Monday, November 16, 2009

Get Your Shopping Done in a Day

It's true. You can totally get all your holiday shopping done in one day. If you'd like, you could also spend every last penny of money you have, and happily so. Where and when is such a opportunity presenting itself? Why, the No Coast Craft-o-rama, of course!

Let me tell you the story of the No Coast Craft-o-rama. Oh, the year was 2005, I think. Right around the same time Crafty Planet opened it's doors. I had started crafting things to sell and was having very little success at the local craft sales. Around the same time my mom was retiring, and bugging me about what she was going to do with all this newfound time. So, I set about to recruit forces to help me plan a wee little sale in our fair city. And that is what I did.

To get things started, I dropped in on Trish at Crafty Planet. "Trish," I said, " can I get some hip crafty peeps together to help me plan this thing?" To which Trish said, "I'll help you!" And so it was. I created some flyers and hung them about town. Trish passed the word through the store and her wide network of crafty hipsters. The night of the first planning meeting arrived...and some people showed up! Real, live people! Who also liked the idea of a cool, indie craft sale! It was a thrill. To this day only one or two of the people who were at that meeting are still involved with the planning, but believe me, every one of them made a difference in how things came to be!

Fast forward past all of the agonizing hard work of putting together that first sale, trying to find vendors, a location, determine advertising needs, establish an identity and get organized to the morning of the sale. We all arrived at Columbia Manor in northeast Minneapolis with butterflies. Would anyone come? Would the tables all fit? Would everything run smoothly? As people trickled in, then crowds amassed, then hoards of made shoppers practically stormed the place, it became clear that we would far exceed our expected attendance of 500. In fact, I think I recall we had around 2,500 attendees! It was amazing, and one of the most exciting and rewarding feelings I've ever had to see all that hard work pay off. Our vendors said that shoppers were crazed, throwing money and snatching up crafts like it was their last ever opportunity to get a piece of the craft action. My husband dressed as Santa and dj'ed all day, and my mom had a banner day of sales. All of my friends came, and I made new friends and discovered some unbelievably talented local crafters and generally just had an awesome day. It whet my appetite for more.

As I said, the whole story is a long one, but I've helped plan this sale for the last four years -- everything from writing press releases to setting up and tearing down tables to helping design shirts and web sites and choose vendors and appear on media interviews. It's been a labor of love but also extremely consuming. This year I stepped away from it all to focus on (selfishly) me, my family, and lots of other things. But I can rest easy knowing that it's now in Trish and the Crafty Planet gang's capable hands. I feel like I set out to accomplish something really great, and I did -- and now it's got momentum of it's own! I can finally just show up and shop...with no responsibilities! It's a great feeling, and I plan to completely blow every penny I have there. So if you're expecting a gift from me this year, you can't come shopping with me. Or you've got to get lost...which won't be hard to do at this event!

Come check it out and support local handmakers. They deserve your business!

1 comment:

Granny said...

Wow! I remember that first sale at Columbia Manor. I was scared to death. I was so sure that I was going to make a fool out of myself and that no one was going to buy my crap! Remeber that it snowed and people could not find a place to park and the crowd just shoved people through the place? What fun! Thanks for the Memories!