I had so much fun today! Today I went with my friends Kim and Lenny down to Ballard to a couple of trendy furniture stores, to take pictures of my pillows on their furniture, and I loved how they looked on all of those beautiful couches and chairs. I am so thankful that my friends went with me, because not only was their help and their feedback invaluable, but because with them I wasn’t nervous at all. I didn’t doubt myself or feel like I was imposing. I just had fun.
I wrote that on Friday afternoon, just after the photo shoot, and I didn’t have time to finish writing it, so here’s the rest of the story…
I need five great photos of my pillows to submit with my application for the Urban Craft Uprising, a big craft fair taking place at Seattle Center at the end of June. The deadline for application entries is March 27th, but I don’t want to wait until the last minute, so my plan is to get the application in by the end of this week – by March 20th.
I’ve never done a juried craft fair before, and this one is a biggie, so a few weeks ago I had a $30 “Application Consultation” with a girl who works for the Urban Craft Uprising, and it was worth every penny. To prepare I typed up some answers to the application questions, and then brought along a few pillows and my laptop to the meeting. At the consultation she told me a lot about how they choose the vendors from hundreds of applicants, and clearly the most important thing for getting chosen is good pictures.
She said that the first step of their judging process is to look at a slideshow with all of the pictures from all of the applications, and decide from those pictures either “yes”, “no”, or “maybe.” If you get a “yes” you’re in; if you get a “maybe” then they’ll look at your application to help them further decide. So I showed her the pictures I had on my Etsy site, and she wasn’t impressed. She suggested I take some photos of my pillows on actual furniture, and suggested I try Digs in Ballard. She never looked at my application answers.
That afternoon, on the playground after school, I told my friends Lenny and Kim about my consultation and they immediately and enthusiastically volunteered to help me. “We can hold up a sheet in the background for you!” “I have one of those thingies that bounces off the light!” “I can borrow a really good camera from my husband!” Wow, how nice was that? So I enthusiastically accepted their offer, and even though I was happy for their help and gear, I was mostly excited about not doing this alone.
So I went to Digs in Ballard and talked to the owner about the idea and he said, “Sure! People have done stuff like that here before. Earlier in the day would be better.” Then I went to Camelion Design and spoke to a woman there and she also said “Sure, no problem.” So nice! Both shops seemed truly happy to help. I was getting excited.
Next I went through my pillow inventory and decided which ones to bring. I decided to make three new ones with brand new designs; one of which I sewed up fifteen minutes before it was time to leave for the big shoot. Then at 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning, I packed up my car, picked up my friends, and took them out to breakfast – a sort of pre-payment for helping me out.
First we went to Digs and the owner was so nice, and the space so dreamy – gorgeous furniture and accessories, beautiful hardwood floors, and lots of room to move around in. My friend Kim borrowed a super-fancy super-expensive camera from her husband and she started snapping away, totally in her element. We were there for almost two hours, and the owner had no problem with it at all. (I need to bring him a nice bottle of wine.) Lots of customers came in and they just walked around us. We rearranged furniture and blankets and vases, and tried the pillows out in all kinds of combinations. So much fun!
I even took the opportunity to ask the owner what he thought about my pillows – the quality, design, and price range, and he said they were great and thought they looked really well made and in a good price range. He said pillows over $100 don’t sell well. My range is $40 – $75, so that was encouraging.
Next we were off to Camelian Design where there is a lot of beautiful furniture and accessories packed into a not-that-large space. The colors and textures were amazing, the lighting was excellent because of the sky-lights, and I loved the way my pillows looked on their stuff. The lady that worked there was super nice and also very encouraging. She wished me luck, said she loved my pillows, and that she wants the Tin Man for herself. (I’ll have to go back if I decide to sell retail!) It was just the encouragement I needed, and when we left the store I was on Cloud 9.
Recently I read (and loved) Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. She’s a musician who got a lot of flack for raising $1.2 million on Kickstarter to fund the recording of her new album. In her book she talks about how hard it is to ask for help, or even to take help that is offered, but that when we do, people always step up; people are usually happy to help because it shows that you value, appreciate, and trust them. When you let people help you, not only do you get the help, you strengthen your connection. You grow the love.
I totally believe that, because that’s exactly how I felt about my photo-shoot day with my lovely, talented, and generous friends, Lenny and Kim. Not only did I get their invaluable help, but I got their love, support, and encouragement, which in turn boosts my faith and courage, as I continue on this crazy pillow path I’m on. The shop owners too! So so nice and so helpful. Lucky me!
Here are a few of the pictures from the shoot. (Isn’t it cool the way I call it “the shoot”?) I’m not sure yet which one’s I’ll pick to submit. Suggestions?
Please wish me luck on the Urban Craft Uprising application! And let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. For now, here are some lyrics to get stuck in your head, to remind yourself to (give and) get a little help from your friends!
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends