Craft fairs and sensory self-care

This year, I have started to sell my art and jewelry.  I’ve been learning how to market myself online and build up my Etsy shop.  As of Saturday, I’ve also been a vendor in four craft fairs.

The holiday season is prime time for craft fairs, and I am aware of artists and crafters doing them regularly.  It’s now the season where they’re likely to make the most money because more people are shopping for gifts.

I quickly realized that doing one craft fair a month is enough for me.  Even – and perhaps especially in – a busy season.  I have to take my sensory issues into consideration.  Sitting at my table at a craft fair requires me to constantly be “on” and ready to greet anyone at a second’s notice.  I often find walking around a craft fair for too long to be overwhelming – there are so many colors, trinkets, items that my senses are soon confused, if not overloaded.  It also takes a lot of energy to be there.  It takes a lot of energy to prepare.  And it takes time to recover:  I try to leave the day after a craft fair completely free, and I’m sometimes more tired for a few days afterward.

This time, for a craft fair at a local high school,  I put less effort into preparation.  I used my energy as sparingly as possible beforehand and saved more of it for the actual event.  I made sure I had enough products, and I spent time the afternoon and evening before gathering my things together.  The knowledge I’ve gained from the past few craft fairs helped me know what I needed to bring and how to organize it.  I even got to bed at a decent hour.

Saturday’s fair went well – I sold 9 items (8 of them from people I don’t know) and was pleased with my table display.  A friend came and joined me for most of it – she says she enjoys being at fairs and having her there helped me feel more calm and centered.

Saturday night, I was prepared for the feeling of exhaustion and sensory overload.  I ate dinner and then noticed that my thoughts were rapidly becoming incoherent, and I allowed them to go there.   I was in bed before 9 and asleep shortly after.  I slept around 10 hours, which is unusual for me.  I was tired yesterday, particularly in the morning, and I did my best to keep my stimulation level low.  Today, I’ve felt sensitive and sleepy at moments.  I’m doing more conscious sensory self-care, and giving myself more space to feel how feel.

I’ve had several moments where I’ve been like,  But why can’t I do more fairs?  How can other artists do so many?  Then I give myself a gentle reminder:  This is me and this is my experience.  My needs may be different from those other artists.  I’m glad that I made it out there this Saturday and have another fair scheduled for December. 

Now that I’ve given myself credit, I think I’m going to go take a nap.
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7 responses to this post.

  1. Ha, ha, ha. Ohmy! So funny . . . craft fairs can be insane! I am laughing at the craziness of them. Regardless of if you have a sensory sensitivity or not. WHEW. Just thinking about them makes me a little tired. Hopefully you reminded the people that purchased stuff that you have an Etsy shop so when their friends see the items and want them they will point that out. In other words, I am hoping you build up your online business so you can start saying, “I don’t need to to more fairs.” Instead of “Why can’t I do more fairs?’ 🙂

    Reply

    • That’s definitely my hope, too. 🙂 Referring them to my Etsy shop is a great idea. I often give them my business card with their purchases (which has the web address on it), but don’t always remember to mention that.

      Reply

      • I know how it is. So busy doing other things and doing the transaction, you can’t remember it all. When it comes to you, don’t hesitate! I often think, “I have told them enough stuff or enough times . . ” But really you can’t. So keep reminding them about your Etsy site so they go to it and tell their friends.

  2. PS: When I click on “my Etsy shop” is goes to a “page not found”.

    Reply

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