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Monday, July 2, 2012

Well, I did it...

I was excited to do a craft show in my own town so that I could get the word out especially about my one on one learn to quilt classes and my memory quilts. It was about noon on Friday and another lady said it was about 104 degrees out on Friday. I was a little surprised when the lady in charge told me that I would be right by the 'blow-up games'. But, I just said "Ok" and went on my way. I spent the next few hours getting set up. I knew that I would not have any early customers as it was just too hot. Here are a few photos of my display:

About 5:30 it was starting to pick up. I had finally had a couple of people stop by to look and the party was just getting started. Until this man walked up:

 His name is Zack Workman, and he is "all that" in Cameron. I didn't know that at all time. All I knew was this guy walked up and said,
"We are moving you." Huh? It didn't register for a moment. And then he said, "This has always been the carnival area, and you are right in the middle of it and I am moving you."

Well, he was right. I was smack in the middle of the carnival. I was the only vendor there. And I didn't like it.
Here are the views out of my tent:

. Seems the carnival lady owner didn't like me being smack in the middle of her carnival either; and she threw a fit. She went straight to the top to Mr. Workman and complained. It seems money talks because I can assure you she paid a whole lot more booth rent than I. But remember, I spent HOURS in the middle of 104 degree heat. All they did was turn on some generators to blow up their booths. 

They (the carnival lady and Mr. Workman) claimed that they could just get some men and move me. Would only take 5 minutes. Yeah, right. NOT! I had stuff wired up, hung up, rigged up. There was no way to just "pick me up and move me."

And guess where they wanted to move me? Right in the middle of the BBQ contest men. Where there were no vendors. And no purchasing at all. No reason for customers to even walk that direction. Again. NOT!

By that point I was just LIVID! I had tears, anger, temper fit all in one. I told the guy I would just leave and that he better have my money refunded by the first of the week. He said I was making too big of a deal out of nothing. Ah, yes, because I am the LITTLE new guy in town. A NOTHING. By the way, this event was put on by the Chamber of Commerce. Are they not supposed to welcome new businesses in town? 
What a warm welcome, Cameron. Thank you!

After I got all torn down and walked around a moment, I noticed something. I was the ONLY hand crafted vendor there. For an event that was in it's 15th or so year according to Mr. Workman. Hmmm, and I am the only crafter? Yep, that tells me a lot. How about you?


Angie said...

I am so sorry you had to deal with this!

(And I'm glad to see his last name isn't Sloan ;) )

KQ Sue said...

Festivals can be great or total disasters. I gave up doing festivals after 15 years it was just getting to be much: setting up and tearing down, hoping you would make enough to pay for your expenses, listening to people try to talk you down on prices that are already not enough to include your time that is involved.

hope said...

Oh Tonya, what a nightmare!! Been there, done that with boyscout booths. I handled it then just about like you, anger, tears, frustration while trying to keep my cool before the scouts. Due to the above, I've never done craft fairs. As far as the newspaper is concerned, make sure you write it in such a way that it would not turn off future clients. With small towns you tend to have to walk such fine lines.

I know you had to be disappointed and I'm so sorry. Sending hugs. Hope

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Sorry for the horrible experience. We don't get support from our town either - our monthly open house was 98 percent honored by outside people (out of state) - not a soul from the village came. I vend outside my area and do ONLY shows that are hand-crafting - as well as only indoor shows as weather is a problem as well as all the dirt that gets into the items.

Rachel said...

I am so sorry this happened. I would be angry and frustrated too. I "get it" and I know the following is not going to go with the "tide" of supportive comments you are likely to get, but here it is (for what it is worth...) I would write to the paper..BUT, I would expect they won't publish it and they will share it (you being new and all, LOL) with friends and family. So, I would word my piece very carefully and have an outsider proof read it for attitude (cuz mine would need it, LOL) I would also keep in mind that if you want to run a business there (the one on one classes and memory quilts)that will depend somewhat on the people there, well, kill them with grace and kindness. As my Dad used to say, "Don't shoot yourself in the foot, just to be right."

Rachel said...

P.S. For the record, I firmly believe you only have to win one or two over, the rest will follow...

Sherry said...

I'm so sorry for your disappointment and hurt over this ordeal. I will be praying for God to heal you heart, that you get your refund, and that you keep on creating. God gave you a gift, Tonya, with your quilting and I pray that you are able to see that through this all. Maybe make a positive out of the negative by donating a couple of dog quilts to a local shelter and giving them a business card and ask if they would refer anyone your way that sees the quilts and would want one. That would be a positive twist and would cover two of your loves...quilting and animals. I will be praying that your peace.

SewCalGal said...

