Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas Bazaar Time

Yes, 'tis the season for Christmas bazaars again. For those of us who are handcrafted vendors and take our craft seriously, this is a real busy time. For those who are Christmas bazaar attendee addicts, well...the same goes. It's a busy time too.

Before I got into soap-making, I had never attended a Christmas bazaar. Well, I digress a bit; I had attended a few in my past, all of which contained items I would never have given to anyone I knew, nor would I have bought them for myself. I guess I didn't go to the right bazaars. My general consensus was that these things really weren't worth my time attending. But, that was a few years a go.

Christmas bazaars have really done some upgrading over the years. Both small and large sized, the quality of items you can get at a bazaar is usually great.Of course, not all bazaars and craft items are created equal, so you just have to pick and choose what works for you. There's much more variety than there used to be. Or maybe I'm just attending better bazaars? Actually, it is a recent upsurge of desire for handmade items that I believe is the factor.

Yesterday, I attended my first Christmas bazaar of the season as a vendor. It was a smaller bazaar, affordable for me, run by a local church. They had more vendors this year than last, so could not fit all of them in their main room. They ended up putting the other half of the vendors in a different room down the hall. The result? Despite the fact that there were signs stating there were more vendors down the hall, much of the traffic didn't get there. The "down the hall" vendors were feeling a bit forgotten. I'm hoping that it will be a bit different next year. It was my second year there. I had a great experience there last year, but was "down the hall" this year and we vendors down there were trying to come up with ideas to increase traffic down that lonely hall.

I can't blame it all on the down the hall syndrome though. Despite the numerous signs, advertisements and internet postings, there just wasn't near as much traffic this year. Due to our sluggish economy? I suspect so. The prices were good too, so we weren't scaring people off. Our location in relation to general street traffic made it a good location.

My first Christmas bazaar of this season has given me just a little trepidation on what is to come for other bazaars that I'm scheduled for in the upcoming weeks. Next week's bazaar is also located in a nice, high traffic location, but it is my first time there. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm hoping for a group of folk who are excited about there purchasing experience this year. Which brings me to another subject of Christmas commercialism, which I won't talk about now...

For those who are locals here in the Portland/Vancouver area, stop by and visit the Christmas (oops, they are calling it a "holiday") bazaar at the Fishers Grange next Saturday, Nov 21st, 9am-4pm. It sits there on 164th ave, just a few blocks north of Mill Plain.

You might just be pleasantly surprised!


Mary Humphrey said...

Your product display looked terrific, Trish. I truly wish you a better shopping crowd at your next bizaar.

I have been listening to people regarding their Christmas shopping plsns. Many have said they are forgoing, and many are buying just what they have to purchase.

Personally, my days of heading out to spend are on a back shelf right now too.

God bless.

Trish's Soapy Blessings said...

Mary, I agree with you. Even my shopping style this year will be changing just a bit. We are buying more "practical" things, nothing real frivolous. Maybe a little frivolity in the stocking stuffers, but that is pretty much it. Handmade soaps may just fit into that low cost "frivolity list" for some consumers. Personal, handmade, and not all that expensive. Your soaps and mine would fit into that list. I'm hoping that the rest of the public feels the same way.