Craft Show Review: Faith Troy Women’s Gala in Clinton Township, MI

I know I’m just over a month late with this post, but I’ll take a minute to explain why.

This event that we do at the beginning of each December is traditionally the last one of the year–I try not to work a ton in December because I really like to slow down and take time to make gifts, spend time with my family, and think about what the next year is going to look like. Plus, it’s hard to enjoy the season with three events every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe I’ll speed up a little during this time when Charlotte is a little older, but for now, I like to be able to really savor my Decembers.

For us, 2018 is going to be focused around paying down our mortgage. If you know us at all, you know that we are pretty avid Dave Ramsey fans (step 6, baby!), and Dan and I decided that our word for the year is “mortgage”–everything that we do, especially when it comes to money, we really want to focus on knocking down that mortgage balance. We have a pretty aggressive goal of paying off 33% of it this year–I’ll let you know how that goes as we progress through the next twelve months!

That’s a small piece of what we like to do in December–I’m still working on some other goals, as well, and I’m thinking of sharing them for a post later this month.

For now, on to the last event of 2017, the Faith Troy Women’s Gala.

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This event has a special place in my heart because not only is it the biggest event that my church does every year, but it’s the very first event that my mom and I ever did with this business, and it’s one of the best events that we do each year.

As you can see, the majority of what we prepare for this show is Christmas items and gifts, and I was seriously in love with all of the fresh greens and chippy white that we brought to the booth this year. I wish I’d thought to take a picture after the event–it was so busy all night and we sold so many of the Christmas pieces that it was pretty empty by the end!

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We started collecting old wooden sleds, skates, and windows as early as we could this year–the sleds took up a bunch of room in my garage this summer, so I was happy that we sold most of them (although my favorite one didn’t sell, which I’m actually sort of happy about).

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We also brought a lot of our normal small items, especially the things that make great gifts–tea wallets, burp cloths, switch plates, coasters, and some of the new baby/toddler items that I’ve been trying to incorporate more into our events.

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The doll baby beds were very popular, as were the felt flower hair bows and felt flower hoop wreaths. Funny story about those–the first one I made was an Instagram inspiration that I made for myself, but I had so much fun doing it that I made a few more for this show. I thought they were really pretty and unique. I asked Dan what he thought of them and he was really surprised that I was thinking of selling them (which basically translates to something like he took one look at them and immeadiately thought they were a failed experiment). He was equally surprised that I didn’t come home with any of them…

Anyway, on to the normal elements that I talk about with any other craft show.

Price: This show is an easy yes for us at $40. It’s always been really reasonable (I think the first year we did it was only $25), even though the total shopping time for the event is less than 3 hours. It’s always on a Tuesday evening–shopping typically starts at about 4:30 p.m., which is a little earlier than most of the women are there, but they all trickle in by 6:30, and with almost 1,000 attendees, it gets crazy busy.

During the dinner, music, and program (which is always fantastic), shopping is closed, but it opens up again after the event, which is nice–I think it gives some of the more hesitant customers time to really think about what they want to purchase and then an opportunity to come back later. I will say that the busiest time is definitely before dinner; since it’s often snowy and cold here in early December, I think most people are eager to get home and get warm as soon as possible (especially if they have to work the next day).

Skirted tables and chairs are provided, which is a nice bonus at this price point–most shows I go to charge extra for a plain, ugly folding table, so these are far and away better than that!

Location: The Gala is held at the Palazzo Grande in Clinton Township, and the ballroom is set up with the dinner tables in the middle and the vendors along either side of the room in double rows.

As you can see from the photos, the carpet and decor are fairly generic–what you’d expect from a standard banquet center. To be honest, the pickiest thing for me about this show (which is a super little item in the grand scheme of things) is just that putting my pieces against this backdrop doesn’t always show them at their best (especially in photos). I definitely prefer to have a much cleaner palate to work with–my white tent, for example. I always feel like the carpet and wallpaper are a little distracting from my particular pieces.

The only other thing that is a little hard is that the vendors only have three and half hours to set up the day of the event, which doesn’t leave a lot of time to make the booth super pretty, set everything up in it, go home, get dressed and ready for a fancy event, and then come back to the venue again (depending on the weather and early rush hour traffic, it takes me about 30-45 minutes to get to this particular show).

This year we had a problem that we’ve never had before, and I think it was because we had so many big pieces–there wasn’t a lot of overflow space, and when someone bought something, they couldn’t just take it with them, because they were headed back to their table for dinner. That’s definitely a challenge that is unique to this show, since usually people take their pieces with them to put in their car or to a holding tent of some kind. It got a little confusing for the customers, since the pieces were still just right there. I hate having to tell people that things are already sold–luckily, a lot of the pieces I was able to reproduce easily, and so we were able to take several special orders.

