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: December 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 gifts).

Good morning friends! I’m so excited to share another Friday favorites post with you (check out the first one here) featuring some of my favorite purchases from around the craft show scene this past month (really, the past few months–October and November were so crazy that I never did get my favorites up for those months, so this is a combo of all of them! I’ve been writing this post for weeks now…).

It’s still early enough for some last minute Christmas shopping, right? Get your orders in for these great items ASAP–there are some awesome stocking stuffer ideas in this post!

Today I want to feature my friends at Green Bubble Gorgeous, Backroad Divas, Sweetnswag, Maybee Lane Designs, and Blue Kangaroo Handmade.

Green Bubble Gorgeous Scrub

  1. Mango Pomegranate Polishing Sugar Scrub, Green Bubble Gorgeous, ($14)

I’ve actually been buying Green Bubble Gorgeous, and this scrub in particular, for a few years now, both in person and through their Etsy shop. It’s my most favorite scrub ever, and, like a lot of girls, I’m obsessed with bath products, so I’ve tried a ton of them.

I have to have a scrub around at all times with the amount of wax that I use on my furniture pieces–and you know that even when you’re using a brush, that stuff gets all over your hands, and it coats your skin like it coats that furniture, baby. I love what I do, but wax is the worst, friends. It’s nice when it’s had time to cure and make the piece super pretty, but no matter how easy it is to work with, it’s still kind of the pits.

I love my Mango Pomegranate scrub (a slight departure from my peach obsession, but really, not that far away) because it polishes and removes old skin and whatever else is on my hands (read: wax), but it doesn’t leave a residue like a lot of other scrubs do–my hands actually feel clean after I use this product, instead of extra oily.

You can find GBG on their Facebook page and website as well as their Etsy shop to check out all of their amazing products. I’m so excited to have run into them at Hocus Pocus in October. Just writing about this scrub makes me want to head to the bathroom and get some on my hands, so…excuse me one second.

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  1. Raspberry Sangria Candle, Country Candlelight ($8)

Look at this, friends! Another departure from my peach obsession. I’ll let you in on another secret about me–I’m also very, very fond of sangria scented things, as well. And sangria. My all-time favorite candle is probably the Sangria scent from the REWINED line, which I’m not seeing on their website at the moment…I hope that means it’s seasonal and they haven’t stopped making it. I would probably cry a little. While drinking Sangria.

*Update: I think it is seasonal, because I found one on sale at Caddywampus on Mackinac Island when I was there in October, so I think we’re good.

Back to the Raspberry Sangria candle. I was burning it the other day (the other month, now), one of the first semi-chilly days in October, and it was super rainy and gross feeling outside. I especially love candles on days like that–they are my fireplace substitute until I get my “real” house with the big fireplace in the living room. I’m living in my fake house right now, folks.

I found this candle at the Backroad Divas tent at Hocus Pocus in Monroe, and I can’t find much reliable information about them online–I think the name “Country Candlelight” is being used by a few different people, so it’s hard to know for sure. I hesitated to even share this one because I didn’t want to share a product that was super hard to find, but the Backroad Divas said to get in touch since they carry these candles pretty regularly. To be honest, I smelled the Raspberry Sangria and didn’t even stop to check out the other scents they had–this one just smelled so darn good, I had to pick it up.

Sweetnswag moccs

  1. Anchors Away Baby Moccasins, Sweetnswag, ($20)

Charlotte had an adorable pair of these when she was just starting to walk, and when I saw these super sweet striped ones at Finder’s Keeper’s in August, I had to get them for my best friend’s baby, Harper. Harper turned one at the beginning of October, and they were the perfect accessory to get with the cute fall outfit that  Charlotte helped me pick out. Can you just not with these baby moto jeans from Target? I got a matching pair for her, but she’s way too skinny for them, sadly. They are actual jeans, which are a no-go for her, since she is a little bean pole who can only wear tights and leggings (and sometimes even those are too big in the waist!). I can tell I have some wardrobe struggles coming up with this girl.

I love moccasins for babies because they are stretchy and comfy and they don’t squeeze little feet–I feel like it’s a much easier transition than going straight into a pair of sneakers. Moccasins are perfect for littles just starting to walk or even those who are starting to pull themselves up on furniture. Charlotte was always taking socks and slippers off, but for some reason she seemed to enjoy her mocs a little bit more than the cute regular shoes I would buy her.

