I woke up this morning to what I am declaring a “Handmade Hangover.” I’m here to proudly admit that I got a little toasty last night, and celebrated TWO, yes 2, sales. Seems like such a tiny win, insignificant to so many I’m sure. To me though, those two sales, pushed the dreaded “I failed” notion out of my brain and, reminded me that I am on the correct path and that I can do hard things.
Last night was the second Ladies’ Night Out I had participated in the last two evenings. Both nights I lugged around two bins, two racks, a mannequin, two large bags and, a table through winding hallways and even up some creaky old stairs. Needless to say, not only was there a hangover this morning secondary to a gifted bottle of wine but, also, some extremely sore legs, arms and back.
I had rounded out the end of my first night in Ferndale for Ladies’ Night Out with a big fat ZERO in the sale column. The sixty scarves, six dresses, twenty bags, two Kimonos, seven Elizabeth’s Cardis, and six upcycled clothing pieces all returned home with me after the show. My spirit was a bit bruised, though I had passed out nearly fifty business cards, I sat in my car broken hearted, wondering why I had spent so many countless hours sewing, dying, tagging, lugging and, setting up. Nothing had sold, a few interested women took my card, told me I had “amazing hair,” stuffed their faces with the ziti that I was tightly set up in the corner with and moved onto buying from other vendors.
When I had left for Ferndale Thursday, Eric gave me a kiss and told me good luck “don’t come home till you make thousands.” Obviously this was a tease, of course I am welcome back to my home whenever I please. But, as I sat in the car waiting for my map to populate my route home, I messaged him, “baby, can I come home? I didn’t sell anything, I’m a bit broken hearted.” As expected his answer was a “Awe. Of course love.” He reminded me that I had another show the next day, that everything would be okay. Let’s just say, I was a bit wilted.
Friday I woke up excited to get my hair trimmed, to see one of my very best friends and to visit my favorite salon, Siren. I had a two hour appointment full of giggles and laughs, talks with a fellow local designer and some pretty fabulous hair. I quickly returned home, threw wood on the fire and, broke out the bags of cut Susan dresses. I was able to finish sewing two of them before having to leave for the second round of Ladies’ Night Out, which would take place in dowtown Holly.
I arrived to the Blumz floral shop, which was infused with antiques. The store confused me, with winding halls and a hidden staircase. I was directed to the top of the stairs where the vendors were setting up for the show. To my complete surprise and glee, I was not squeezed in the corner near the ziti, instead I had a wonderfully eclectic corner, with a bit more room to work with than the previous night, paintings hung behind me and, deer taxidermy that I surprisingly took quite the liking to.
After ten trips to the car, through the winding store, up the stairs for set up, I finally had finished. I stood back and immediately thought that my future shop, would need to be as eclectic and antique infused as this space. My colorful scarves popped, my clothing and bags hung freely and visibly for all to see. I laid out an email sign up, business cards and, pricing signs on the vintage table I brought for the evening. A smile spread across my face, now all I needed was ONE measly sale. A tiny win was all I was looking for.
The night began with an exceptionally long line of women eager to receive a free gift bag full of goodies, I watched them shiver outside on the street. The line stretched at least a block with women standing two and three deep, huddling together to stay warm in the 20 degree biting cold.
Within a few minutes, the flood gates had opened and women began filing up the stairs. A few ladies stopped and looked, as I excitedly shared that everything in my booth was handmade, that I had upcycled Saris into scarves, upholstery into bags, designed and sewed the sweaters and dresses. I had handed out some business cards, watched as many women passed by my booth as though I were invisible.
Then, it happened. In walked two women, who gushed over my sweaters, they couldn’t believe they were handmade, or that they were the price that they were. As one of the women walked out of my booth, the other handed me her jacket and bags, she grabbed a green sweater and tried her on. She stuck her hands in the pockets, walked over to the mirror that stood on a vintage dresser. She returned to my booth, told me she loved the piece and would like to purchase it (as well as exclaiming that I smelled of patchouli and that she loved me even more). In that moment, my heart imploded. I did it, I sold one item and, I could now go home and feel like I did something.
I sold one more sweater and met many women who shared that they would be exploring my website in the near future. I was given a Dixie cup with white wine and celebrated the arrival of my girl Chelsea.
With two sales under my belt, Chelsea and I giggled for the remainder of the night, I finished my Dixie cup - O - wine and went on a hunt for a refill.
I approached the “bar” aka the floral preparation area, the sassy red head behind the high top handed me an entire wine bottle. “Take the whole thing, it’s open and the night is almost over!”
Chelsea and I shared some wine, we closed out the night, packed up, had strangers graciously assist us in lugging all of my wears and racks down the creaky stairs and out to my car. I placed the wine bottle in my cup holder and gave Chelsea a squeeze, thanking her for keeping me company for the last few hours.
It was 10:00 pm when I got home, Eric was waiting for me, giggled as I showed him the bottle of wine. We both took swigs, I recalled the night, and then wholeheartedly looked into his eyes and thanked him for believing in me. We struggle paycheck to paycheck, and although I had high hopes that I would come home from these two days with monies for bills, for our mortgage or groceries, I came home to a smiling, loving husband, who celebrated my tiny win with me. I may not have come home making thousands of dollars in sales, but I came home feeling inspired, grateful and, ready to continue on with the dream that drives me daily.
Needless to say, we finished that bottle of wine and I probably repeated myself five times that I had sold two sweaters - tiny win! Today my handmade hangover is slowly lifting and I find myself more grateful than ever for the support I continue to receive everyday.
Peace, Love & Tie Dye