Whenever you sign up for a craft fair, it's a gamble. You almost always have to pay a registration fee and you never know who will be there and if they'll purchase your items. At most of the craft fairs that I've sold at, I've turned a profit. Then there are ones like the fair I participated in today -- which was a bust.
The day got off to a spectacularly awful start when my commute from Queens, NY to Riverdale, NY (in The Bronx) went awry. My plan was to take the E or F train one stop to switch to the 7, and then take the 7 to Grand Central Station so that I could get on the Metro North train to Riverdale. On most days, this trip would take less than an hour. Not today.
This fair started particularly early at 9 a.m., which meant that I wanted to get there at at least 8 a.m. Originally, I intended to take the 7:20 train to Riverdale, which would've gotten me in a bit before 8. I figured I'd catch a cab at the train station and would be there in plety of time.
Unfortunately, public transport is sllllooooww on weekends, especially really early weekend mornings. I had to wait forever to get the bus to the subway, and the forever for the subway to arrive. Moreover, the subway PACKED. This was at 6 a.m. I couldn't believe it. I thought that I was the only person stupid enough to be up this early on a Sunday. Who ARE these people and why were they all traveling at this time? It was seriously worse than rush hour.
When I finally made it to the 7 train, I had about a half hour to get to GC. Luckily (or so I thought) the 7 came right away. From there, it should've taken about 20 minutes to get to GC and then I'd have more than enough time to get my train to Riverdale.
I then learned mid-trip that they're doing construction and the 7 trains are not going into the city. Once we reached the last stop, I raced to find a shuttle cab and asked him to take me to GC. I then asked out of curiosity how much it would cost to go all the way to Riverdale and he answered, "25." Great! I thought, that's a bargain -- a bit more than it would cost on the train, but it'll make my trip easier.
"Okay, take me to Riverdale," I told him and gave him the address of The Riverdale Temple. I sat back as I prepared to relax. 10 minutes later we arrived at ... Grand Central. He clearly hadn't understood me. Even worse, he wanted $25 for the very short trip that probably would've cost $10 in a yellow cab. I knew that I was getting completely ripped off, but I gave it to him because I didn't want to argue. I wanted to see if I could make my train.
I ran into GC ... and missed my train by a minute. A MINUTE. Now I had to wait an HOUR for the next one. The silver lining here is that it gave me time to eat a leisurely breakfast. The trip itself was no big deal, but once I arrived at Riverdale -- at about 9 a.m., the start of the fair -- I saw that there were no cabs at the station. Plus, it was freezing cold since the station is on a cliff, right by the water. I was very surprised to not see cabs, because there are always cabs by the LIRR stations -- and by the other Metro North stations in Westchester.
I clled the event organizer in a panic and she was clearly annoyed with me. "Well, no one can pick you up now," she told me. I asked for the number of a cab and she gave me the name of a service that thankfully arrived in the next minute. I made it to the fair a bit after 9 a.m. The organizer was relieved to see me, but still upset.
The fair itself was well, weird. There were many vendors and we were kind of crammed into the rec room. I felt as if we were all on top of one another and there was little room to walk the aisles. On one side of me was a young man who kept chatting on his cell phone. On the other side was a vendor who kept whistling. I wanted to kill them both.
The event seemed to be bustling because there were so many vendors and volunteers, but the true shopping traffic was kind of slow. At the last fair, there were many families and people of all ages. This fair seemed to mainly attract elderly women. Not that I have problems with elderly women in any way, but they tend to not be my usual customer, and that was definitely the case today. If anything, I think that my jewelry was too simple and subdued for a lot of these women, most who wore crazy chunky necklaces and long, complicated earrings. One lady wore about 10 strands of pearls and had a second necklace on beneath that. Another wore a chunky turquoise number that was adorned with a pin that literally looked like a breast plate. At the last fair, many customers and onlookers had questions for me, but these shoppers just weren't interested.
I did make a few sales and a couple of people took my card, but it was a quiet, disappointing day. I also got some weird comments. One woman picked up one of my gold necklaces and complained that it wasn't green enough. What??? Another told me, "Your stuff is great. You should be selling more," but didn't buy anything herself. One woman tried on and loved a ring, and was shocked when I told her the low price... and didn't purchase it. I think you can understand why I find craft fairs fun and frustrating.
The day didn't turn out to be a total bust, because we later met up with friends who live in the area and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. I don't think I'll do this fair again, though. The trip was too far and inconvenient and it wasn't worth my trouble. That's not to say I won't do more fairs; the holiday season is just starting and I want to take full advantage.