Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Colchester Tag Sale on the Green 2010 - How it Went

My booth this year, complete with new table runner banner, new shelving unit, and the suncatcher that wasn't catching any sun... :)

The Annual Colchester Tag Sale on the Green went well this year, with perhaps the exception of the weather. With the constant threat of rain, overcast skies, air laden with humidity, and dark clouds rolling through to the south (in the direction of Norwich, CT), the crowds were a lot less dense than the previous year, when I recall driving past the town green and being unable to see through all the people walking around. There was little that could be done about it, but I was happy for the opportunity to meet new customers and browsers alike from the local area who don't participate in the Society for Creative Anachronism, or otherwise did not find me previously on Etsy.

Overall, I didn't do too great, but I didn't do terribly, either. For me, this was more about the opportunity to showcase with other local businesses, than the actual sales angle. I was truly happy to be there, my neighboring merchants (sundress vendor, the Tai Kwan Do academy, TD Bank, a woodworker, and a small crafts / framing / etching booth) were equally pleasant, and I think I even saw my neighbors walk by at one point.

My other 'fairly there' choker went to a good home, two of the pairs of celtic knot earrings I had made just the night before also sold, and the jewelry certainly stood out in style from 5 other jewelry merchants scattered through the green. Overall, it was a mixed bag of vendors - anything from t-shirt resellers, to local businesses like the gazebo and shed company, to the crafty sign business in another row, and fruit vendors. You can get a good idea of exactly how diversified we were by visiting the Colchester Business Association's website photo gallery of the show, here:

I think the only issue of real concern is the integration of the true tag-sale / garage sale stalls mixing in with the crafting stalls, and the advertisement in the Colchester Bulletin's article aiming this at bargain hunters. I am sure the gazebo business, and many other local merchants, would disagree with this tact, despite the fact that yes, there were bargains to be found among the traditional tag sale / yard sale booths. My jewelry, as with other artisans present, is handmade by myself, with materials that contain glass, metals, semiprecious stones, and crystals - quality that measures up to the price, despite the fact that I am still told my prices are too low. Just the same, I think it may be best to give the artisans present their own showcase, and segregate them into a separate area of the green, mixed with the other local businesses (Tai Kwan Do, Zumba, Cheerleaders, Garden Club, Fruit vendors, etc...) while the customers out looking for strictly tag sale items could find their merchants easily enough.

Or, perhaps the Colchester Business Association could consider hosting another event, i.e., a craft show... The Colchester Historical Society already sponsors one of those, however, the CBA does a good job of representation of its members' businesses... and I may consider joining, after this. Annual memberships are $80.00, I think, and the price includes seminars, and discounts at other members' shops. It bears some looking into.

As for whether or not I'll return for next year remains to be seen - it all depends on the date of the next one, and how my business is doing before that date. I'm fairly certain I'll do tons better at Great Northeastern War in Hebron, Maine, next month. There'll be different and new items offered at that event, plus it's merchant-heavy to the SCA's themes.

I'm looking forward to getting together with a bunch of friends there, including Freya, a friend from far-off Canada, and look forward to seeing several new faces there, too. Here's to hoping for better merchanting ahead, as the summer marches on!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Colchester Tag Sale on the Green!

Less than 12 hours before the opening of the annual Colchester Tag Sale on the Green - and this will be my first year participating in it as a vendor. I've got a bit of a case of nerves, mostly because I've seen just how *packed* this event gets... and at the same time, I'm pretty excited. The weather forecast has been shifting back and forth between varying types of rain, but I don't much care - the event is HUGE, bigger than the SCA events I've merchanted at.

This whole week has seen me making whatever new jewelry I can, especially tons of new earrings and as many hair sticks as I can make. I have a new tablecloth banner now, thanks to the miracle workings of Suzee at Golden Crossings Embroidery, here in Colchester. I am just floored at the quality of her work, and will be going back to her shop for future embroidery needs, as well as recommending her shop to friends. I am so glad I chose her shop for the banner!

Setup starts at 6:30am, and all vehicles need to be cleared off the green by 8:30am. Since we live a mile from the town green, the only possible issues I forsee with getting to my little plot is possibly in waiting in line at my entry gate, Gate B.

IF YOU PLAN ON COMING.... Parking for visitors will be at the middle school, with shuttle buses running every 15 minutes to and from the green. Vehicles parked for the show at Noel's Supermarket, Colchester Federated Church, Colchester Shopping Plaza, United Auto, or either side of Hayward Ave, Norwich Ave, and Main Street will be patrolled by the police for parking tickets. Seriously, park over at the middle school.

From everything I've been told, this show is one of the oldest running ones in Connecticut. Rain may impact the crowds some (about 1/3 less people from what I've been told), but it doesn't stop attendees from coming in. Plus the local businesses join in on the fun, usually with sidewalk sales lining Main Street near the green. Overall, this is one of the biggest attended events in Colchester, and I really hope everything goes well. Even if the weather is going to be stubborn!