American crafts. I certainly enjoyed this year's event and hope to see you again next year!
You meet some interesting people selling your art work at craft fairs. My favorite folks are those who have an eye out for... and like to collect.... specific types of things. Most of my penguin paintings, for example, are sold to people who collect or know someone who just "loves penguins"! This weekend in Old Deerfield, MA, I met a young lady who was looking at my lemon and lime watercolor prints. She smiled... and then showed me a picture of her two beloved Parrotlets named Lemon and Lime. She sent me the picture of Lemon and Lime on her lime colored I-phone. I guess she had come to the right place for lemon and lime stuff! Her friend then bought some lemon and lime mugs and trivets for her. I gave her a free lemon and lime bookmark and we all just had a good laugh. Viva Lemon & Lime!
As I was packing up at the camp this morning in Rangeley, I looked out from the deck and saw a bunch of wild turkeys in the back yard headed down to the apple tree. I was about to head back to MA to do a craft show in Old Deerfield and an Apple Festival in Amherst. So it was amusing and timely to see these turkeys having their own apple festival! They really looked like they were bobbing for apples! As I later drove off from the camp I saw that they were on the road down to the lake and it reminded me of the old joke "Why did the turkey cross the road?... to prove he wasn't chicken!" I hope these turkeys make it through the hunting season and that they come back for Thanksgiving!
Today I was selling my wares at a craft fair in Topsfield, MA. I met lots of nice people but one that stuck in my mind was a young boy, maybe 10 years old, who had a $20 bill tightly gripped in his hand who said he was looking for something to buy for his family. It was probably his whole budget for the fair. He carefully studied all the products and said he really liked my painting of an Emperor Penguin. He was looking at the Emperor Penguin on a trivet. I told him it was $19 and he said "I'll take it!" As I was wrapping it up I thought... maybe he would like (the more expensive) Penguin Clock which I was selling for $25. It was not out on the display so I showed it to him and he said, "Oh yah!! So I said... "Its yours for $20 bucks". He dropped the $20 on the counter and ran off to catch up with his friend. Seeing him run off with the Emperor Penguin was, simply put, the best sale of the day.
When I got home, just in time to watch the NBC nightly news, oddly enough, the nightly "feel good" feature was about "Happy Feet", who was "released into the ocean south of New Zealand today more than two months after he came ashore on a beach nearly 2,000 miles from home and became an instant celebrity". Something like "its all good Karma" struck me. Check out the story below.
Tomorrow, Labor Day, is the last day of the show. So in honor of Happy Feet I dug out all my Emperor Penguin stuff....prints, mugs, pillows, etc. and I think I'll do a little display at the show tomorrow to wish Happy Feet a safe journey. By coincidence I recently picked up the book "March of the Penguins" for free at a library table at a local craft fair and ran off with it too! "What goes around comes around" I guess. Good luck Happy Feet!
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