My first Festival!

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cerelife

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I've been a vendor at a weekly market since June, but I had an invitation to be a vendor at a festival in southern Louisiana for a cause we care deeply about so I accepted! I'm soooo glad that I did - it was such a good time!!!
I was feeling pretty nervous since I didn't really know what to expect (I've attended this festival, but never as a vendor here or at ANY festival), and I was working non-stop up until the last possible cure-date (6 weeks pre-fest) making soap and then making more of everything else up until the week before the festival! When I packed everything up to load in the truck, my husband was like "Do you really think you need all of this?" His doubt was understandable as my market sales are decent, but nothing to write home about. They are slowly but surely rising as I get repeat customers, but still...it was a LOT more product than I normally bring to the market!
I'm happy to say that 'Minou Bleu' was a total success at the festival and my sales were FAR more than I expected!! Even better is that I met a lot of great people - many of whom hung around to chat and gave me new ideas for Cajun soap names (I'm gonna have to work on my rolling R's/ French accent for next year, LOL)!!
And the food and music were phenomenal as well ;)
But maybe the best thing of all is that my husband 'gets' it now. I have a FT job (three 12-hour weekend shifts at the hospital) and 'Minou Bleu' is what I do for fun. Don't get me wrong - it's my business and I take it seriously (I have insurance/separate tax account/bank account/business license, pay accountants to keep me on the right track, etc.), but I've never expected it to pay the bills. Like most of us, I do it simply because it makes me happy! This was the first time my husband had attended any 'Minou Bleu" activity with me and after the festival he commented "I've never understood why you bust your butt every week setting up at the market when your sales don't even come close to what you make at work. But you truly love doing this and it shows - I think people buy as much because of YOU as your actual product. And then they come back and buy more because it really IS that good." I'm over the moon that he finally understands :)
Things I wish I had thought of in advance of doing the festival:
1) LIGHTS!! My weekly market is during the afternoon and I have no access to power there, so I really didn't think this one through very well. I did buy a few strands of blue lights as I knew I would have power access at the festival and I had my paper lanterns (soap bubbles) with battery-operated flickering tea lights. While these were pretty and people loved the "atmosphere" it made reading labels a real pain! Next year I'll have real lights like many other vendors since the festival goes on until around 11pm.
2) Product names - I sold out of most all of my Louisiana based products, but I was surprised that not one person picked up my (usually) very popular rose soap at the festival. Total "Smack in the forehead - DUH!" moment when I got home and thought about it...my great-grandmother was Cherokee so I named the soap 'Cherokee Rose'. I was in the land of the Houma Indians for the fest, so no wonder folks weren't interested in a Cherokee soap!!
 
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KristaY

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Wow, cerelife! It sounds like you had a successful event all around! It's especially fantastic your hubby "gets it" now too. Hopefully he'll be that much more excited and helpful at your next festival. Huge congrats!!! :clap:
 

Susie

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Congratulations!!! I was so hoping you could be there! Those folks are going to be looking for you every year now!
 

cerelife

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