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First Sunday Arts Fest (May 2012)

Location: Annapolis, MD

Day of the Week: Sunday

Weather: Overcast in the morning, Sunny in the afternoon.  Chilly in the shade.

Organization: Excellent.  Lots of information before the event and fantastic volunteers to help during the event.

Crowd Size: Big crowd in the main area, smaller crowds in Whitmore Park and City Gate.  

Crowd Make Up: Lots of families and Lots of dog owners.  Some browsers, but mostly shoppers.

Booth Fee: $50 for 10′ x 10′ in City Gate.

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What a relief to get to sleep in a bit!  This was the latest fair I’ve done so far.  Set-up didn’t even start until 10am!  How luxurious!  Annapolis is only a half hour from my house, so it really didn’t take long to get there and get set up.

I did have some trouble finding City Gate because there were so many little sections of the festival, but the volunteers were very helpful in finding my spot, setting up, and parking my truck.  The volunteer in City Gate even helped me take down my tent.

It was pretty chilly in the shade at City Gate, but I’m sure once we get into the full swing of summer, it will feel wonderful.  We didn’t have a huge crowd since we were off to the side, but it was steady enough.  We basically got what we paid for.  Our booth fees were about half of the booth fees in the main section and since soap has a pretty small profit margin, we have to be a pretty big operation to make those big booth fees worth it.

As always, I met lots of nice vendors and even saw a couple of repeat customers from the Flea Market series.  Several customers even knew about Neem oil , which was a surprise.  Since most soap makers avoid its horrible smell, I don’t think most people have heard of it.  The folks I met who had were either of Indian descent or were in the skincare industry themselves.

The new Lemongrass Ginger lotion bars were a big hit.  They were probably the most universally liked.  I sold out of several products for the first time too!  It was, all in all, a very exciting day.

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Anne Arundel County Flea Market (April 2012)

Location: Crownsville, MD

Day of the Week: Saturday

Weather: Clear, but cool.  Warm in the sun, but chilly under the pavilion.

Organization: Good.  No confirmation beforehand, but available through email.  Very well organized during the event.

Crowd Size: Great.  Lots of foot traffic.

Crowd Make-up: Some families.  Lots of dog owners.  Plenty of bargain hunters.

Booth Fee: $20 for 10′ x 10′ in the Pavilion

Last night was rough.  I could barely sleep for nerves, but I made myself lay there until 4:45 am.  To put that into perspective: I normally like to sleep approximately 10 hours a night.  Surprisingly though, I was wide awake once I got on the road.  I’m sure I’ll be a zombie tomorrow, but right now I am high on success!

I arrived at the fairgrounds 20 minutes before the gates opened, and I was still way at the back of the line. Still, that felt better than if I’d arrived at my traditional time–unfashionably early.

For all of the many wonderful things about the market and its sponsors, I have to confess to being really freaked out by the statue at the entrance to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds.  It is a statue of a lumberjack (not in and of itself creepy) holding out his hands, seeming to gesture you towards him like “Hey! You wanna piece of me?”  I don’t know if my picture does him justice.

Set-up was really quite easy.  I was worried because I was on my own today, but luckily I was in the pavilion so I didn’t need to set up the pop-up tent (not an EZ-Up and not easy).  It probably took me 45 minutes to set up, but I’m a perfectionist.  Check out the booth:

As always, I had a lot of fun chatting with shoppers and watching the people (and dogs) stroll by.  The lotion bars were a big hit and everyone loved my new scent creations.

Only one couple bought the Trousseau soap, but they were really into it. Literally everyone who smelled the Calisson Oatmeal Soap talked about delicious the smell was.  Making the Worker Bee section was also a great idea since a lot of people compulsively added an extra soap nugget to their purchase.  Samples and trial sizes are genius!

On top of all that, my hands have never been so well-hydrated!  After showing everyone how the lotion bars work, my hands are ridiculously soft and smooth.  Even I’m amazed at how well they work and I make them!