And Life Goes On.

NaNoWriMo is a moot point at this time. Something keeps comming up to stop me from writing! URGH! That’s alright though. Because I’m still going to put into practice everything I’ve learned up to this point about book writing. And take advantage of all the free advice and such I can get. It might just take me longer than a month.

In other news, yesterday my mom and I attended a local craft fair that our library puts on every year. It was the only one my mom and I ever did, but she hasn’t done this since my brother died in 2014. When it came to the last few days before the big day, she became very anxious – to the point of backing out and donating her table to someone else. I flat out told her that if she wanted to stay home, then fine. But I’m going to be there, I’m taking her stuff, and I’m selling the hell out of it because I needed a day away from the house and away from toddler spotting for a while.

So, she went. She had a severe panic attack beforehand, seeing everyone offerings and concluding they were much better than hers. And while I’ll admit there were some high quality products there – we were one of the few people to nearly sell out of our inventory. There were a few people with knitted and crochet items, but a LOT of people were severely overpriced (and I say that as a former small business employee who routinely overpriced merchandise for the shop in order to make enough profit to cash my paycheck each week.) The number 1 rule of the craft fair was that everything had to be handmade. Some of the sellers I know for a fact were selling catalogue bought items. One woman selling wind-chimes had a whole rack of ones I recognized from my Cassadaga days (and I now this because I had to repair most of the ones we had at the shop, and bought a few myself.) I didn’t tattle on her, but I did direct people to a seller who’s items were legitimately hand made, as I knew this person from middle school and she’s always turned random items she finds into wind-chimes and jewelry. She’s been doing it since she learned how in our Girl Scouts troop days.

Anyway, a LOT of the people at this craft fair went home empty handed and pissed off. Why? Because of their prices. One woman was selling an identical pattern to my mom, but in different colors than she used. My mom sold out and the other woman didn’t sell a single one. Because she was charging $20 per hat, my mom was charging $10. (These were prices we set days before the event, and were based on the price of the yarn, accessories like buttons and such, and the complexity of the pattern rather than the labor because oh good gods that’d have made the hats alone $30 or more). We also took into consideration that we might be in bad location and people might have run out of money before reaching us, so we had cheaper items for a dollar or less as well – good quality stuff, but stuff that my mom made in 30mins or less. And lastly, we took into account the overall economic situation of people in our city. We wanted to have things anyone could afford. Our most expensive item was a blanket for $15 that rightfully should have been $30 or more, but again – we knew people at the fair would be pricing buyers out of getting anything and didn’t want anyone to leave the event empty handed.

As a result we earned the price of the both/table back ($35) PLUS an additional $97 in pure profit. We even found a way to take credit and debit cards by using my paypal business account (mom’s waiting for Paypal to approve her upgrade from a personal to a business). Unfortunately, I don’t have a smart phone and don’t use the virtual register feature (which is $30 a month), so I couldn’t use a card reader. So what I did was create a button to put into an HTML file on my desktop. I had the instructions and everything written out clearly for the buyer. We preferred cash or check, but we did have the card option if someone really REALLY wanted to use it. (It took a bit because there was a form to fill out with the buyer’s information, and I had them do this bit so that I would not be privy to their info).

I did also hand write receipts for anyone who used the credit card option, and told them they would also receive an e-mail receipt from PayPal itself. The few people who took this option thought my idea of getting around the system was very clever, and were more than happy to fill out the form PayPal required of them rather than telling me all their personal info just to buy a baby blanket. Next year, though, we’ll have a better way to take cards.

I also bought my husband a Christmas gift. Since he does have a link to my blog floating around his Facebook messages I dare not describe it here. But it is thoughtful, and I know he will greatly enjoy it.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Yesterday was a big hurdle for my mom in putting her life back together after my brother’s passing. And I’m glad I wouldn’t let her back out of it because she hasn’t been this happy in a very long time. I haven’t seen her light up like she did in years. And it’s so wonderful to have this piece of my mom back with us.

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