Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November Boutiques in St. Paul, MN Area

Craft show season has arrived!  Here in the Twin Cities, November is the busy month for craft shows.  They're everywhere--schools, churches, VFW's, community centers.  I love going to craft shows!  There is always such a great variety of stuff.  Last weekend was sort of the kick off of shows.  I had a booth in one in Rosemount.  There were close to 80 vendors and a lot of shoppers.  It seems people are watching their pennies this year and seemed to be more interested in practical items and not just decorative things that sit around and collect dust.  They also weren't very interested in high priced items.  And surprisingly, I didn't sell a lot of dish towels or dish cloths.  Headbands/earwarmers and scarves were popular. 

I was impressed with the quality of work and interesting items available.  There was one thing that bothered me, however, and I'd love to know what people (both vendors and shoppers) think.  There was a table which had earwamers similar to what I make.  I looked at them and picked one up and asked the seller what kind of yarn she used.  She told me that she didn't make them.  It turns out they were commercially made and she just resells them.  There were also a couple of other vendors who were selling the sock monkey and other animal hats, and their hats were commercially made in Nepal and China.  But none of these vendors were making that fact obvious.  You had to look closely at the tag on the item to see the "made in Nepal" label or ask.  I'm afraid many shoppers thought they were buying handmade items from local sellers.  Does this bother anyone else?  I always though of craft shows as just that--people selling their handmade crafts.  I've gotten used to the Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware and other such vendors, but their product is obviously not a handmade craft.  And I understand that some shoppers prefer to buy those types of products at a craft show instead of a home party or home consultation.  But the hats and such are more bothersome to me because it's not obvious that they aren't handmade by the person selling them.  They're the same item you could go to your local store and buy.  Would it be wrong to have these sellers clearly post that they are reselling a mass produced product and are not selling something handmade by them?  Or do we not care if it's handmade or mass produced?

There are 2 more shows coming up which you should check out if you're in the Twin Cities area.  Saturday, November 12, the Eagan High School Band Boosters is sponsoring a holiday boutique at the high school from 9am-4pm.  On Saturday, November 19, Faithful Shepherd Catholic School in Eagan, MN is having their holiday boutique from 9am-3pm.  Both are always great shows and have no admission charge.  Each has a concession stand and a raffle.

There's also a big craft show going on at Canterbury Downs the weekend of November 12.  It charges admission, but I believe it's a great place to shop.

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