This post may be a little late, but here is a tish of my experience of the Renegade Craft Fair last weekend in Brooklyn, NY.
I chose to exhibit sharing a booth, essentially splitting the 10’x10′ tent space. This way I could test the market without going all out, as I’d never been to Renegade before. The day before I made the 4 hour drive, and was lucky to be able to stay with my friend in New Jersey for the weekend so I wouldn’t rack up any hotel costs. Everything had already been organized, labeled, and packed. It was all set for us to rise early and make the drive to Williamsburg for set up. We woke up late, as is our norm. We were still able to get there with plenty of time to find close street parking (!), and unpack the car.
I devised a way for us to carry everything all in one haul. Instead of a dolly, which would have been awkward for the car, I packed a large oversized folding grocery cart…thingy. I then also packed a fully loaded plastic storage cart (sans wheels) that fit perfectly into the bigger cart once unfolded. The cart, one large plastic container with handles, a roller case for delicate jewels and display case, plus one big bag for survival (food, water, etc.), was all we needed. Oh, plus my huge awesome-tastic banner.
To brighten things up, my friend and I ended up wearing the same bright cadmium red. I wore my “pirate wench” dress.
We also some some strange things on the walk to the park that made me think, “Ah. Back in Brooklyn”.
We were extremely lucky on a few counts. Our booth mates were from Brooklyn and renting a tent for us to share. They had it set up the day before (!), so my friend and I didn’t have to think that much that early in the morning. Not that we aren’t morning…ish…people. I work at night, so I was on a backwards schedule. The other lucky bit what that our booth mates were just genuinely nice all around. They were great people and easy going throughout the entire weekend.
I think the luckiest part of the entire experience is that neither of us got heat stroke or died. It was very, very hot. Very. Plus humid. It took a tole on everyone. I used one of my postcards as a fan, Tory, my amazingly fantastic helper friend, was on cold drink duty. It was absolutely brutal, especially for an autumn/winter lover like myself.
There was plenty of time and then some for set up. I chose a crisp white table cloth, and plain organic woodlands vibe. I paired store bought display cases with my hand built and painted vertical displays. I painted everything to match in two main colours- washed out beachy white/mauve/gray, and dark wood. As my jewelry pieces as a whole cover many different themes and tastes while still be easily identifiable as “Stray Arrow Wear”, I wanted to keep the table clean looking while still being cluttered with jewels. The second day the bark discs I drilled holes in to keep rings tied down was traded for a long darker piece of drift wood for ring display. Here are a couple shots, click on any photos in the post for links:
(Tory examining display)
Silver post earrings with silver and deer hide dangles featuring black pyrite. Behind them is a case containing my two most expensive items: the Three Needles bangle with old stock rare turquoise from 3 mines in the Southwest, plus diamond slice in 14k. It shared the case with my grand Spider ring featuring two pieces of natural old stock genuine Bisbee Blue Lavender Pit turquoise (!!!), and a quote from Mary Howitt’s poem, ‘The Spider and the Fly’.
A couple photos of my booth mate’s goodies, natural soy wax candles. Kirsten, of Oille Natural, had the great idea of covering the candles so we wouldn’t get sick smelling them in the heat for days, along with smelling each scent separately. Each signature scent was covered by a glass globe you lifted up and smelled inside of, instead of lowering your head to the candle. It looked extremely classy, and left me with a burning desire for cake.
Some photos of other fun things at the Craft Fair…
I was also happy to meet a lot of new grand folks at the fair. Along with the booth mates from Oille Natural, there were some really talented jewelers there- each doing unique lines. I traded with a few folks, and loved the sense of comradery. Megan Massacre, of Wooster Street Social Club tattoo, stopped by. She was on FIRE with Phoenix flamed hair, and her nails amazingly matched her friend’s neon hair. They were both really great and enthusiastic, and Megan left with a mini Castle Dome mine turquoise knuckle stacker in darkened silver. She so sweetly took a picture of it with a couple other of her ring scores after the fair, as well. Look familiar? She’s been in two TLC tv shows – NY Ink, and America’s Worst Tattoos.
Another really great aspect of Renegade that came as a complete surprise? The food was DELICIOUS. Now, if you know me personally, you know I’m a complete food snob and picky eater. I was spoiled by a mother who should have been a chef, and I can cook fairly well. This stuff, was good. The first day we had duck confit dumplings and roasted cauliflower wantons with sauce (pictured). The second day we had grilled cheeses, delicious ice cream (dark chocolate, ginger, and strawberry), and falafel with salad. This was broken up by a constant stream of iced coffees, water, and raspberry tea.
