I had my first big show of the spring season on Sunday. Somehow we all worked together in this house to pull it off. There were countless late nights of last minute stitching, buttonholes, applique-ing and merchandising all while trying to keep up around the house and maintain the happiness of a 16 month old. We have a system, and it's very chaotic, but I feel blessed to have a patient husband who deals with skipped meals, more diapers than usual and cleaning out my bug and packing all my stuff in there (thanks, hubby!)
This was my third time vending at this particular show. I went as a shopper for the first time in 2008 and I fell in love. I was absolutely inspired by it all. I had just quit my job the week before and I knew it's what I wanted to do. My husband encouraged me to stay at home for a bit and work on what I wanted to do. For the longest time I felt like it was so silly. When people asked what my husband did for a living he could say proudly "I'm a nuclear engineer" and when people asked me what I did for a living... I really didn't know what to say. My husband would always say "she's an artist!" but I didn't feel like one. It took me a long time to find the confidence to make the ideas I had in my head and put them up for sale.
So a few years later, I'm really proud when people step up to my table and ask how my little girl is doing because they've seen her on my Flickr account, or they tell me they got one of my famous Christmas ornaments as a gift, or that they've seen my Etsy shop and loveee it! I would give something away to everyone who said that if I could. That's how happy it makes me. I love that I have a brand now, and my shop is recognizable even when I don't have a sign that says "The Cupcakery" on the front of my table. That makes me feel like I've done something right!
A customer came up to me and said she had always wondered why I named my business The Cupcakery. This is a fun little story I can't wait to share with Emma one day. When Thomas and I got married, we lived in the smallest little apartment right across from the engineering building on VCU's campus. It was under 400 square feet. It was brand new when we moved in, and while most people called it their dorm room, we called it our home. It was so very tiny though... we only had room for a loveseat that sat probably 3 feet away from the TV, and for our first Christmas together we had to take down our table for two (literally all you could fit at that table) to make room for a tree. We disassembled the table and slid it under our bed and put our tree up and... oh crap. Ornaments. We didn't have any! and we were poor. We didn't really feel poor because we just got married and were so in love and who cares if you're poor?! So I went to work. I made cupcake felt ornaments with hot glue and pom poms and hung them on our tree. My husband said "those are really neat! I haven't ever seen any like that before! You should try to sell some!" and so on November 17th 2007 I started an Etsy shop and named it The Cupcakery so I could sell my felt Christmas ornaments. and the rest is history. :)
It was much easier to craft before having a baby, but I think I've actually gotten more accomplished since Emma was born. I feel like she's made this all important. I want to surround her with all of the beauty and creativity I can find. I want her to develop a stronger confidence than I ever had. I want her to see that great things can be accomplished with patience, love, ideas and your two hands. When people ask me what I do for a living, I get to say mommy, but I also get to say "I have a little boutique and sell things that I make" and I'm really proud to say it. My family has worked really hard for me, and it wouldn't be fair to them if I didn't take pride and joy in what I do.
It was a great show. It was the best spring show I've had to date. I had great customers, great feedback on my new stuff, got to see crafty friends that I haven't seen since December, and walked away with some incredible inspiration. I'm hoping that will carry over until next month, because I have my first out of state show in Maryland and I have some restocking to do before then!