Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My SJ Made Milestone

I originally had this post titled as "I Survived SJ Made" and realized that it was a little silly for me to have a title stating that I survived because it wasn't a life threatening event.  After some reflection I've decided that it was more of a milestone in my life.  With that said, this post might be a little bit longer and not like my previous blogpost, so I have to say thank you for putting up with me and continuing to read my posts.  I'm going to ramble a little bit in this post and talk about what I feel in my heart.  Jenna from White Rabbit Photography posted on her personal blog this week an open letter to her readers.  I guess you can say it inspired me, and this is my open letter so please bare with me while I speak/write what's been on my mind.

**Warning** This blog post is looooooooooooooooong.  I wanted to split the post into two, but I also didn't want to wait too long before posting my experience review so here it is all in one long post.

It's been 7 months since I was laid off from my corporate job and at the beginning I have taken a month or two off from actively searching for a job to enjoy the holiday season, but other than that I have always been searching job listings, twitter posts and utilizing any other career networking channel I have available to me.  And here I am still unemployed.  It is a very very very depressing feeling.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed because I have such a wonderful support group made up of my family and friends (more on that later) but there are times when I can't but help feel a little saddened by the fact that I still cannot find a job with my experience in today's job market.  When I originally started blogging it was to keep myself distracted and busy learning new things.  An opportunity to find myself and work on becoming a better happier me.  I had the opportunity for continued learning/education but I didn't gravitate in that direction. Instead I gravitated towards building my crafting and creative skills.  This is what made me happier.  Right before my event at SJ Made I read a guest post on Blogging it Forward by Anita Boeira about some tips from Peter Shankman.  One quote in particular caught my eye:

My last job had things I loved about it, but also more things I hated than loved.  I never imaged myself at a  desk job doing the mundane things in life.  I love communicating and working with others.  I also had a knack at being organized and putting all the puzzle pieces together as a project manager.  But I wasn't doing what I was passionate about and I wasn't having fun at work every day.  I worked hard at that company for 5 years and there were multiple times at the early stages with that company when I would call my mom and sister to cry and complain about how unhappy I was and I just wanted to quit.  Every time I got the same response from them telling me a job is a job and you have to just deal with it, so I dealt with it and in the end the job was the one that let me down.  So when I saw the quote I felt like it was talking directly at me.  It made me understand that things happen for a reason.  You always read it in books, hear it on TV, but let me tell you, when you experience a moment like this for yourself it has a lot more meaning.  

I always figured I would have a job that makes me happy in life and it would be doing something I love or am obsessed about.  (I'm still hoping for that Disney dream job =)).  But being unemployed I have realized how crafting and sewing really makes me happy and it started to make me wonder if there's a career in this somewhere for me.  So when I originally saw the email that SJ Made was looking for vendors I jumped on the opportunity to be a vendor.  Leading up to the event I never got bored of what I was doing and loved seeing my crafting projects come to completion.  The day before the event (and not to mention hours before) I started having butterflies.  I was so nervous about failing and not selling anything.  What if people hate my products?  That when I took a break and browsed the web to find Anita's blog post.  This quote got rid of my butterflies.

I'm doing something I love and I'm taking a step outside my comfort zone.  And now that the event is all done with I'm really glad that I did it.  I encourage everyone to have fun at their jobs and also to take a step outside their comfort zones.  If you fail  you're not really failing because you're still learning and growing as a person.  My time at SJ Made wasn't a financial success but it was a great place to start, gain experience and make new friends and grow a greater appreciation for the ones I already have.

So now for my review of SJ Made.  :)

As I stated earlier I was really nervous about the event.  I was really happy that SJ Made selected me to be one of their vendors but at the same time a little bummed that it was for Thursday night and only for 3 hours.  But I figured it's the perfect place to start so I was more than happy to have the opportunity to sell.  I had sent an email out to all my friends telling them about my wonderful opportunity.  Those that were not able to be there with me for the event came over and helped me put together my DIY kits and gave me advice about selling.  (Huge thanks Dr. T)

On the day of, my boyfriend helped me set up my booth and stayed with me for about an hour before he had to leave for a work meeting.  I wouldn't have been able to carry everything and do the set up without him.  <3  I was really bummed out that he could not be there with me the whole night, but things turned out really well because I wasn't ever left by myself at the booth for more than 5 minutes.  :)  (Like I said, amazing friends and family came out to support me.)  Also, I made a new friend Amanda of Floral Charm who is super friendly and not to mention way talented!

We had 1 hour to set up our booths/which were really just a table & space for 2 chairs.  The night before I was going back and forth about how to display  my pillows and decided that I would use my own ottoman.  I figured it's something that has a touch of home and the pillows can pile out over them.  It turned out a lot better than I thought, and I'm so glad that the table was able to support the ottoman, otherwise my table design would have gone out the window.  So with the table all set up, before I knew it the show was starting and there was no turning back.

Cute little business card holder.

Custom Hats for sale

DIY Jewelry Kits

Ottoman overflowing with pillows!

Proud owner of my booth space!

About 15 minute minutes before my boyfriend had to leave, another friend showed up, and after that they just kept on coming by to say hello.  I was making any sales but I did have a lot of people walking through interested in my pillow designs and stopping briefly in front of my table to take a peek.  If anything, I handed out a lot of business cards that night - which isn't a bad thing.  At one moment I felt really anxious and nervous all at once and I just wanted to crawl and hide, but thankfully I didn't.  My friends kept me company, helped make my booth look busy & interesting, bought me dinner, covered my table for me to allow me to walk around and check out other vendors and most importantly they kept me smiling all night.

And not to mention, they helped me stay classy!

About half way through the show I made my first sale! 

 To whom?  A friend, of course.  I made 2 other sales that night and they were both to friends as well.  :)  I can't thank my friends and family enough for coming out to help me experience my first vendor experience.  I had so much encouragement from everyone and non stop positive feedback.  I even got a compliment telling me that my pillows looked "legit" which made me laugh.  

At 8pm on the dot the organizers of SJ Made came by and asked us to clean up shop.  About 10 minutes before that I was walking around checking out other people's SJ Made goods and making light conversation with everyone.  I wish I had more time to chat with everyone and take some more pictures, or do some shopping of my own, but I guess that'll be saved for another time.  My friends helped me clean up shop and drive everything home <3.  Just as quickly as the vacant building space became lively, it was quiet again.  It was indeed a mini start up shop.

Overall it was such a great event and wonderful experience.  I didn't sell a lot of items but on the plus side I now have a ton of inventory for my Etsy shop and I learned a lot.   I also felt like I was walking on clouds at the end of the night knowing how much my friends and family cared for me and encourage/supported my crafting endeavors.  Crafting & sewing have now been added to my list of things I'm obsessed with.  I've always been a fan of putting together costumes and making nifty little trinkets, but now I just can't get enough of it.  So now if only I can land a job at Disney crafting I'd be an extremely happy camper!  In the meantime I'm going to emerse myself in activities that make me happy & doing what I love. 

If you made it this far definitely pat yourself on the back.  :)  Thanks for reading. 

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