Traffic: Like I said, the traffic is crazy. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have relationships with a lot of the women there, partly because it’s my church and partly because we’ve been doing this event for five years now, and a lot of the women tell us they really look forward to seeing what we have in our booth every year.

Since the first year we came, it has been all we can do to keep up with receipts and credit card sales in between talking to the ladies and taking special order requests–there’s no way I’d be able to do this show in particular without my mom. Our booth was so crowded with pieces and people that I was stuck in that back corner for most of the night (not even time for a bathroom break!) and my mom had to do the moving around and the answering of questions during the majority of the time.


Who else out there is with me about December events? I know that there are some really good ones out there, and of course, it’s prime time for the folks out looking for a handmade Christmas gift–if you’re out there selling until Christmas Eve, that’s awesome!

Someday, that might be me…I know December is prime time, but those weeks are too precious to me at this time in my life.

I’d love to hear about your holiday shows in the comments below!

Talk soon,

Jess

 

 

Friday (Small Business) Favorites: September Edition

**I did not receive any compensation for this post—all of these products were purchased and enjoyed by me/my family (or wrapped and saved for Christmas gifts—yes, I start this early!!).

Good morning friends! I want to start a new thing once a month this fall where I feature some of my recent purchases from my craft show shopping during my favorite season of the year!

I love shopping small and supporting other creative businesses, and I especially love finding things for the people on my Christmas list from small shops and local events. I almost always bring Charlotte home a little present from the shows that she can’t come to (she’s so funny—she’s always like “I want to come to the craft show” and does a little pouty face when I tell her that she can’t. It’s the most adorable thing ever), so you’ll find some children’s items sprinkled through these posts alongside soaps, candles, clothing, food, and gift ideas.

Today I want to feature my friends at Petoskey and Pine, Flint Candle Co., Kosho Krafts, Grow Up Awesome, and Sub Rosa Tea—these are all lovely folks that I met at shows I did during the later part of the summer, and I’m enjoying their products immensely. If you’re looking for some awesome back to school or holiday shopping suggestions, here you go:

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  1. Porcupine Mountains Bar Soap, Petoskey and Pine ($6.50)

I was next to Pierre and Nicole when we did the Auburn Hills Summerfest together back in June, and they were kind enough to offer me a free sample after I gave them a vendor discount on a purchase Nicole made in our booth. Pierre is a certified aromatherapist, and he puts tons of time into researching his process and ingredients. One of my favorite things about these natural, artisanal soaps is that they are inspired by different places all around the state of Michigan, which I always think is super cool. Back in June, I chose the Torch Lake scent because I was planning to take the soap up north with me for the bathroom in the Bellaire house, and Torch Lake is one of our favorite nearby spots to visit. It also smells great and looks beautiful, by the way—all their products do.

Later in the summer, I picked up a bar of the Porcupine Mountains soap at Made in the Mitten in Royal Oak, which stocks Petoskey and Pine products. If you’re looking for a great place to shop handmade this fall, check out Made in the Mitten for sure. As a bonus, it’s right down the street from Nada and Co., where I buy my Annie Sloan chalk paint, so if you have a project in the works, you can kill two birds with one stone, my friends.

Petoskey and Pine has some great gift boxes available for only $30—you know your fallback option for someone on your list is going to be one of those generic gift sets from Bath and Body Works—why not support a small, MI business (that’s also 100% natural) instead? Check them out on their website, Facebook page, and Instagram.

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  1. Peach and Rose Soy Candle, Flint Candle Co ($15)

I love anything peach (flavored, scented, colored—anything, I swear), and when I smelled this candle for the first time at the Shabby Sundays show in June, I had to buy it. This is another item that I took up north with me right away, because my house is  already lousy with candles, but I burned it so much that it was nearly gone by the end of August, so I ordered another one from Lindsay’s Etsy shop as a birthday present to myself (my birthday is August 30—feel free to send gifts next year). Lindsay does the Flint farmer’s market and some other events up that way—but it’s easier for me to place an order on Etsy (though that can be hard with candles because you just want to smell them all!!).

These candles burn perfectly and smell divine. Let’s face it, candles are another common fallback option for gifts—I’m trying to plan ahead so I don’t have to rush to the mall last minute for a generic stocking stuffer! Lindsay throws in a box of matches with every purchase, too, which is super convenient if you’re always losing yours (that’s me, for sure).

