Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to try to get our DIY kits out to a broader market. One of the ways we decided that we wanted to do this was to tackle a full schedule of awesome, highly curated, artisanal craft shows along the west coast.
Our show season kicked off just this past weekend with our first show of the year: the inaugural show for the new Jackalope Art Fair. And what a wild weekend it was!
We’ve been literally planning for months over here in the Handcrafted Honey Bee studio, getting enough product made for a series of shows within weeks of one another. By last Friday, I was feeling pretty confident that we had built up a good stock, had planned a good booth, and had invited plenty of friends in the LA area. We packed up the trailer and made the four hour drive down to LA (it takes a bit longer in Friday night traffic than our typical 2.5 hour trip). Fortunately my parents live about a half hour from the show site.
The next morning, the forecast showed a 20% chance of rain–but we’ve had 20% chances of rain all winter without anything ever happening. So I wasn’t too worried as we set up our booth.
We made the decision to have our tables pushed out to the edge of the booth on Saturday–a change from our set up at Artisanal LA last December. Our thought was that with so many vendors, we wanted people to be able to see what we offered right away and feel comfortable approaching the table (spoiler alert: it was a bad call for several reasons, and a decision we changed on Sunday).
We also had a scent station, where customers could smell the scents before they customized the kits. We used little furniture pads with drops of the scent on them, and covered them with glass votive holders. The customer would then smell the inside of the candle holder, which would be filled with the scent! It looked pretty, but it only *kind of* worked. We’re going to have to re-work it a bit for future shows so that the scents don’t smell so strongly. It actually didn’t give the same impression as it would in the actual product, and in some instances, that worked against us. So in the future, we’ll continue to try to come up with creative options to help customers imagine their scent and flavor choices!
All in all, though, we were happy enough with the setup.
The show started at 11am, and by 1pm or so, traffic was starting to pick up. It was getting a little chilly though. And then the clouds started to gather…and it started to sprinkle.
Then it sprinkled harder.
A few brave souls whipped out umbrellas and kept shopping.
But then the rain started to pick up, and we realized that all of the edges of our tables were starting to get wet. We worked quickly to bring all of the tables in by about 2 feet, but that made a lot of the space behind those tables very crowded. We sadly realized that we were going to have to take down our pretty banners. We tried to do so as quickly as possible…we all kept bumping into one another, because there was such a small mount of dry space available.
Then it started to pour. And because we had a 10′ x 20′ booth that was actually made up of 2 tents put together, we had a long strip down the middle where water started to funnel down the center of our tent. So we rushed to tarp all of our extra product we had stored in crates at the back of the tent near the strip.
It was about this time that a few influential and highly respected people stopped by the booth, including Sharon Fain of the incredible LA-based organization the Academy of Handmade. We’re only recent members of the Academy, and Sharon was stopping by to introduce herself and see our offerings. I wanted to shrink behind the table and cry a bit at the impression I was giving her with our soggy, disorganized chaos, but I did my best to smile like nothing was wrong and inwardly promise myself copious amounts of wine later that night.
As it continued to pour, my saint of a husband recognized the need for chocolate. He braved the rain, umbrella-less, to go grab some mochas and nutella crepes. My intern, Sierra, and I were quite grateful.
Most of the vendors packed up by 3pm and left, but since there were still a scant number of customers milling about (and because I always take a “no leaving early” policy almost too seriously), we braved it until the posted closing time, 6pm. We packed up all of our kits, tore down the tables so we could wash the soaked table cloths, and treated ourselves to Chipotle before collapsing into bed.
We woke up early the next morning and we on site by 7am, ready for a new day and a new booth layout.
Going off of the comments we’d gotten from a few customers that they were overwhelmed at the number of vendors, we decided to create a little space where they could come and take a break from the sensory stimulation.
We stripped down the number of kits we were offering on our table, put the scent station back in the corner where we could access if for customers if they asked, and made our chalkboard signage minimal so customers could focus on the kits themselves.
I also lined up our “Brave You,” “Strong You,” and “Beautiful You” cards out and gave them out for free to as many women as possible. Some women walked away with tears in their eyes just from taking the affirmations. It continues to amaze me how powerful it can be to simply say the words. It’s so important.
All in all, I was VERY happy with our booth on Sunday. And the customers seemed to really like the layout and the display, too! We had a great time and beautiful weather on Sunday.
I also had the chance to walk around the fair a bit to see some of the other awesome crafters, as well. There were some incredible artisans there! Here were some of my favorite booths & products:
Wood Brain sells unique wooden accessories for men & women. Some of her offerings include flasks, business card holders, and jewelry. I LOVED her setup–quite a labor of love. You can shop Wood Brain here.
Unurth offers incredible handcrafted ceramic products. The attention to detail is incredible–and I even indulged by buying myself a mug. Owner Jenn Lamb didn’t need anything fancy to call attention to her booth–her products spoke for themselves. She was across from us and had a steady stream of customers and admirers all day long! You can shop Unurth here.
HUMANTREEROBOT (ARTIST MARK BRUNNER)
Artist Mark Brunner brought items from his HumanTreeRobot series, and the booth was absolutely stunning. With his vibrant colors and organized display, this was definitely one of the most eye-catching booths at the fair. You can shop Mark’s work here.
Talking to owner Jessica Murray was one of the highlights of my experience at this year’s fair. She creates waxed denim bags and leather accessories, and her work is stunning. I loved her booth setup, I loved her energy, and I loved the quality and care that she put into her work. Definitely take a moment and shop Aegis Handcraft here.
PS…They also had these hanging in their booth, and I loved them so much that I had to take a picture:
Finally, I couldn’t help but include the beautiful work of ROTD Creations. They were selling beautiful living arrangements made with colorful succulents in hand created planters, and their booth was bursting with life and color! You can shop ROTD Creations here.
In addition to walking the grounds, I also had the chance to teach a couple of workshops throughout the day. One of the most popular ones was the Groovy Lamp lip gloss workshop!
Several kids had the chance to make their own psychedelic lip gloss. A few even mixed their own colors! It was a lot of fun. (And you can snag your own Groovy Lamp Lip Gloss Kit here as well!)
Before the day was over, Rob and I made sure to snap one picture together. We were tired and sore from a weekend of work, but it is always fun to meet new people and spread the message about our kits and our commitment to encouraging authentic beauty!
Now for a brief 10 day break before heading to downtown for the UNIQUE LA show. If you’re in the area, come celebrate your Mother’s Day weekend with us! (Free roses and alcohol…what more can you ask for?) We’ll be building hard walls and bringing in flooring, so it’s certain to be an adventure. See you there!
Were you able to visit Jackalope Pasadena this year? If so, who did you love seeing there?