Craft Shows, In Progress

Art on the Avenue Preparation – 3 weeks out

The timer is ticking:  Art on the Avenue, the huge art festival in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, is a little less than three weeks away.

Of course I’m not as ready as I’d like to be!

I’m hoping that sharing weekly status updates between now and October 6th will help me stay on-task and motivated. I’ll be back with a 2 week and 1 week update, too, so you can yell at me if I’m falling behind!

I’ve been working very hard, sewing and prepping pretty much every day, but I’m still learning things.  For example, one reason I may get bored and burnt out when producing the same item many times over is because I set unreasonable goals.  For some reason I thought I could make 50 of my “Sunny Sweaters” in one fell swoop.

Sunny Sweaters by Janery |

Well, the good news is, I can . . . But it’s going to take a while and become tedious.  And while on the up side I now have a ton of Sunny Sweaters ready for the show (and leftovers will be stocked in my shop) I haven’t focused on making many other products. I would have been better off making only 20, then making other products, and then making more Sunny Sweaters if I had time.

So, lesson learned:  Set a reasonable and achievable production goal that won’t take forever.  It’s better to have a dozen of each product than a ton of one product and none of another.

Speaking of product, here is my anticipated product lineup:

Home Decor & Personal Accessories

  • Pillow covers
  • Waterproof Fabric Coasters
  • Flour Sack Towels
  • Produce bags (I thought I was sold out but I found another stash!)
  • Sunny Sweaters
  • iPad Sweaters *new!
  • Business Card Holders

Pet Accessories Necessities:

  • Pup Pads
  • Catnip Cuddlers
  • The Ultimate Dog Bed **more on this in another post
  • Coffee Sack Dog Beds
  • Catnip Cigars

Things for Kids:

  • Tooth Fairy Pillows
  • Scrappy Owls (similar to what I made for my niece, but with a different pattern)

And . . .

  • Christmas Stockings?

Several of the items listed above were not part of my regular Janery offerings online, but for craft shows it’s good to have a wide range of products.  Not such a wide range that you lose track of your style or essence, but wide enough to help you appeal to a large audience with varying budgets.

If there’s one item that doesn’t mesh it’s my produce bags.  But I found another stash of them and I’d like to use them up, and they’re a really eco-friendly product that I believe in.

Another reason I haven’t made more progress is because I have a severe case of I-can’t-decide-how-to-spend-my-budget-itis

Indecision is a beast. I also haven’t ordered product labels (because I can’t decide if they’re worth it), gift packaging (because I don’t have a vision), or several other supplies because of fear of making the wrong decision.

Gift Wrap / Packaging:

I’ve been drooling over images of impeccable packaging and thinking that I may put a little more effort into my packaging.  I was going to order some gift boxes and bags, but I think I’ll stick with my standard brown paper bags and then just find ways to embellish them.

Booth Design & Setup:

I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering the best way to set up my booth.  I loved using the vintage steamer trunk to display pillows at Viva Vienna, and it was a great, eye-catching display for the front of my tent.  However, I felt the rest of my display was lacking.

This time I need to have an eye catching display inside the tent as well as at the front, which means I need to create some height as well. I’ve been tossing ideas around and pinning inspirational retail merchandising photos like crazy.

I really, really love this informational board that Linen Laid & Felt used in their booth.  It’s a great way to provide a lot of information to customers who are interested.  I’m strongly considering doing this myself.

LinenLaidandFelt_tack board Bookbinding Etsy Street Team

Credit: Bookbinding Etsy Street Team Blog (click photo for link)

I have so much more to say, though, about booth setup, that I think I’ll save it for another rambling post. 🙂

In the mean time, I have some questions for you, my fabulous readers who always have great ideas:

Product Labeling:    Knowing that I may not do another craft show with Janery, should I still bother ordering and sewing labels onto items?

Display & Packaging:    Do you think that an embellished gift bag along with cheerful tissue paper is enough, or should I have gift boxes for items like sunny sweaters, iPad sweaters, pillow covers, and tea towels?