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  1. Fox Plush Toy, Kosho Krafts ($12)

Charlotte couldn’t make it out to the St. Augustine show last month, so I bought her this little guy at Lisa’s adorable booth, and Charlotte loved him! She immediately named him Ryder, which I didn’t get right away—she’s only recently begun to name things actual names. Just two months ago she would have named it “fox” and left it at that. I should have known that it was a character from Paw Patrol, though, since she’s obsessed with that show right now. She may have tried to throw him in the Paint Creek one afternoon as we were walking in the woods, but she’s really into cause and effect right now, so I promise it wasn’t out of any bad feelings towards him!

Lisa has a ton of great designs available, and her plush toys are the perfect stocking stuffers. Obviously I still shop at Target for some of Charlotte’s Christmas gifts (I’ve been known to get carried away on Amazon, too—it’s just so easy!!), but I also really like to share my passion for the handmade with her. I hope that she will appreciate all of the hard work that goes into crafting some of these products, and that she will celebrate the creativity and passion behind these special gifts. When we walk around shows together, I love pointing out pieces that I especially love, and she will almost always exclaim “oh, that’s so boo-ful.” Here’s hoping that sweetness will stick around for a bit. I’m dreading the teenager days when she thinks I’m super lame and the last thing she wants to do is get dragged to one of my events.

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  1. Books Are Rad T-Shirt, Grow Up Awesome ($28)

I want to start out by stating the obvious–I am not a model, so please don’t judge too harshly! This is kind of a funny one because I really wanted this T-Shirt for Charlotte when I saw Chris’s booth at the Shed 5 Flea in August, but they didn’t have it in her size (I have since ordered it from Chris’s website, since Charlotte is only too happy to wear matching outfits right now, and I have to capitalize on that while I can. I think it’s super cute, but it’s probably actually really dorky–the matching, not the T-shirt). I told my mom about it, and she went off and bought it for me as a birthday gift. My mom is the best.

This T-shirt is perfect for my English professor self, and for Charlotte–so far I’ve successfully inculcated in her a love for the library, reading, and books–I’m confident that she’s a nerdy about it as a little kid can be, which is perfect. To go off topic just a little bit, one of our favorite books to read right now is Rosie Revere, Engineer–it’s a great book in general, but I think you maker mamas out there will particularly love it. Here‘s a link in case you’re interested!

I love these T-shirts because they are super soft, original designs, hand-crafted by a MI artist. What could be better? We all love T-shirts, and Grow Up Awesome makes them for babies, kids, women, and men, so that’s about everyone on your list, right? Check out this adorable onesie for all of you girls with hairy husbands–it almost makes me wish I had a little baby to put it on–almost.

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  1. 0.5 oz Peach Margarita Loose Tea, Sub Rosa Tea ($10/3)

I love tea (and peach things, remember?). My two favorites right now are Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Peach and Mighty Leaf’s White Orchard, but this Peach Margarita blend is amazing. I haven’t really done loose leaf tea a ton, but I might be sold on this one. Each package of Sub Rosa tea lists the ingredients and a recommended steep time to prevent bitterness, and I love that as I’m measuring out the tea (the package tells you exactly how much to measure out, too) I can see actual chunks of dried fruit—it’s not so pulverized that I can’t even tell what the real ingredients are. I don’t know why I thought that was so cool, but I did. I got a few extra flavors for the tea lovers on my Christmas list. I usually add lemon and honey to my tea, but I seriously don’t even need it with this blend–it’s delicious enough on it’s own! I’m almost done with my little 0.5 oz pouch, and I’ll be ordering more this week, especially with the weather starting to get so chilly.

I also purchased these disposable loose leaf tea bags, which work really well and are only $2/20. There were some fancy mugs and cups available with the steeper, but I didn’t want to invest too much into that equipment right away. Plus, I tend to like whimsical mugs and travel cups—they aren’t always practical, but they are pretty, and that’s what matters, right? I found Sub Rosa at the Finder’s Keeper’s Vintage Market in Belleville, but you can find them on Instagram and Facebook, too (in addition to their website).


I’d love it if you would join me in shopping small this Christmas season! If you’re on Instagram, tag me @wildanddaisy and use the hashtag #metrodetroitmaker to show me what you got! I’m not above stealing a really good idea for a Christmas gift, and I have so much fun spoiling friends and families with handmade finds and all-natural products.

What are your favorite small shops this fall? Any other peach recommendations for me? I’m already working on my list for next month, and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime, leave your comments and recommendations below–I love discovering new small shops!

Talk soon,

Jessie