Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And -

Let’s all take a deep breath and move on. But let’s not forget what a little caring and love can do for everyone.

Back to the New Orleans story.

I continued to knit and fill orders – many of my products wet with my tears. I kept my secret from the other men in my life that I love with all my heart – my brother and also my nephew. Never did I reveal to them that my desire to give up was so close to the surface. No. I kept smiling and soldiering on. Minute by minute.

How were the huge craft shows we were involved in? For me – great. For my brother – terrible. Never in a million years did we think the economy would tank so terribly just as the Christmas season was upon us. Especially in April when we had to fork over the $2000 it cost for the 2 booths. Yes folks. That’s $1,000 each we paid for our booths. Add stock – the cost of the booth – time. Right. Insanity in itself.

Add to that the fact that each show was 4 days long – the first two days of each show were 10 hour days and you have one day to set up on top of that. We had two days in between the shows to – ‘rest’.

I did well. I went in with 62 bears, 50 thrummed slippers, 50 thrummed mittens, and 50 pairs of socks. I came home with a quarter of what I went in with. So for me it could be considered a success. Unfortunately for my brother and every other potter and glass blower as well – nothing. Oh he sold a few things – but by the second show I was putting out only a little of my stock so that his pottery would be front and center. I don’t know if it was too late, but it didn’t help.

A lot of people walked away with his brochure and his card – but pottery isn’t something that everyone needs or wants. It’s also something that is far more expensive – and harder to do – than knitting.

The result? Exhaustion.

When the show was finally over, my brother and I drove the 3 hours to my home through a snowstorm. I kept falling asleep at the wheel as I followed his taillights through the swirling white. He would pull over and hurry back and drag me out of my car and make me walk around. I wanted to lie down and let the snow cover me and they could shovel me out in the spring. Somehow we made it and my brother stayed overnight – unwilling to make the hour long drive to his home in the storm.

Will we do it again? No. I can’t. It’s too much. Perhaps little shows – or one show – but never two back to back again. And in this economy? I’m not forking out another $1000 to line someone else’s pocket while I do all the work. Nope. Nada. It’s not going to happen.

I'll be posting my bears and woollen goods on Etsy and Big Blue Barn Knits again in a little while. And whatever other small little one day shows I might decide to do come the fall are all that I’m going to devote my time and my damaged hands and wrists to.


The Finely Tuned Woman said...

That sounds like an exhausting time for you both, but a success for you if not for your brother. I think you're right about the cost of the booth. It sounds way too expensive and it is lining someone else's pocket while you do all that hard work. That must have been hard on your brother too. I love uniquely made pottery and would buy bunches of it if I had the money and your brother's pottery looks very nice. I can imagine people collecting it. Don't overwork your hands and wrists with all that knitting. In my mind I see you at work very hard trying to get enough stock for the next show.

aims said...

Fortunately for me - but not for some orders that are waiting - my brother decided that we would put down a new floor in my knitting room this past weekend. Everything is sitting all over the place while my knitting room has a half-finished floor.

So Irene - I have a bit of a break at the moment. Last year I started knitting my bears in March. This year? My doctor doesn't want me to do anything like that for a while so that my wrists and hands heal. They are still numb quite often.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Gods! How exhausting. I'm sorry for your brother -- he has some really fine work -- particularly the raku -- but like his card-takers I rarely buy pottery.

BT said...

I am sorry that your brother had a rough time aims. But of course happy that you did so well. Do make sure you rest those wrists. Mind you, I give that advice but don't heed it myself. I have 'tennis elbow' from all the gardening and still keep on when I should quit for a while.

Love to you and I hope the new floor is fitted soon.

Maggie May said...

Sorry to hear that your brother didn't do well at all. You are right...... the credit crunch is stopping people from buying anything that can be considered to be a non essential item.
I have always done masses of knitting in the past & now I only have to do a small amount and my wrist & thumb on my left hand are really painful for days.
So there goes another hobby that I am having problems with.
Looking forward to hearing about the trip. The driving in the snow sounded terrible!

bermudabluez said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your brother didn't make out so well. I'm one of those people who absolutely adores pottery and have quite a collection of it already...from gifts and such. My husband keeps telling me I have to stop "collecting" these items because when we sell this house we will have no where to put it all. Glad to hear that you did well at the show. The driving sounded terrifying!! I had absolutely no idea that it cost that much money to do shows!! Wow!

Daryl said...

Maybe next time share one booth .. saves money and I suspect mixing the knits and bears with the lovely pottery might get more action

Mean Mom said...

What a disappointment for your brother, after paying out all that money and putting in all of that hard work!

I'm glad that you did well, but making things yourself, to sell, is very labour intensive, isn't it? I have a friend who makes one twelfth scale miniatures and sells them. She, too, gets very annoyed at the increasing amounts she has to hand over for a stall, at exhibitions.

I have had the intention to try and start something up, selling miniature (one twelfth scale) cross stitch kits, but I am having problems with my eyes and I'm not sure, now, that I will be able to manage it.

Your journey through the snow sounded horrendous.

I hope that you are gradually feeling a little better. I hope you know that many bloggers' thought are with you, including mine, of course!

Akelamalu said...

That must have been so disappointing for your brother. It does sound exhausting, a rethink sounds like a sound idea.

Lane said...

That's so disheartening for your brother and ridiculously hard work for you Aims. I really hope you're giving your hands and wrists and you a good rest now.

aims said...

My brother and I shared a booth in order to cut down on the costs.

Each booth is $1000 for 4 days with expenses. We needed phone lines for credit and debit cards - you have to have insurance for 5 million in case someone slips in your booth - don't forget the flooring or you stand on cement for 4 days - lighting - decorations. Add most of those expenses on top of the booth rental. Sheer total madness!

We came away with a lot more knowledge added to the almost 40 years of retail experience we each have. Hard to believe but it's a changing world!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I ,ust pop over etsy and check, though l'm sure l'm following you there isnt it, great atmosphere..much easier l find than lugging the wrong stocks to the fairs and then, finding out l made nothing on the day!! sigh..

Anonymous said...

Well for anyone that's interested I can personally say that your slippers are superb and I'm not surprised you did well. Sorry to hear about your brother though.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

That was a hugely punishing schedule. I'm sorry your brothers things didn't sell so well. Like you said the economy and if people had travelled a way they might be wary of buying something breakable if they couldn't afford to replace it. He makes beautiful works.

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