What a shame. Whomever was in charge should have sketched out a layout for where everything was to have been placed and had all of the parties pre-approve before anyone sets up. And, if they were to move you in the middle of this thing they should do so with a number of helpers to get you moved and setup ASAP vs loosing downtime.....PLUS refund your fee. Such lack of planning certainly doesn't endure one to "pay" to be a vendor at such an event in the future. The Chamber of Commerce needs to step up and take ownership for this fiasco!


beaquilter said...

that's BAD. sorry to hear about all this, did you sell anything BTW? I've been in charge of our school's craft fair 3 or 4 times now and we take great care in taping off the floors and writing the vendors names on the tape or whatever and plan according to their requests- I.e. corner, electricity etc. I may have had ONE vendor who came early and wanted electricity and didn't tell us before and we swapped with someone else before they got there, but NEVER after the fact.
we know it takes a long time to set up, and I've had a booth there too each time.
That is just really bad planning on their part, and then to want to move you next to food? with hand crafted items.... nooo.
So, if you sold anything and made more than your booth fee, I don't think there's much you can do, but that they tell you to pack up and move is a loss of sales, I'd try to get $ back. BUT if you may want to come back next year, you may want to just be quiet. I know from vendors we had at the school, some did great $ some didn't, and comes with the territory I think. The first time we did it, we had to close early because of a tornador warning- and one vendor really freaking everyone else out- but good thing we did, because the town over from us, a LOWES home improvement got destroyed by a tornado, and we wouldn't want to be "responsible" for our vendors getting hurt on their way home.
Another thing, JUST because one lady complains, they want to move you.... food vendors and bouncy house vendors often pay MORE in fees because they know it's a HUGE money maker, so that doesn't make her "above" you... hope this all makes sense to you?

Belinda said...

wow! I agree with the others in my heartfelt sorrow over your hurt and humiliation. Not to mention the fact that you were the only handcrafting booth. It doesn't seem like that fair is the place where you can shine. Have you thought about putting up flyers in the LQS or library? I think I've told you that my first experience with a craft show was my last. I'm not sure folks are really into them these days. I made money, but it sure wasn't enough for all the work and overhead.

I hope and pray your etsy business can be a place of affirmation and success.

In the end, I don't know that a letter would make any difference, but if it makes you feel better, then yes I would make sure I word it very carefully and send it.

Pat said...

Chalk it up to experience, Tonya.
I wouldn't send the letter at all.

Next time you know to ask the organisers of any fair how many crafters are using this fair and what type, also do they have any recommendations you can view?

I know its frustrating, but what will they really do? If the show brings in money, the paper won't criticise it. Same for City Hall.

Sorry if its not the answer you wanted, sweet, But I don't think anything will get your money back. If you get invited to next year's, that's the time to say no and why.

Fiona said...

how unpleasant for you... I don't know the best thing for you to do .. .but don't let it get you down... the small people in the world create prolems so focus on the good stuff and follow your heart...


Christine M said...

Sorry to hear about your experience Tonya. How disappointing for you.

Snoodles said...

Hi Tonya,
I echo the sentiments of the folks who have said that the CofC should refund, and that they should have helped you move, and put you in a more appropriate place. I also agree that you should write the letter, and be uber-careful of the wording.
I have another idea....either in the letter, or in some posted announcements, or both, why not start a show of your own, that caters to the handcrafter? You might find there are quality crafters like yourself, that would love to have an outlet. You may have to be creative on your location. Find someone interested, and use any contacts that you may have. I know you are new there, but you may find that people seek you out after they read the letter or see an announcement. Pool the talent and the contacts - I bet someone knows someone, and you can find a great venue!
I'm sorry that this happened....but I hope to soon see that you've made lemonade from those awful lemons!
Love ya!

VickiT said...

How frustrating. I'm sorry you had to deal with poeple who obviously are more about the money from booths coming in rather than supporting local vendors.

As I was reading this entire post and the comments I was preparing what I was going to say and then read Snoodles comment who was saying pretty much what I was going to say.
I say take your anger and turn it into something positive for you and other vendors. Maybe put some notices up around town asking if there are other vendors interested in a local artist type show and see if you can get a group together that wants to talk about what can be done to get all your businesses out in the public eye and get some ideas from them all. Maybe between all of those who come to an informational type meeting you can all put your heads together and get something organized. Maybe doing a show or something once or twice a year would work to get the names out for now. I know in my town they have something that started with a group of young mom's a number of years ago that all sold Tupperware and other things like that but felt in getting their booths set up in one place they could minimize their work to bring people to them rather than them having to do cold calls all the time. Since that time, by the 3rd year they started getting the attention of vendors that make things like crafters and people who sew and quilt. Now they are in about their 10th year I think and it's HUGE with commercial business in the area sponsoring the event and even donating prizes that are given away to people coming to the show. Each vendor also has a giveaway that is put into the pool so between all those prizes and the commercially sponsored prizes it's gotten quite large and a huge amount of people come. They started out years ago just doing it for a few hours on one day and now it's a 2 day event. Maybe you could do something like that? Starting slow would get your feet wet and then you could all grow bigger each year while learning the best way to organize it each year.

And yes! Send the complaint but word it nicely with possibly some added improvement comments to help them understand helping local artists/vendors is a benefit to the town as well as the carnival atmosphere. AND YES! Ask for a refund because you surely deserve it.

Good luck.

elliek said...

That sounds like a very unfortunate day. Hope you get some money back as they were mucked you around a lot. Don't let this get you down though.

QuiltSue said...

You were treated abominably, and my first reaction was "yes, write to the paper", but then, I got thinking. If you want to do the same show next year, you must write the letter very carefully. Maybe writing to the Chair of the C of C would be better. You could explain why you feel aggrieved and also, maybe suggest how they could improve things for next year for the traders, which would then improve things for the whole area.

Bren said...

Oh Tonya! I got mad just reading that!! I would definitely take this higher.

Carla said...

How rude. I agree with one of the comments that had they had a layout of where everyone was to set up he could have avoided this whole scene.
You should definitely have your own little fair of crafters. Some organization would have gone a long way and wouldn't have left you frustrated and upset.