And finally, do you have any blogs that you recommend for great examples of retail merchandising and/or packaging?

Thanks for joining me and always encouraging me in these adventures.  Art on the Avenue is easily my most exciting Janery-related adventure yet!


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  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 9:03 am

    Jane – you are making excellent progress and everything looks great! Your product list is very ambitious and I can’t wait to see your new items! (Not to add something else to your to-do list, but what about sweaters for the iPhone5? You could be the first to have them…)

    I have lots of thoughts, but I’ll stick to responding to your questions:
    1. Don’t bother with the labels. It’s just something that takes more time & expense (especially if you change the direction of Janery in the future). Honestly, I don’t always like to have labels on everything I buy anyway. And if you order them now, you might be forced to come up with a design that you don’t really like. Wait until after you’ve made a decision about the shop and then come up with something you really like.
    2. The gift bag and issue paper is plenty. Again, while I appreciate gorgeous packaging, I always wonder how some shop owners fit it into their budgets. I’m not willing to raise the prices on my products for fancy packaging that just gets thrown away. Besides minimal packaging goes well with your mission to great green products. Especially since this isn’t specifically a December/holiday show, I don’t think it’s necessary for you to gift wrap items.

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 9:05 am

    Yeah, I usually proofread BEFORE submitting:

    issue = *tissue
    great = *create

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 7:46 am

      Wasn’t sure that people would want iphone sweaters. . . but Ryan did mention something about the new size of iPad. If I have time I’ll add them. Thanks!

  • Reply Anna Hull at 10:01 am

    I do like labels (generally because I can remember who made something if I want to hunt them down for more), but they’re certainly not necessary. And since you’re not sure on the future direction of Janery, they may not be worth it for you. And I think that the bag and paper is fine. I wouldn’t look for or expect gift boxes (which, by the way, always just end up in the basement waiting to be reused or recycled and sometimes I think it would be better if we stopped using them the majority of the time) and I think that not having them fits fine with your desire to be environmentally responsible. Everything looks great!

  • Reply Janise Cookston at 11:52 am

    Labels are a very nice touch but can also be a tedious detail for the crafter. As a buyer, I personally prefer handmade items without labels because to me they feel more handmade that way. Consider using mini-cards ( to send home with each sold item so people have your info for future reference but you don’t have to sew them to your products and you can use the leftovers in lots of different ways.

    I think that less really is more when it comes to packaging. I find that my art show patrons appreciate the fact that I don’t load them down with a lot of unnecessary take-home wrapping/packaging. Most of my customers are buying the piece for themselves (so they don’t need it wrapped) or if they are purchasing as a gift, they prefer to do the wrapping themselves to add their own personal touch. I make super quick and easy bags out of old t-shirts and that is what I use to send my art home in with customers. They appreciate that they have something to carry the piece in for the rest of the day but it’s something that cost me very little and they can reuse over and over again once they get home. The packaging then becomes a lasting value added perk.

    I really love the inspiration gellery on for ideas on how to brand and market your products.

  • Reply Kiri Celebkiriedhel at 6:39 am

    Labels: No. Packaging – minimal. Labelling and packaging is generally the first thing I get rid of. They’re pretty – but they’re are just for looks.

    Regarding boxes – thinking about going around a festival and buying things – if things came in a box it would slow down my ability to buy – as boxes can be unwieldy to carry, and won’t necessarily fit into the bag that I carry.

    Unless there is some cleaning advice that needs to be sewn into the object, just sticking a small business card in with the purchase would be enough for me. (actually it would be plenty).

  • Reply Art on the Avenue Preparation – 2 weeks outThe Borrowed Abode | The Borrowed Abode at 3:50 pm

    […] I sign off for the day, I want to thank you all for your wonderful feedback on my questions in last week’s status update.  I really appreciated all the food for thought, and have decided not to offer gift boxes for the […]

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