Ok, ok. Before you get angry. I have absolutely nothing against Pampered Chef! In fact, I have a number of Pampered Chef items in my kitchen as we speak. On the whole I like them very much. I also enjoy the Scentsy candle I got for my birthday as a gift, and the couple necklaces I have left from my days as a Lia Sophia representative (yep, I've just about done it all). Heck, I even have a trusty Thirty-One bag (or 3) that I'm not entirely sure I could do without.
I love going to the little parties at my friend's house or receiving the random useful gift. But that's what those vendors are intended for. The living room, Holiday party, online bazaar, and inevitable FB group are ideal locations to gorge yourself on these items and all the amazing discounts, savings, hostess gifts, and sign on bonuses you can take.
The local craft fair is not.
A craft fair is a gathering of artisans. Or, at least, it used to be. It should be. It's a place where an individual can display and maybe even profit from his or her artistic talents. Where one can showcase the results of hours, weeks, or even months of dedicated, hard work. Sure, every real crafter will say, "No biggie, I like doing it. It's easy once you know how." We are lying. It's hard.
It's hard to carve out time to cut patterns, link beads, carve walking sticks, paint ornaments, build toy boxes or any number of other unbelievably creative things you'll see at a craft fair. The supplies cost money, maybe a lot, considering most crafters and artisans chose to work with high quality supplies and a crafter almost NEVER gets to figure labor into any of his or her costs. That would make the item too costly. Consider that it takes me an average of 100 hours to complete a Queen size quilt.
Often the crafter is someone who makes the endeavor a second, or part time gig. Maybe they are retired. In any event they make time to bring in a little extra, to support themselves with their hands...locally. When you claim to "buy local" consider the true source not just the venue. At the craft fair when you purchase the small introductory gift from one of those in-home sellers you are negating the work done by the artisan at the booth next to them. If that's the case, why come to the craft fair at all? Enjoy them from the comfort of your own home. Those deals are typically either a monthly sales give-away or an item bought in bulk by the advisor to be able to sell at little to no profit to bring in more sales...I promise, it'll be available the very next day. Just take her card and tell her you'll call her tomorrow if you're really interested. Host a party, that's where the real savings are at!
I implore you! Go to every craft fair for which you see a sign. Stop by and check out what's being made in your area. Know of one happening? Go, be prepared. Bring cash (though most of use take debit/credit now) and be prepared, nay AIM, to spend more than $10. It's not a flea market. It's a craft fair. They only come around every once in a while, take advantage. The gifts you purchase from local crafters and artisans will be the best and most well received gifts you purchase. Mark my words!
All I ask is that you try to acknowledge the real work and save the in-home sales...in-home. Which reminds me, it's about time for another Thirty-One party.
Simple City Sam
Come see me at the few remaining fairs of my season!