Now My Ego Can’t Sleep

12 Oct

Back after some long hours hunched over my polymer clay beads trying to work some magic. I have struggled for the last few years to start my jewelry business. It would be an understatement in any part of the known universe to say that it’s been easy. There has never been any money to invest, but we have invested. There has been a “how much time can I spend working the clay and mixing colors and struggling to make interesting canes-while trying to keep a modicum of order in my house and a family happy” kind of issue. Not for either my son or my husband, but for myself.

The bottom line seems to be that in order to do as much as I think I should  do, I have to be home-maker by day and artist/artisan by night. It’s not: “Have gun/will travel” for me. It’s rather: “Have coffee/will create”. The problem is even during nights when I have “nothing” to do, I still stay awake in bed creating in my mind, so active, so loudly, so crazy I will not go to sleep. My mind keeps going on and on this loop that has each idea begetting another and another… it’s like an episode of LOST!

The last few weeks I spent sleepless nights either working or worrying over the looming date of October the 8th. I had come across a street “fair”, the kind where a group pays to have a piece of street closed off during much of a day to have an assortment of nondescript vendors set up camp and sell their stuff  -from food to clothes to used bric-a-brac to cheap plastic jewelry. I have been dying to go back to the years when I sold my home-made candles at craft fairs in Puerto Rico. I was a happy artisan back then. I even had a licence from the government that certified me as such and allowed me entrance as a legit seller at craft fairs all over the island. Back then scented candles were only available at department stores or through catalogues. So, when I found myself jobless and in need of something to help me keep my head above water I taught myself to make candles at home with very little expense and after taking some baby steps one thing led to another and I ended up on the local tv crafting show teaching a little bit of what I knew and advertising my workshops.

But this is not PR, this is New York City. Every bit of paper costs you if you want something to be legit (my Puerto Rican government issue artisan licence cost me nothing) so when I found myself at that street fair in Washington Heights, I took a shot and asked around. A very nice lady explained what I had to do and even gave me a written invitation to their next date, one which I could take to the proper authorities who would give me -for a very small fee, mind you- a temporary street fair vendor’s permit to be able to participate at the event. All well and good. I did all I had to do, in a very short amount of time I went, paid my ten bucks for 30 days worth of permit and came happily home, carrying an ID card permit thingie. They say the devil is in the details, right? Well, my own little devil had snuck in through the tiny detail of what I had to pay the nice lady who gave me the invite. The fee for participating in the event was $130.0. I gave her a 30 bucks advance and she secured a space for me, all of 10 feet by 10 feet.

It is more than understandable that I could not sleep, I had tons of stuff to do, I had lots of ideas to put to work, to try out before going. But I hadn’t done this in ages. I was so ignorant of all the basics, just as if I were doing this for the first time. And, I did not have any money for all the minutiae that comes with setting up “camp Madre Luna”. Anyone who reads this who has ever done any kind of selling event will pee in their pants laughing if they saw my pitiful set up. I just did the best I could. Honestly. I know that, my husband knows that, even my 6-year-old knows that. But my poor, wounded Ego has no idea. Frankly, I feel like shit. I am definitely thankful for the pieces I sold (all of 10), I am thankful for all the people who stopped by and looked, and looked, and looked and praised my work as original, as unique, and then strode on their merry way on to my neighbor the handsome Asian selling cheap chinese plastic jewelry. There were two very lovely ladies who stopped by and did not only compliment my work, they bought multiple pieces… after I lowered the prices so they could actually take more than one set of necklace and earrings. Oh! Price, that’s another joke. I price my stuff the way I was taught by my Mom -who has had home-based businesses of one kind or another all her married life- actually, the way anyone with a pulse would price their stuff: you add your investment in supplies to your time and the amount of work you put into it, not to mention taxes if you have to. Well, my jewelry is more than fairly priced, it takes into account competition and placing. So, I went even lower considering the competition and the place… I made $100.00. 30 bucks short of what I paid for spending the day on my feet doing the little “come see/come buy the goods” dance we all have to do.

