Going into the fourth year of business I've finally realized that my time has value. When pricing cost of goods, planning my season of craft fairs and festivals, I have decided to not just brush aside the cost of travel that eats up my calendar.
At the time I shrugged and said I would sleep on the ferry or the side of the road (in my van). I would stay up late at a night market and drive at 6am the next day to another market, to then hop on a ferry to another craft fair that weekend.
Example of a typically hectic weekend last year
I would be physically present at the markets, but not mentally or emotionally. I would zone out, not want to talk, let alone sell. Resentful that sales weren't what I expected, after putting myself through all that.
I noticed folks who were interested in my products, looked for the effect on me and got scared off. My hair was frazzled from sleeping in my van. Skin blemished from eating a bag of chips and a snicker bar for dinner on the road. My teeth brushed, face and armpits washed in the public washroom. Dead eyes from setting up and taking down the fourth market that week saying the same few lines a hundred times.
"Do you want a sample of moisturizer? It contains lavender, calendula, nettle and comfrey...."
They'd look me up and down and with a polite smile make an excuse to leave the booth.
"Well, we just arrived, so we're going to take it all in first!"
"Oh, my wife has my wallet."
"I've lost my group I better catch up."
"I don't want to carry it around all day, I'll come back on my way out."
It was devastating to think of the fees of the ferry, diesel, travel meals and market costs and not make much profit after all of it. I also drastically felt the cost of my energy and value of time.
My weekly schedule was Sidney Thursday night market, Nanaimo Friday morning, Salt Spring Saturday or a weekend craft fair or festival, the odd Sunday Ladner Market and part time work Monday, Tuesday, then try to catch up on it all Wednesday, and start it all again the next day.
It came to a point in November where I realized, after 8 months of 14 hour days, 7 days a week, with only a handful of days off- I couldn't work any harder. If something fell behind I shrugged it off because I knew I was doing my best. But I don't want that to be my best. I was burnt out, on edge, and the only end date in sight was Dec 24th.
Now, I'm planning my next season. Crossing of craft fair after craft fair with a mantra of, "Not worth it." Relying on the stores I got into (now up to 17!) to sell for me, instead of trekking all over the province myself. I also want to focus on online sales.
So, if you want to see my less hectic schedule this season, check it out here! If you want to order online do so here. Thanks for the support everyone! Feeling optimistic about this upcoming season.