Monday, June 20, 2011
Every year, the Omak Kiwanis hosts their Art in the Park in Omak, Washington. This year, I was a vendor at Art in the Park. We just came back from Omak a few hours ago and now resting at home, recuperating from this weekend's experience.
The weather didn't completely cooperate with us though. It rained on and off most of the first day, which is when most of the the people show up. Sunday was a BEAUTIFUL day, but being Sunday, the crowd wasn't quite as a large.
The economy has made a large impact on Art in the Park too. People are looking for basics and personal gift ideas that are also inexpensive. Many of the usual vendors that attend Art in the Park come from all over the Northwest. This year, many of the vendors didn't show because the expense required to travel.
Despite all of that, Art in the Park was still a success. I chose to come again this year because I lived in the Okanogan for over 17 years. I still have family and friends that live in the area. We live about 500 miles away though and the gas cost was atrocious. Still, we considered it a success because it allowed us to spend time with our family and we were able to recoup some of our cost of traveling.
Our customers were looking for good deals, unique gift ideas at affordable prices, and handmade product with quality at reasonable prices.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide quality with affordability in this economy. I had to raise my prices and use some lesser priced oils that still that didn't impact the quality of our soaps and other handcrafted items. I also had to use packaging that didn't cost as much.
There were a few customers who complained about the "high price" of handcrafted items and were looking for an even better bargain. I simply explained that they were welcome to check out my "bargain section" which I always have at every arts and craft fair I attend. These items are often half price. Many of my soaps are $5 and more. When someone says this is too spendy, I simply state that I won't compromise the quality of the soap. Besides, people frequently purchase a $5 hamburger without blinking an eye, which they enjoy for maybe 20 minutes. For the same price, I can give them a quality soap or other handcrafted product that will last for 2 months or more.
Handcrafted artists and vendors do not "make a killing" on the price of their handcrafted items. They want to make a quality handcrafted item, they want to be able to afford to do this, and want to attend affairs like Art in the Park and other places to show their wares; which costs $ because they pay to be a part of the arts and crafts fairs, the gas it takes to travel to these affairs, the items they need in order to set up a great display, the business license and insurance, PLUS suffering through all the increased costs of producing their wares...it's a wonder that handcrafted artistry is even alive in our country anymore.
We hope to attend Art in the Park again next year and hope that all of your enjoy our soaps, handmade and re-loved treasures.