Sunday, February 13, 2011

My A-ha Moments (Part 2)

(September 2010)

After seeing the amigurumis I made for Fabiola’s baby shower, my sister, Suzi, asked me to participate in her son’s school Craft Fair Fundraiser. When Suzi first e-mailed me at the end of September, I was hesitant to accept because I had never made so many toys at one time, but I thought it would be a great challenge. I was ready to take my hobby more seriously, to see if I could possibly make it into a business and this was a chance for me to test out the waters.

During the next couple of weeks, I tried to get my hands on any patterns I could find. I had a set of toys I already liked to make, but I had to push myself and try out new patterns and techniques I hadn’t tried before. My goal was to make at least 30 various toys for the fundraiser. During my research, I found that there were hundreds of patterns available in books, magazines and online. I had to use my own sensibilities to decide which patterns would look good together, which colors matched, and most important of all, what was cute enough in my eyes. If I couldn’t find anything that matched what I liked, I had to make it up myself.

For two months straight, all I did was go to work, go home and crochet. It was an intense schedule, but I loved every minute of it. Sometimes, I wish I had less time at work and more time to crochet. I ended up with a nice little collection of amigurumis.

Little Bird pattern adapted from Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli.
Octopus pattern adapted from Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli.

Mama Panda pattern from Crochet Today Magazine

Little Pig pattern from Lion Branch Yarn

Mama and baby Tortoise pattern adapted from Crochet Today Magazine

Cupcake and hot cocoa pattern from Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli.

Ice Cream Cone pattern is mine.

Cup of Tea pattern is mine.

 Pear pattern from Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli
Apple, pineapple, and orange patterns are mine.

Sun pattern from Crochet Today Magazine, “Happy Day mobile”.

Little Bird Mobile pattern adapted from Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli.
Hot Air Balloon and Bear pattern from Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli.

Lion pattern adapted from Crochet Today Magazine.

Before the Craft Fair, I had to choose a name for my table. I played around with a lot of different names and finally came up with Comfort Creatures. It was a play on the phrase “creatures of comfort” and I thought it described by creations pretty well. All the toys were considered “creatures” because of their eyes and smile and I hoped that they would bring comfort and joy to the people who receive them.

November 19 was D-Day! I took the day off of work to go to the Craft Fair and my husband and sister-in-law came with me for support and also to help as my sales team. The gym at my nephew’s elementary school was full of vendors already setting up when we arrived. I was a little intimidated because there were people who had professional looking set-ups. All I had was a red tablecloth that Suzi bought for me and a hand-made sign. I was relieved that I had made enough toys to cover the table.

We forgot to take a picture of the table when we first set up.
This was halfway through and most of the animals are gone.
At first, the fair was very slow. There were only a few people walking around but even then, I had some positive feedback. An older lady told me that her mother use to make crochet toys for her and that she was happy to see that someone still makes these toys. Some other people walking by thought the toys were cute and really like my company’s name.

Then at 2:30, school was let out. The kids brought their parents into the gym to check out the Craft Fair and then the craziness began. As soon as the kids saw the amigurumis they ran right over to the table. We were surrounded by kids, picking up the toys and playing with them. The parents were telling the kids not to touch, but I told them I didn’t mind at all. I wanted to see the kids playing and having fun with my toys.

The little birdies were the first to go, then the octopus and turtle were sold pretty quickly. Surprisingly, the fruit were not very popular with the kids. I thought they were cute, but I guess young kids’ aversion to fruits and veggies also extend to toy versions. 

The most memorable moment at the fair was this little girl who shyly walked up to my booth. Her mother encouraged her to look and to see which one she likes. This was going to be her Christmas present. The little girl looked up at her mom and said, “I can’t choose. I like them all!” Then she proceeded to cry and have a mini panic attack.
Jayson played his ukulele for the crowd.
In the end, I sold all but 6 of the toys. I already knew that the larger, more expensive toys would be harder to sell. Overall, the Craft Fair was a great experience from the beginning planning phases all way through to clean-up. I learned so much about the crafting business and also about myself. I was on a high for the rest of the night and the next few days. I know this Craft Fair was pretty small scale, but I had to start somewhere. This first taste of creation and selling had convinced me that I wanted to start my own business. There is a market out there for amigurumis. This was the beginning for Comfort Creatures!

Thanks again for joining me this week! See you again next week!

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