There was a lot that was really gratifying about exhibiting at the homeschool conference; actually selling my notebooks and school supply pouches and my “Stitching the States” kits was a real thrill! The work it took to put them all together was enjoyable and definitely a learning experience, so on those grounds alone, it was a big success.
Of course the people who came by and didn’t purchase anything far outnumbered the actual customers, but that’s OK. Some folks came by with a “I’m-looking-for-that-one-perfect-middle-school-medieval-history-unit-study-multi-media-pack-for-my-auditory-learner-son-who-also-needs-to-work-on-his-sentence-contruction” look on their face and I knew to just greet them with a smile and a nod and nothing more.
Thankfully I had an embroidery hoop in my hands a lot of the time (very handy for occupying my idle hands and wandering mind during those stretches with minimal shoppers, when my nervous anxiety would bubble up despite all my best efforts to keep it in check).
People who came by to look seemed genuinely tickled by the project kits, which was cool. Whether or not it was right for their kids was beside the point, they appreciated the idea and the kits and that meant a lot to me. In fact one of the other vendors in the room came over to me during a lull to check out my stuff. She didn’t buy anything but was very positive about it and had idea after idea (after idea!) for ways I could alter and expand my products. She was fun to listen to and gave me a ton of food for thought (and also made me realize how narrow my thinking was, oops…thank you Ginger for talking some sense into me!).
It’s also been fun to see the conversations from conference attendees on Facebook, I definitely feel like a fly on the wall when I see comments like “Oh, I saw that table, neat stuff!” One thread about my maps spurred a request for me to offer a solar system kit, and what I great idea! I’m excited to get started on that.
Which made me realize that what’s most satisfying about this new venture is offering things that are genuinely helpful and interesting and fun for families to do, whether they’re homeschooling or not. I’m thinking of expanding on the map idea, offering various kinds of maps and maybe in different forms besides wall hangings. And over the years I’ve done several literature-based art quilts with the kids and I’m pondering over how to offer that experience to others.
Also, I don’t want to limit my offerings to just fabric-related things (shrink plastic, anyone???) or even just to school-related projects. I’m thinking creative retreats for moms, fun and attractive organizational tools, possibly online courses that combine creativity and organization, and more… but I’d love to get input from you.
What is it that you’d like to see me offer? What topics, subjects, skills, projects, courses, resources, etc.? While it was gratifying to hear people appreciate the map kit (oh so gratifying!), I most want to hear how else I can help – what can I offer you that will enhance your creative experience with your kids, or your own creative goals?
The sky’s the limit (solar system on my mind, clearly), so speak up and I’ll see what I can do!