My friend Tory rocks my jewelry. It fits perfectly with her little tiny romantic self. She’s got some bite and edge in her too, so with every new grand piece, she likes to see it in person. After trying this bold beauty on, she knew it was hers!
Tory is also an amazing illustrator. As a by-product of her constant need to create, she’ll soon be releasing a line of leggings to her shop! I’m getting me a pair in trade for the ring that called to her!
Other trades that happened: The badass Angela behind Concrete Polish Jewels traded me two of her Spike Crystal themed rings for a great pair of 1/2″ chrysocolla gemstone silver plugs. Linda the darling behind Fleatherfox snagged herself a black pyrite Mini Cave Lady ring for a Bow and Arrow knuckle ring. Arlie, the complete sweetie behind Urban Revisions, traded this huge glass statement necklace for a mini dark silver and 14k gold sapphire stacker ring…
At the very end of the Craft Fair, I also traded with our booth mates. For some sweet rose gold fill stackers and rose gold fill stacker with balled open silver circle, I got two delicious candles. The first scent is Saint Croix, a newly released scent with elements like coconut. It smells like summer at the beach. The second is something I would want for everything….perfume, deodorant, soap, life essence…yes everything. It’s called McGregor, and it is bourbon, brown sugar, and cedar wood. Can there be a better pairing? I think not. I’ve been burning it at my jewelry storage/packaging station, its a light scent but still present. The candle kept the room smelling divine even hours after I blew it out.
Best part of the entire trip? Dough, a scrumptious doughnut shop in Brooklyn, was a food vendor. I took home two blood orange, and two hibiscus. Three actually made it home with me, and none survived the night.
SOME TIPS FOR ANY JEWELERS OR FOLKS WANTING TO DO LARGE FAIRS:
If in summer, DO wear open toed shoes if possible. I made the mistake of wearing ballet flats, and because it was so hot my feet were bruised and sore because of it. They still are.
Do also bring a lot of water, more than you think you’d need.
There’s no such thing as enough change and singles in your money box, but having credit card acceptance is a big plus too (Square and Paypal both have handy mobile phone reader/swiper/attachment thingys).
Find shade. It makes you happier. No matter how hot it is, when people are in bright sunlight they get…squinty. It makes you harder to read as a person. That being said, wearing sunglasses can also be seen as putting a shield between yourself and the potential customer. Unless you stayed up late the previous night, for any…variety of reasons, it may be best to leave them in your bag.
Bring tissues. This is a BIGGIE. If at a fair or show that is outdoors, and there are portable toilets…chances are there won’t be TP in there waiting for you. That being said, hand wipes are an essential as well.
Food: find something you don’t need to actually touch. In other words, something you can eat with a utensil. When handling food and then going right back to touching your products, its just a no-no in general.
Make sure you have SOME kind of identifying signage. If you don’t, it will make you look unprofessional, and your fans will never find you!
Take a stroll around. A lot of vendors cling to their booths like clinging to the rail of a ship being tossed around by an angry sea storm. You absolutely NEED a buddy with you. Show them a little trust, get up and go meet your peers. People are doing amazing things and they’ve taken the time and effort to make displays and share it with the public. Go visit with folks, and ALWAYS hand out your card. The best marketing can be just exchanging business cards.
That’s all for Renegade. You’ll have to excuse a lot of the photography as it was done in a heat induced delirium with a phone camera.
In other news….
Starting Monday, for one week in the Main Etsy Shop, I’ll be having a
HOT SUMMER SALE.
20% OFF ALL ITEMS WITH COUPON CODE: HOTSUMMAH
PLEASE do not forget to entire in the code, I will not be making refunds if you forget. This doesn’t apply to custom orders. Sale STARTS Monday at 12pm, and runs through until Monday the 8th at midnight.
Why the sale? I have no a/c in the studio, and it’s melt-worthy outside. I’d much rather be packing you up lovely discounted jewels at my air conditioned packaging station indoors. Help me not melt, buy something at a discount. Spread the word, I rarely have sales and if so, they’re at 10%. This is a BIG. DEAL.
(I really loathe hot weather, if you hadn’t picked up on that)
CHECK BACK TO THIS BLOG TUESDAY FOR A SNEAK PEAK OF NEW ITEMS FOR THIS WEEK.
That is all.
^Tory in front of crochet bombed bus.