It was definitely an experience. My dear half orange tells me I have to think about it this way: we paid 130 dollars for a workshop on how to sell in this kind of scenario. I know he’s right, even little Otto knows it, but my poor stupid Ego just won’t let go of its pain. So I will try to go to bed tonight (technically it’s morning, last I saw it was past 3:30) and sooth my Ego with memories of craft shows past, tell him (cause it’s a stubborn little man this Ego of mine) that everything will be all right, that my art is beautiful, that my pieces are one-of-a-kind, that each bead is unique and that next time it will hurt less and we’ll sell more.

Another thing to add to my list!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you: the polymer clay jewelry workshop I had up on MMW has been closed. I decided to start showing my craft right here for free for everyone who comes to read, and laugh and commiserate with my poor, poor Ego. Watch out for this next few days, just to see what happens, Ok?

For now, the fat lady has sung and is off to bed at… at 4:39 a.m. Shit! My husband’s gonna kill me for not sleeping… again!

Blessings, Love and Light!


P.S. I promise pics from the show next time…


6 Responses to “Now My Ego Can’t Sleep”

  1. Lisa Cousineau October 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Oh Edna, I have to smile at your humorous writing style, but I commiserate with you about your journey. Yes, look at it as a learning opportunity. This was your first time (in NYC at least) and next time you will know what questions to ask. Maybe street vending isn’t for you. Everyone I know who has done craft shows and art shows tell me that they rarely make the money back they put in. Think of it as more of an opportunity to get your stuff out in the public, give away business cards, get your name known in your town, get your experience on your resume. Then hit the boutiques and galleries with your long list of “experience” selling at art shows. Good luck sweetie, and be kind to yourself. It will come.

  2. Robyn Couillard October 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Love and light to you – I am proud of you for stepping out and putting your art and yourself out there for all to see (especially in NY – eep – that can be a tough crowd!). I know it stings (ok, it hurts and really sucks) – hopefully this is just a launching pad into something amazing. You are am incredible force of creativity – keep going!

  3. Ande October 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    awww Edna! I have to be honest with you… I have wanted so badly to do art/craft shows (I am a avid attender of them) but I fear stepping out of my comfort zone and being as strong as you for fear of utter failure and humiliation.You are so brave to have taken that step, no leap in NYC! WOW! I’m sorry that it was not as much of a success as you had hoped but like you & everyone else mentioned it was a learning step and you can share you experience with us (and help the skiddish ones like me) learn in the process. I did research fairs and shows in my area months ago and come to realize its an expensive process!! In my humble opinion it isn’t exactly fair to charge as much as some of these places do, its a bit ridiculous! I hope you find peace in the ed-venture you just experienced, because you are wonderful and this show does not define you or your art as anything else but AMAZING!

    P.S I can’t wait to see your future blogs =)

  4. Celeste Collazo October 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Dear sister, read tis carefuly. I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

  5. Jorge F. Collazo Vélez October 14, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    Querida hermanita, de negocios no hablemos, vivo ejemplo de caculo boca arriba es tu hermano que ha tratado de todo para sobrevivir. ?Conejos? de los que llevaba 100 para entregar y no los compraban y de regreso tenias el almuerzo porque en el viaje se morian por lo menos quince. o las máquinas de cortar grama que nunca salió a flote porque las ganancias se iban en alimento de conejo; y mas moderno la venta de computadoras que te ganabas $100.00 en un sistema y los viajes por garantía se chupaban la ganancia y por fin los rótulos que las ganancias de ese se las chupó la UPR. Lo importante es no sejar pa’trás ni un dieciseis y mantener el sueño vivo, que es lo que a su vez nos mantiene el alma viva. recuerda que en los puertorros desde el LAMENTO BORINCANO esa lucha la llevamos en los genes. Sabes que te quiero mucho,


    P.S. el mensaje de Celeste está bien lindo pero no se si es por la velocidad pero aclarame se escribe tis o this?

    • Edna October 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      todavia me estoy riendo y llorando de la risa con esto, Jorge! Los amo un monton y me hacen mucha falta. Gracias por tu humor, le voy a tener que decir a Fico y a Celeste que regresen para leerlo. Osvaldo no lo ha visto todavia.
      Un abrazo grande a todos.

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