Often when I go to craft fairs and festivals, I find myself doing something that I really shouldn’t do , and that is… proclaiming “Oh I could easily make that myself for half the price! “ I know many of you have thought this same exact thing. I end up not buying the item, and let’s be honest, I never actually end up “making the same thing”, because most of the time I’ve forgotten about it anyway or realize it is more than a hassle then it was worth. Us crafty and creative types can be pretty confident in our abilities, which I think hinders us from exploring something new and helping others out in their own ventures. With this kind of thinking, none of us would ever get anything sold or promoted. I promised myself that I was not going to do that anymore starting with this current festival season.
Festival season here in Rochester is a big part of our social culture. Literally, every weekend there is some festivity or gathering where there are several vendors and artists selling their wares and creations. You can find just about everything from soaps to woodworking to crocheted items to photographs and everything in between. Even if I have no plans to buy anything, I do like to take a stroll and look at everyone’s art and soak up the culture of the events (and also to get my steps in- 10,000 a day stepper here).
I went to one of the biggest and oldest festivals recently for our area, The Corn Hill Arts and Crafts Festival. I promised myself that I was not going to be self-snarky, thumbing my nose at anything I thought I could replicate and if I liked something, I was going to buy it and support my fellow crafters, vendors and artists. Items that I didn’t purchase right away I picked up their business cards so that I could purchase the items at a later date and I made sure I wrote a note on the card to remind me of what I planned to buy. Also many of the vendors will have a list of shows they are going to be doing, so I make sure I grab that, and if they have a guest log, I sign their books or find their Facebook/ Twitter/ Pinterest etc pages. I also engaged in conversation with several of the artists. Many people are very proud of their creations and even the slightest feedback gives them a boost of confidence, or gives them ideas of what they should carry in the future. Just remember a bit of craft show etiquette, do not take pictures of items unless you get consent from the vendor previously.
What is the moral of my story? When trying to better ourselves, whether it be self improvement, building a business, DIY etc. , remember to pay it forward. We often become too self consumed with ourselves and our projects, we forget we should also be supporting those trying to do the same thing. Little steps can make a big difference going forward and I am a true believer as to what we put out in the universe, we will get back.