Selling Pillows at the Seattle Street Food Festival – Part 1

I’m still recovering from my big pillow sale last weekend.  The house, inside and out, is still a wreck from it all, and this is what my work table currently looks like:

Pillow Sale Aftermath

But it was all worth it!

I haven’t written a blog post since The Beach because for the past few weeks, when I haven’t been doing my web development job, or doing the kid thing, I’ve been spending every spare moment getting ready for my first big craft sale at the Seattle Street Food Festival.  It’s been a lot of fun – happy work that doesn’t pay by the hour, but makes me excited seeing it all come together, dreaming of the possibilities. I’m not exactly a pillow mogul yet, but I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

The festival/sale was last weekend, August 15th and 16th, and on Saturday morning I woke up at 6 a.m. with a big old nervous knot in my stomach, and for the first time I doubted myself. This is food festival! I thought, and people are coming here to buy food, not pillows.  What, are they going to grab a hotdog and a beer AND a pillow? What was I thinking?? Well, typical me, I really wasn’t thinking when I signed up for it; it all just kind of happened, like life does.

Last March, when I applied for the Urban Craft Uprising‘s June sale, I checked the box that said I’d also like to apply for the Urban Craft Market at the Seattle Street Food Festival.  A few weeks after getting rejected from the summer sale, I got an email that I had been accepted to the Street Food Festival in August.  Okay, I thought, that works well for my schedule and gives me more time to get ready.

After getting the news, the first thing I did was plan my inventory.  I had no idea how many pillows I would need, but decided I wanted to have at least ten of each pillow. That way I would also have plenty of pillows to sell on etsy and at other sales.  So I created a spreadsheet, wrote down what I had already, and figured out everything I needed:  fabric, zippers, piping, etc. Then I shopped, then I washed and cut and ironed all of the fabric, then I did my silk-screening, painting, stenciling, etc.

Ironing

Painting

Silk-screening

Drying

Heat-setting the ink

Cutting and prepping

Then I contacted my sewers.

There was no way I could sew eighty-some pillows myself, but fortunately, a while back, I found two talented people that could sew for me, doing a way better job, especially with those pesky invisible zippers.  And, fortunately, they both said they could sew forty pillows each in time for my sale.  I can’t tell you how great it felt when I got my pillow ingredients off to them finally, and how even more thrilling it was when I got the completed pillows back from them.  I had two new Wizard of Oz pillows – the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion to join the Tin Man, and new fabric colors and contrasting piping for my ‘Words to Live By’ pillows.  I loved them!

Wizard of Oz Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion Pillows

While the pillows were off being sewn, I got busy with my display.  I borrowed a table from my neighbor, bought a 10′x10′ tent on Amazon, spray painted some baskets I’d found on the side of the road that had a ‘free’ sign on them and a wire bread rack I found on craigslist.  I got some burlap from JoAnn Fabrics to cover the table, some fake fur from IKEA, and Todd made a great pillow backer for the table out of our old broken down fence.Then I got some business cards and a couple of signs printed out at Fedex/Kinkos. Everything was coming together.

Back Yard Prep

So Fashion Pillows

On the Friday before the sale, much needed rain came to Seattle, and all day and night we had crazy thunderstorms and high winds.  Yikes!  Not good craft fair weather! Thankfully everything cleared up by Saturday morning, and when Todd and I got to South Lake Union, in his truck loaded with my display stuff and many many garbage bags full of pillows, all was dry and just a little overcast.  Perfect street festival weather! I had a great spot between a lady selling shortbread and a couple sellling meringues, and across from a lady selling fuzzy monsters and a guy selling specialty mustards.  Fun!

It was so nice having Todd’s help because not only did he provide the much needed muscle to get the tent up and the truck unloaded, but he has a really great eye for displaying pillows.  Who knew?  And in about an hour I had a booth I was really proud of.  I still had my nervous stomach, but the booth looked great I thought.  And at noon I was open for business.

Okay, here we go!

So Fasion Pillows at the Seattle Street Food Festival

To be continued…

5 thoughts on “Selling Pillows at the Seattle Street Food Festival – Part 1

  1. OMG! I can’t believe you left us hanging!!! Mean! Very Mean!! I want to know how you did! It looks so fabulous!!!!

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