Lessons Learned From A Recent Festival

I learned some valuable lessons from a recent festival.  It has been an extra raining Spring in Atlanta this year.  According to NOAA, we are at 204% of normal precipitation for the last 30 days.  Rain is not normally an issue since most festival style tents (ie, the 10X10 white ones) are water-proof, and most festival and farmers market events are held on either sidewalks of a local downtown area or in parking lots of the local county or city courthouses.  However, I recently attended an event that was held in a grassy area that had turned into a muddy swamp with all the rain.

Lesson 1. If there is a chance of rain, and you are in a non-hard surface area, bring some straw with you.                                                                                             Usually it would be a welcome change to be on grass since grassy areas are not heat islands unlike man-made hard surfaces, but when you have rain every day for a week straight, a grassy oasis can turn into a mud hole.  The solution to this problem is a thick layer of straw placed on top of the grassy (now muddy) area, and I assumed the event organizers would do this not only to protect the grass, but also in order to make the area safe (and nice) for their vendors and customers, but you know the old adage, “When you assume you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me'”.  So instead of dry straw, we had a swampy, slippery, muddy mess which caused many falls and lots of mess.  Luckily, some of the vendors who attended with a buddy or spouse were able to purchase straw and bring it back for us to sprinkle in and around our tents.  This also allowed the customers who were willing to brave the mud to get to us, a drier area to walk and shop.

Lesson 2. Bring a bag of kitty litter in case your vehicle gets stuck in mud or snow.                                                                                                                                  I saw many vehicles get so stuck in the mud that it required manually pushing them out. My own van got stuck three times, but lucky I only need help once to get it out.  Every vendor I’ve ever met has been extremely nice and helpful, and many stopped setting up their own displays to push stuck vehicles out of the mud.  Kitty litter is great for providing tire traction in slippery situation like mud or snow.  It’s inexpensive and easy to keep with you.

Lesson 3.  Have a backup means to transport your products, display, tent, etc back to your vehicle if the event’s organizers don’t allow you to drive in to retrieve your items.                                                                                                 Usually when a festival is over, vendors are allowed to drive back in to retrieve all their items.  However, if it’s a multiple day event, the streets may be closed until the event is completed.  During this event, the 2nd day called for extremely bad weather overnight through the afternoon.  Even though the organizers did not cancel the event until the next morning, I could see the writing on the wall (ie, the weather forecast was 100% chance of thunderstorms including hail, tornados, heavy rain, and wind) so I was not going to leave my stuff there overnight.  This meant I had to transport (on foot), my entire display, tent, and products back to the parking lot including my 200+ lb tent weights.  Thankfully, I always “borrow” my kids’ metal Radio Flyer wagon.  It can hold up to 200 lb, it making transporting everything on foot so much easier, and since I already own the wagon, and it’s small, it’s relatively easily to take with me even if I never have to use it.  Some vendors did not have any type of wagon or hand truck with them, so they were forced to leave their items overnight and walk everything out the next morning in the heavy rain after the event organizers deemed the area to muddy to allow in vehicles.

During all my years of doing outdoor events (4 years of weekly farmers markets and 2 years of festivals), I never been stuck in a muddy area before, but now that I have, I plan to be prepared just in case it ever happens again.

Small Business Saturday 2014

For last year’s Small Business Saturday, I focused on local & family owned business, and this year I want to focus on small businesses owned by women, and some of their supplies that really stand out.

Nurture Soap Supplies not only has beautiful cold process soap stable micas, but the owner, Carrie, has also posted a handy mica color comparison chart (in CP soap) on her site.  She has some really lovely pink micas.  Pink Lemonade and Fandango Pink really stand out as unique from the other pink micas I have.

Magic Rainbow-use NSS’s Fandango Pink,and Vibrance Green and & Orange.

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Patchouli-use NSS’s Pink Lemonade, Dazzling Blue, Sunshine Yellow, & Mantis Green.

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Mad Oils has something I’ve never seen any where else-Lemon Extra Essential Oil.  When I placed my last order with them, I was curious if it would smell different from Lemon 5 Fold, and they were kind enough to send me a sample to try.  I love folded Lemon which smells like lemon candy, but Lemon Extra smells like fresh squeezed lemonade!  I’m currently testing it CP soap, and so far 3 weeks later, it is holding strong.  I also really love their Bazooka Jo pink mica.  It’s a lovely pastel pink that is almost iridescent in CP soap.

Pastel Citrus Rainbow-uses Mad Oil’s Bazooka Jo mica

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Wholesale Cosmetic Pigments has the most beautiful white mica I’ve ever seen!  It doesn’t add any color, but it will make your other micas glitter like never before.  I’ve used their Glitter Pearl Mica in almost every Christmas soap I’ve made this year to add an “icy” effect to the colors.   I wish it showed up better in pictures, but trust me when I tell you I got a lot of “Oohs” & ‘Aahs” at the craft festival I did this Fall when customers saw how sparkly my soaps where this year.

Peppermint Stick-uses Wholesale Cosmetic Pigment’s Glitter Pearl

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Last, but not least is TKB Trading.  I had given up on using Titanium Dioxide in soap since no mater what I did, I got little white speckles.  Then I came across their Lip Liquid-TD predispersed in castor oil, and now I have white soap with no speckles!  I love this TD in castor oil so much, that I went through a 4 oz bottle in less than a month, and I reordered their 16 oz bottle to make sure I didn’t run out anytime soon.  I also like to use their Black oxide predispersed in castor oil to darken black and gray micas.

Mojito-uses TBK Trading’s Lip Liquid-Pigment White

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Remember to support your favorite small business, and thank you for supporting mine!

The Last Three Arts & Craft Festivals For This Year

This Fall is flying by so fast, and I’ve already finished my 1st four arts and craft festivals.

Here are the links and important info for the last three I’m attending this year.  Later this month, I will post the Christmas soaps I will be featuring.  I will also have a special limited edition Fall/Owl-o-ween themed soap and the last of the Fall and Jack-O-Lanterns available in the next few days in my Etsy store.

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Don’t forget to check my Facebook page for updates since I always post everything there first.

Owl-o-ween-Artist Alley
Oct 25th 4 pm-10 pm & Oct 26th  3 pm-9 pm
KSU Stadium
http://owl-o-ween.com/    &    http://vimeo.com/96622289

Chomp & Stomp
Nov 1st 11 am-6 pm
Cabbagetown Park
177 Kirkwood Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30316
http://www.chompandstomp.com/

Christmas in Lithia 
Nov 8th 10 am-5 pm & Nov 9th 12 pm-5 pm
Lithia Springs High School
2520 East County Line Road
Lithia Springs, GA 30122