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  1. home. Michigan Wall Art, Maybee Lane Designs, $12

This is another purchase that I made for the Bellaire house…I should probably hit the pause button on these purchases and concentrate a little bit more on my kitchen makeover…yeah, that’s right, the one I started back in September. Early September.

This is another Hocus Pocus purchase–friends, can you tell I had a LOT of fun shopping there?

I love all things Michigan, and this one just spoke to me. It seems like everyone is really getting into the modern calligraphy-type fonts on wall art and other pieces, and I am no stranger to the love of that pretty writing. Maybee Lane Designs had a ton of pretty pieces in their booth, and I had my eye on a little bakery sign there, too. I thought her prices were really good, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for her booth for future Christmas gifts and decor ideas.

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  1. Large Wet Bag in Fox, Blue Kangaroo Handmade, $25.18

Charlotte has been in swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Rochester since the beginning of the summer, and I finally broke down and bought a wet bag in early November, after complaining about having a soggy swim bag all summer. I used cloth diapers for her for her first year, so I had one small wet bag that came with some of my old Charlie Banannas, but it wasn’t great for a soaking wet swimsuit.

This wet bag from Blue Kangaroo Handmade’s Etsy shop keeps our things dry and is super cute–plus, it’s way larger than my old wet bag–big enough to fit both of our suits on the days when we stay for family swim at Goldfish. We are into all things woodland right now, so I wasn’t surprised when Charlotte picked this one from the huge selection on Etsy.


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? Let me know in the comments!

Talk soon,

Jessie

 

Vintage Market Review: Hocus Pocus at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, Monroe, MI

I’m a little behind in getting this review out to you guys–we were at this show two weekends ago, October 7-8, 2017–I feel like I just got back from my annual creative writing trip with my college students (it’s actually been three whole days…). Hocus Pocus was a super fun event, and a great way to close out the year of outdoor shows.

This is kind of a unique review because this is the first show where we actually stayed on the grounds all weekend camping! It was really fun and totally worth it to spend the night right there rather than driving back and forth, since the commute was over an hour. My parents stayed on the campground Friday and Saturday night, but we had a birthday party and gymnastics on Saturday, so my mom ran the market most of Saturday and then we came in the afternoon and spent just one night with them.

Hocus Pocus was hosted by The Vintage Market, LLC—they do several events throughout the year, and I was actually invited to do one of their shows last year, but I couldn’t have pulled it off with my 2016 fall schedule, even though it looked like a lot of fun. This year, I decided to try it, since my fall is a lot less crazy. When I first signed up, I wasn’t even thinking about camping, but my mom really wanted to—my parents have a pop-up camper and we hardly used it this year, so she was really itching to get it out. My parents used to camp all the time, and it was kind of sad that we really didn’t get to this summer, since it was so busy.

For me, this photo really sums up the essence of the weekend:

Clouds Over the Vintage Market

I love October skies.

Price: This show was $150 for the two days for an outside spot (which is what we had), though there were inside spaces available for the same price. They also have their own tents, spaces under which are $200.

They charged $5 admission for customers coming in to this show, which was clearly communicated ahead of time on all of their promotional material.

Camping was $30/night on the fairground campsites, which included electricity, water, and restrooms/showers. I didn’t shower there, since Dan and I only spent one night on the campground, but they looked nice—I’d say state park level. They definitely weren’t the grossest showers I’ve ever seen, was is always a bonus.

Hours on Saturday were 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., but they ended up closing the show early, at 5 p.m., due to high winds. It had been pretty windy all day, and our table/door display at the back of the booth actually blew over at one point, which was pretty scary. Towards the end of the show (which was unfortunately right when Dan and I got there), the wind was at about 18 mph, with gusts up to 30, and it was only getting worse. We haven’t had winds this bad since we did the Mount Clemens Summer Magic Festival in 2015, and we ended up taking our entire display apart and dropping our tent down to the ground for the night, which we’ve never done before, even at that show.

I was pretty freaked out that the tent would blow away at some point during the night, especially since we were right there in the camper and the wind was shaking us up pretty violently, too. I don’t know whether I was more nervous being right there, or whether I would have been more nervous leaving. We could see the tent from the camper, so that was a little bit of a relief, but it sure was hard falling asleep with all that weather happening, and feeling like I had to sit up and make sure the tent was still there after every other gust!

