I suspect the words “Stay tuned for my next post!” are the beginning of the end for many new blogs.
Such innocent words, full of hope and promise, yet capable of squashing creativity and muse under the weight of obligation.
“Today,” I say to myself, “I am going to write about…”
“Nuthin’ in my noggin…”
–Dory (Finding Nemo)
That said, I think my radio silence is not so much a lack of topics, but a lack of time. Hippie and I have a very very busy few months ahead. Festivals, two trunk shows, demos, classes -something nearly every weekend. I’m a rookie, so every event is packed full of lessons. There’s just so much to learn!
So, let’s just talk about that. Let’s talk about what I’m learning this year.
Our most recent 10×10 outdoor setup. Yellow Springs was the 3rd time we have set up as Hippie Doodle. Coming up: October 7-9 Kentucky Wool Festival, Falmouth KY; October 28-30 SAFF Asheville, NC / BARN F
Lesson 1: Boothing is hard work
Our last booth setup was A Wool Gathering in the very fun and funky Yellow Springs, Ohio. It was hot and rainy, but a total hoot.
I gave lots of free spinning lessons and worked the front of the booth like a carnival barker, while Hippie… what was she doing? Oh yeah, pretty much everything else. She did all the driving, all the mathing, most of the lugging of heavy things, and was the exclusive Reacher Upper and Getter of the Tall Things (she’s 5’10”, I’m 5’nuthin”). So basically, all the work. And yet I was exhausted.
My lesson? Step up your game, Doodle. Start working out. Hike up your big girl panties, and get in shape. Boothing is not for wussies.
Lesson 2: SCIENCE!
Zhuzhing verb. As in “needs more zhuzhing”. Tiny little adjustments to make a design perfect.
(Source: Mike West, as quoted in The Urban Dictionary of Design Slang, www.fastcodesign.com.)
You can’t put everything at the front of the booth, but where and how you display your wares matters. I won’t delve into the science of marketing and optimizing product displays (’cause I could), but I will say I think we did a much better job this time around. Our new layout worked well for a 10 x 10. It created a welcoming space that flowed well.
That said, we suspect the batts and bags fell under some sort of invisibility spell. Nobody looked at them. Not in a ‘meh, not interested’ sort of way, but in a ‘bags? there were bags?’ sort of way. Like they weren’t.even.there. We zhuzhed that side of the booth a few times trying to build interest, but eventually, I started turning my batts into the little fauxlags that were actually selling.
The Ladder of Invisibility. Bags and batts come here to live out their lives in peace and obscurity.
Isn’t it interesting where the Shopping Faerie chooses to wave her magical wand of fancy? This crowd was all about yarn, spindles, and rolags. The next crowd may be interested in batts, batiks, and felting.
My lesson? Keep zhuzhing. Every event is different and those tiny adjustments are part of the job.
Lesson 3: Keep channeling my inner carny
Let’s talk about Ray. Ray is a babydoll southdown (BDSD) sheep who lives on Four Hills Farm just around the corner from my house.
This is not Ray. This is a method actor I hired to play Ray. I like where he’s going with his portrayal, but I question his wardrobe choices. I borrowed his headshot without permission from his agent’s website at www.nabssar.com (Homepage of the North American Babydoll Southdown Sheep Association).
Last year, I blended Ray’s fleece with some nylon and with his GGF Jeannie’s long luscious mohair locks (GGF = goat girl friend. That’s all I will say as the family asked me not to mention their rather awkward love affair).
I love BDSD. I tell everyone how much I love BDSD. I love it so much, I have a standing order for Ray’s fleece. I love it so much, that one fleece is not enough. I have a standing order for the fleece of Lilly, a lovely white BDSD ewe who is part of the Bergamascos’ Babydoll Brigade® in Scott County, Kentucky. I love BDSD so much, I am convinced that everyone else should love it too! Surely, people know. Surely, they will clamor for it.
Right? Don’t you just clamor for it? People?
O.K. Lemme ‘splain. BDSD wool resists felting. Blended with mohair (what knitters used in socks before nylon), it becomes virtually indestructible! Like the Superman of wool blends. I blended it, spun it, knitted one beautiful sock, washed it in the washing machine, and air dried it (because I’m not handknit-sock-in-the-dryer brave). Then I waited. That sock was perfect. It didn’t shrink, it didn’t felt. I was pretty sure I was about to knock the proverbial socks off the fiber festival industry. Stand back folks, it’s about to get crazy up in here.
“See the Amazing Sock!” I barked. “Marvel at it’s unfelted glory! No more shrunken socks! No more holes worn through! Behold, Mother Nature’s Superwash!!”
I told everyone who came within ten feet of me at Yellow Springs. “Did you know? Has anyone told you? Are you aware?” And I sold one 4oz bag. That brings my total for the year to two.
Two people got excited enough to buy a bag of wool. Huh.
My lesson? Not sure yet. Perhaps I should give up. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is, no one wants your blend, Doodle. Suck it up and move along. Leave the BDSD at home and use that booth space to sell more sparklies and art batts. That’s one way of looking at it.
Or, perhaps it’s just because people don’t know. Yeah… maybe that’s it. They don’t know how incredible this wool is. They don’t know about the amazing feets (see what I did there?) of the mighty BDSD sheep. They probably don’t even know they want to spin sock yarn! And if they did, they probably wouldn’t know which wool to choose! Perhaps all they need is knowledge. The Magical Knowing.
What’s it going to take, People? For the love of Ray, what sort of sheep and pony show is it going to take to get folks interested in this wool??
I’m not giving up. Not yet.
I will continue to wax lyrical about the super-powers of this sweet-faced little sheep. I am the Lois Lane of the BDSD Super-sheep. The Johnny Appleseed of sock spinning. If you see me at an upcoming event, and I don’t mention BDSD, pinch me. And then say, “So, I was wondering. What fiber would you recommend for spinning my own sock yarn?”
Then stand back, because it’s going to get crazy up in here.
Stay tuned for my next po… Wait. Nevermind.