15. November 2022 · Comments Off on At the Market · Categories: Book Event, Domestic

My daughter and I did a craft market last weekend – one of our regular markets of the season. This one was at the Senior Center in Bulverde, and I have lost track of how many of these that we have done, but I do remember doing the first one, where my daughter had to drive back home for our tables, which it turned out that we needed, and I only made enough to buy a set of regular china from a junk outlet on the way home. (Oh, yes – 2014, and we have only broken one of the small plates since then. Still love that china, still use it every day.)

So, my daughter is moving on from eking out a small paycheck in doing the gypsy markets, to doing real estate full time, so what with Covid and the cancellation of practically everything, we aren’t doing many of the markets that we used to do. She is selling off the last of her stock of tiny origami earrings, and the knitted beanies and stuff… but she did have a notion that we ought to try doing homemade soap and scented candles, along with all my American Girl doll clothes … and we were able to score a lot of raw materials for the soap and candle projects through my Vine participation.

I made a decent profit on the doll clothes (which are mostly made from scraps left over from other projects), although not so much that I will make any more until the inventory draws down – and our big seller was home–made, hand-made soaps. We found some basic recipes and had the required equipment on hand – digital scale, crock-pot, immersion blender – bought the olive and coconut oils from Costco, the powdered concoction to make the lye solution from Amazon and tried it out. The basic recipes worked very well; I think that the only reason that crafters shy off from making soap is that the lye solution is genuinely dangerous and a bit scary, when one reads all the warnings … but we went ahead, put on the rubber gloves and the eye protection, and followed all the measurements exactly. With the result that we had some very pleasant and usable soaps, which sold like the proverbial hotcakes, packaged in little mesh bags from the Dollar Tree (soon to be the Dollar-25-Cent Tree, I believe) and priced them to sell … which they did.

We took Wee Jamie with us, and he behaved magnificently, just as he did last year. We took along the folding wagon, padded with plenty of blankets, and all the baby stuff, of course. He simply charmed so many people at the market, including a tall skinny teenager who mimicked him making faces and blowing raspberries, offering high-fives for nearly ten minutes … it was really most endearing. He’s an outgoing and endearing small child and loves interacting with people. Not a shy or withdrawn bone in his body. Another woman, especially charmed, asked if we could stay in touch with her – she would like to be one of Wee Jamie’s honorary aunties. He took a good long nap in the wagon around midday and generally behaved so very well. He was not cross or cranky at all during the day. I have plans eventually to dress him as Little Lord Fauntleroy in black velveteen and a Battenberg lace collar, so he can help me flog books. Best to teach them the craft early, you know…

My daughter went around and talked to so many of the other vendors, gleaning some rather dispiriting intelligence regarding their sales … well, we weren’t the only ones who didn’t make much. Her conclusion is that almost everyone is holding on to their money this year. We made bank on the soaps because we priced them considerably below what we have paid for similar at other markets. We have another market this weekend, this one in Starzville, near Canyon Lake, and then on the first Saturday in December, the long haul down to Goliad for Miss Ruby’s Author Corral, and Christmas on the Square, with Santa arriving, mounted on a very, very tame (possibly heavily tranquilized) longhorn steer, to the great acclaim of the crowd. I hope to have the print version of the latest Luna City installment available for sale at that event, but everything about publishing and printing slows down at this time of year. The ebook/Kindle version should be available within days, though.

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