With all the weather going on Saturday afternoon, it almost made me wish that I had requested an indoor spot, but the inside vendors said things were really slow in the expo center, and that the traffic just wasn’t filtering in to where they were, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad, right? I’d rather have my stuff blow around a little and actually sell some things, then have everything look perfect all weekend and then have to bring it all home. Most of the outside vendors seemed to have really steady sales, although I heard from some of the vendors that the traffic was a bit slower at this show than similar events in the area.

Other than our display blowing over that one time, the only snafu was with the map—our business name was accidentally left off of the official map and never got fixed before it went to print, so there was one time when a customer had the cart go to the wrong booth for a furniture pickup. Dan was manning the booth at the time, and I’d forgotten to tell him about the mix-up–we were booth #35, but the wrong name was printed on the map for that booth number. Luckily, it all worked out in the end and the customer got his table and everything was fine. These things happen.

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Location: The fairgrounds were a little bit off the beaten path, but it was a beautiful location. The facilities were much more modern than those at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, where we were for the Belleville show, and Hocus Pocus was a lot bigger, too.

The bathrooms, again, were very nice, and there were several of them scattered throughout the show, so there was never a problem with long lines, the way there was at the Belleville and Brownstown shows. The bathrooms in the Expo Center were especially nice, and very big.

There were two big parking areas and two tractors with trailers running all day long, taking customers back and forth between the shopping area and the parking lots. Charlotte had fun on Sunday afternoon riding around with Grandma and Grandpa when the tractor had lighter crowds.

There was also a good size staff with carts to help customers with bigger purchases back and forth to their cars. Everything was very well run and organized, and I didn’t notice anything that didn’t go according to plan.

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Traffic: This show was a little bit backwards for us—usually, our best hours are always before noon, but this time around, we did the best between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. It was a little crazy. There were a few people who saw something and bought it right away, but it was more of people looking, walking around, and coming back for things later.

I totally get that, since that’s how I shop—I like to look at everything and decide what to get on the second time around, especially since my shopping budget is usually split into things for Charlotte, things for events/decorating, and gifts for upcoming birthdays (and Christmas, this time of year). I try to work in a little something for myself–I can’t wait to share my next Friday favorites post (you can check out the first one here).

In general, the crowds were lighter than I expected, especially since the weather was fabulous, except for the wind on Saturday. For a Michigan October, it was hot and sunny and totally perfect, so I’m surprised that we didn’t have more people.

We made our booth probably a third of the way through Saturday, which was nice, and we ended up doing the best we’ve done since Sterlingfest, which was a nice way to finish off the year of outdoor shows. We sold more painted furniture and small items than anything else—it wasn’t a big day for antiques. I’m not too surprised by that—the majority of booths were selling antiques/salvage, so there was a lot of competition there and some really, really good prices. I bought a few things on Sunday afternoon that were just too good to pass up, and that I’ll probably list in my Etsy shop when I’m doing using them.

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I love these avocado drawers. I’m thinking succulents…

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I really want to make these fit into Beth’s baby shower next weekend, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Oh, well. I’ll use them eventually…right?

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These are going to be perfect for Christina’s wedding. $10 each!! Can you believe that deal??

Even with Dan and my dad snoring and keeping us up half the night on Saturday, I’d probably camp at a show again—in fact, we’re looking at doing a couple of shows in the spring where we’ll camp out. It was really nice being just a few hundred yards away from the tent at all times, and being able to bring all the food and water with us that we would need. It was a lot cheaper and healthier than eating from the food trucks all weekend!

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We were a little lonely on the campground with no one else around, but it was super peaceful, too!

The clouds and the light were so perfect on Saturday night that Charlotte and I had an impromtu photo shoot with the Vintage Market’s signature rusty truck.

 

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Can you tell the fake smiles from the real ones? I had a stroke of genius telling her to hang off the side of the trunk with one arm out–she loves anything that has a slight hint of danger to it…

Have you ever done a show where you camped out on the grounds? What was it like? Would you do it again? Share your experiences below—and if you have any questions or hesitations, feel free to ask/share! I’d love to talk more!

Talk soon,

Jessie