I did the Renton Spring Festival on Saturday. Last year, after I found my handmade one-of-a-kind items amidst the likes of Mary Kay and Cookie Lee, I swore I'd never do it again. But this year I heard it would be different - handmade and fair trade only - so I decided to give it one more chance. I'm glad I did.
In the past, I would spend weeks frantically making things before craft shows. This time, I didn't make anything. Not because I'm lazy, but because I'm busy doing other things that are suddenly more important to me. McKenna was on a bracelet-making kick though, so I set her up with a pile of pipe cleaners and my container of beads and let her have at it. She made 24 bracelets. I told her she could set up a table in my booth and sell them.
"For money?" she asked.
"Yep." I said.
"And what can I do with the money?"
"Whatever you want."
She thought this was a fine idea and promised to be well-behaved and helpful and no whining or interrupting me when I'm talking to customers. She's always been too young to have with me at craft shows all day before. But we thought we'd try it. She decide to name her jewelry line McKennaMade and charge $2 per bracelet.
Friday night came and rather than meticulously prepare, I opted to have dinner with my ladyfriends, then came home and packed the car with everything I could think of that was kokoleo or a way to display a kokoleo. This was all done around 2 in the morning.
7:42 a.m. I woke up and went back to sleep.
8:54 a.m. woke up again. Showered, hair, make-up, dressed myself and McKenna.
Ack! My phone was only half charged. I needed a fully charged phone for this. So I plugged it in and make a cup of coffee and ran around the house getting last minute items, twiddled my thumbs and then...
9:59 a.m. We were out the door.
Ack! I had no money.
10:11 a.m. I'm at the BECU machine. I withdrew $40. Ack! I needed ones!
10:24 a.m. I'm at McDonald's. I'm not hungry, so all I order is an iced tea, unsweetened. I pay with a $20 and ask for all ones back. McDonald's makes a great McBank. Except the line is looooong.
McKenna told me I got a call while I was at the ATM. I checked the message. It's Erik. Our across-the-street neighbor found a tray and a bunch of pipe cleaner bracelets scattered in our street and thought it might be ours.
Ack! I totally drove away from the house with a tray of McKennaMade bracelets on the roof. (In my defense, it was hard squeezing her in to her seat in my stuffed-full car and I was distracted.)
10:38 I turned around and went back to get them.
10:48 We headed back to the show. For real this time. Luckily, I got all green lights and found a parking spot by the entrance.
10:58 I arrive, find my spot, and with the fancy farmer's market carts (I love those) I fill my spot with the contents of my car. A festival volunteer offered to watch my stuff and daughter while I parked in the garage and I returned within minutes.
McKenna set up her table and bracelets and sold one before I'd even begun unpacking.
I stopped caring about the time and started setting up. It's always at this time that I wish I was one of those crafters that made small things, not giant pillows and massive quantities of kids' clothes with crazy elaborate contraptions on which to display them.
The hectic rush of the morning dissolved as my display took shape. No one was beside so I spread out a bit, okay, a lot.
I even found some time here and there to slip away and visit other vendors. The Rely on Renton Family Fair inside the Piazza station was so well organized and chock-full of information on local resources for kids and families. I stopped by the Renton Community Center booth and saw the flyers for my summer craft camps on display. I caught glimpses of the performances throughout the day and loved hearing Casper Babypants on the loudspeakers outside.
McKenna sold 9 bracelets and spent all her $18 at other people's booths. I saw glimpses of teenager in her as she took her little purse to tables and picked out things to buy. She got (in order) a pink sugar cookie, a one tiny vial of Jasmine oil from a perfume soap stand, and hand-painted Hello Kitty barrette from from the accessory lady, and a big crayon in the shape of a car from the crayon people, and a purse and bracelet from a lady two booths down.
I did a little shopping and trading too. After McKenna got her tiny vial of perfume, I went back to the booth and bought a lavender one for me.
From the metalsmith man, I got two decorative metal stars for the planter by my front door where I have the iron dragonfly I bought from him last year. He always gives me great deals. He said Mayor Law bought a big piece from him that morning and it made his day. I got a heart-linked silver bracelet from the vintage jewelry lady. The owner of Candle with Care lady fell in love with my last Sesame Street sundress and I sold it to her for half price plus a candle.
I also bought a $3 bag of Kettle corn and when I went to pay with a $20 the kettle corn couple looked troubled. They asked if I had any ones and I said Yes! I got a bunch this morning. The woman came back to my booth and I gave her $3 and then traded 10 more ones for a ten. The McBank came in handy! She was as grateful for the ones as I was for customers like these:
Before I knew it it was 5:00 and time to pack up. I ended up making the most profit I've ever made at a Renton festival and got a few new Facebook likes for kokoleo. The best part though was that my first-ever Take-Your-Daughter-To-Work day was a great experience for both of us. We both saw our creations go out into the world and with the money we received, we went around and bought other people's handmade and fair trade creations. I have a feeling this won't be the last kokoleo/McKennaMade business collaboration you'll see.