Saturday, October 20, 2012

Catching up!

Figured it was time for an update on the goings-on here at Caddie Jo Designs. Lots of stuff, but I'll give the short version...

Craftstravaganza! May 12 at the Fairgrounds. I made less money than last year but sold more items (thanks, purses, bibs and aprons!). I discovered, no surprise, that it's really fun to make a lot of sales. One woman I thought I recognized; then she said she'd bought her niece one of my raincoats at No Coast and she just loved it! That was just so nice to hear. Also, I sold four purses to boys, yes, to boys (dinosaur and monkey patterns, no flowers or polka dots!). I never would have thought of marketing them to boys (I guess call them something else?), but that's what's so fun about interacting with customers -- you learn things. Many thanks to Craftstravaganza proprietors Andy and Jenna who not only included me in the show but bought a raincoat and bib for their girls! And thanks to Laurie and Cotty, Caroline and Alan, and Ann and Wayne (who brought me a much-needed afternoon coffee) for stopping by my booth!

(Just have to interject here that sewing in my third-floor, non-air-conditioned "studio" this summer put me in mind of the turn-of-the-century sweatshops... my thermometer said 97 one day and the fan just didn't help much. At least I, unlike those poor women sewing shirtwaists, could wear as little as possible, drink copious fluids and quit when I wanted!)

Next up was the No Coast Summer Craft-o-Rama July 22, the first one held in the warm months. This was my first outdoor show, and it was so, so hot, even with the tent I borrowed from my crafty friend London.  (Caroline and Alan rescued me with an iced tea midafternoon.) But it was a lovely, family-oriented event at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, with puppet shows, kid-friendly bands and food trucks. I sold quite a few small items and one raincoat. And I introduced a few of my newest items:

Dresses and skirts! I finally semi-mastered the serger I bought last fall (after a helpful class at the Textile Center called "Scared of Your Serger"), so I could start making professionally finished garments. I have had so much fun designing and making these... the dresses have pleats, or gores, of contrasting fabric, and the skirts are ruffled, all trimmed with bias tape handmade by me! (I scored a bias tape maker at a yard sale for $35 -- regular price over $100.) For fall/winter, I also made some dresses/jumpers out of corduroy and sweatshirt fleece, so cute! Pictured are just a sample of what I've got. If you want to see more, you'll have to come to my next shows...

...Which are: Minneapolis Craft'za (the debut of the fall/winter version of Craftstravaganza), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, and No Coast Craft-o-Rama, 3-8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. These will both be great shows with tons of cool stuff ... come see me, or just come to buy Christmas presents from one of the really talented vendors.

Lastly, there's a new future customer in the family: Our granddaughter Vera Fae Harper, born July 16. Here she is, thinking of all the things Grandma is going to make for her!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sewing up a storm for Craftstravaganza!

Craftstravaganza is this Saturday! Last year's was my very first craft show, and it was a great experience. But I learned a few things there (and in other shows in the past year) that I'm taking to heart this year.

No. 1: Unisex coats. I wrote before No Coast in December about my dinosaur styles. Now I have a couple more designs:
How cute would this look on a little boy? It's lined with smooth red acetate and has red snaps. And of course, no ruffles. :)

Then there's this one, which could be for a boy or a girl:

A menagerie!  It's lined with super-soft brown cotton and has orange snaps, with brown seam binding trim on the pockets.

One more new raincoat design, but it's definitely girlish:

Kind of hard to see, so here's a detail:

Ooh la la, it's a map of Paris! Lined with pale blue silk, with ruffled pocket trim and blue piping and pink snaps.

No. 2: I decided to lower my prices. I know, I know, that's being a bad businesswoman. But I'm not selling many at the current prices. For boys especially, I'm not sure if anyone will pay more than $50. So the simpler coats (without ruffles) are down to $48, and the ruffled coats are at $55. We shall see if that jump-starts the sales.

No. 3: I have continued my quest for smaller, cheaper items to sell. The $10 purses have gone like gangbusters everywhere I've set up shop. So I'll have a dozen or so of those on hand Saturday. My two newest items:

Bibs! These are super fun and easy to make, and have been road tested by one Laney Fae Royce :) (shameless baby plug here).

I've sold a few to friends, but this will be their first time on the open market. They have little pockets and snap closures, and are machine washable, which of course is a must. This is just a sample of the styles I've made -- I have 13 in all. At $8 apiece, I'm hoping people will snatch them up for baby shower gifts! (I did see similar -- though not as cute, I daresay -- bibs at Target, two for $6. But come on! Support local artisans!)

The other new item is pullover aprons:

Kind of a fuzzy photo (as always, forgive the amateur cell phone photography). These also are fun and easy to make. Love that monkey print, and the strawberries. Each one probably would fit, say, a kindergartner (pretty long) to a small adult. Could be used as a painting smock. These are $18 apiece because they use a good bit of fabric and seam binding. I was only planning to make three, but yesterday when I stopped by the all-new Sewtropolis at 48th and Chicago, I found some beautiful flowered laminate that I couldn't resist. Gotta quit buying new fabric until I sell some more stuff! I added a ruffle across the pocket on that one. Didn't get a chance to photograph it, so you'll have to come to the show to see it!

Okay, this has gone on long enough. Just making up for lost time. Anyway, hoping for a good turnout and a little ka-ching at the Fairgrounds Saturday -- 10-5 p.m. I'm in the very same spot as last year, in the Fine Arts Building; the show has also expanded to the Progress Center next door, so be sure to wander over there and see more talented people including my colleague London Nelson!

One more item: Found out Monday I'll be in the first-ever summer No Coast Craft-o-Rama, July 22 (a Sunday) at Silverwood Park in New Brighton. I hope to introduce some little dresses at that event ... more on that later!