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Vending at Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco

Two years ago in December, I had my first Renegade experience. It was my first encounter with the event of its kind – an enormous gathering of hand-made, crafty artists showcasing their phenomenal and creative products. The very event not only inspired me to create the lens pillows, it gave me ideas of potentially setting up our own booth (how dangerous.) Consider the amount of traffic I saw at the first event, thought it’d be a great way to kickstart our products here in the Bay Area.

After a few months of planning, we pulled the trigger. Signed up and prepped for the 2 day long endeavor of pitching our handmade pillows to a bunch of SF locals.

↑Morning started early. For a Saturday.

Bigger than ever, this time it took place at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. With more than 220 artsits competitors showing up for the grand showdown of handmade goodies.

↑There’s Kev, Christine, 60% creatives, 35% artists, 3% hipsters, and 2% others.

Lots of vendors here used wood as their setup.

Some brought fake cats.

We had frames. Quite a few of them.

I did the pinning. It’s more life-threatening than it seems.

Kevin steamin’ it away. Bye bye crease.

Christine detailing the our cut-out logo.


Quick math:
Door opened at 11AM and closes at 7PM.
-For the vendors, these are 12-13 hour work days.
2-3 hours for the initial setup. 8 hours of standing around the booth greeting and flattering every potential buyer. Then, wrapping things up, double checking the inventory at the end of the day.

-A full booth is $400, half booths are $200. Consider a hypothetical situation where a vendor sold $800 worth of products @$40 a piece.

$800 – $400(booth cost) – $8×20(cost per product) – $100material and setup fees = $140 (profit.) $140 for two 12-13 hour day = $140 / 24hr =  $5.8/hr. Word?

I saw many familiar faces at the fair, they must have made more than my hypothetical equation. Good exposure, I suppose, but how many visitors actually remember their products after an event? Clearly, most of us weren’t here for profits (though, profits would be nice), but for the things that we love.

Christine made us badges.

Getting pretty crowded.

By the end of the day, my camera strap hook gave in. You’ll be missed. Good thing I was kneeling down to pick up some things when it happened. Otherwise, my camera would’ve been missed, too.

Michelle brought her dogs:

They’re the models for the pillows. Photogenic, indeed (For the scouts out there, Mini’s easier to work with. Shining just require quite a bit of treats.)

Clearly, it was our tactic to get cute kids into our booth.

From observations of day 1, many of the passer thought we were either selling dog toys, frames, or picture attachments (?) To avoid any confusion, here’s version 2.0 of our booth:

During the downtimes, Kev, Christine, and I took turn checking out the brilliance of other DIYers. Here are some of my favorites:

Phil & Acer from Genuine Stolen.

↑One of the most creative set up. Perhaps, the most convenient as well. Two-level, decked out bike trailer equipped with all the necessary elements for a mobile booth.

Kitty Baby Love, adorable booth that sold crayons in shapes of kittens.

Too use.

Maltese hipster?! Too bad the print job wasn’t as good as we hoped for.

Woolbuddy‘s doing it big! Seeing them at every DIY craft show.

In particular, I had my eye on Jacky’s wool Leica:

and of course, by default, the fish looking zebra.

Michelle digged this graphic very much. “My city is better than your city” by Papa Llama.

Hand drawn charms.

Meat lovers? No problem.

Best SF out there:

Apparently, lots of fashionistas around the area as well.

Aside from selling and buying things, I got to meet a bunch of cool folks from across the States. Never thought a craft fair would turnout to be a social gathering as well.

Bob from NY?! I worked with him on this design a few years ago. The entire communication was via email. Never met and never thought I’ll ever meet this guy, then BAM:

Adam Hendle, coolest dude I know. He’s got 8 million things on his plate, yet he’s able to balance his time just right to handle all of them smoothly. Mad respect for the guy. And just in case you didn’t know, he’s the man behind IAMTHETREND.

Gino, a SF (East Bay) based photographer and his lady, Kathy. They’re the reason we made the Nikon, Canon combo vday tees.

I met up with a ton more friends at the fair, but my clumsy ass never snapped a photo together. Thank you guys for coming out to support! 🙂 ( I rarely put emoticons in my posts unless I really mean it.)

That’s a wrap of the two day event. Again next year?

-Benson|| Twitter || Facebook || 365. || Shop of Imagination ||