Things have been unexpectedly difficult this summer down at the Port of Los Angeles. Record heat, infrastructure problems unforseen, some ups and downs with staff, parking issues, people not opening their booths up on Fridays, even local crafters and people in the community who almost seemed like they wanted to see us fail. I’m not gonna lie about these things because they’re all there to be seen if you read our Yelp reviews or certain blogs and it seems to me that saying, “la la la everything is perfectly perfect!” is, frankly, disingenuous. It’s not. We are, the project and the businesses inside of it, a work in progress and it hasn’t been perfect. It has not been a cakewalk. Not for the vendors OR for the staff and management.
100+ artists and creatives in a warehouse, all summer, in record breaking heat, dealing with unforeseen stresses, all those creative temperaments and personalities. You do the math.
It’s fairly exciting math.
Now we’re almost through the first 6 months and a lot of re-evaluating is going on. A few of the vendors have made the hard decision to pack up and go. It’s a bottom line thing, or a “this venue doesn’t fit” thing, for the most part, and not without a lot of conflict and sadness on their part. I’m sad they are going, but, I get it. One of the hard things about being a small business owner is having to make the tough decisions. Every bottom line is different, but you can’t ignore yours, whatever it is.
So that brings me to mine.
I am staying. Signing on the dotted line for another 6 months. I have no idea what those months are going to look like, but Honey&Ollie will be there to see them.
I have SO much faith in this project.
I can’t tell you that every booth will be full at Crafted for the holidays this year and I’m sorry about that, obviously I’d hoped they would be. I hope that doesn’t keep you from coming down to shop with us. But here’s the thing. Ignore those empty booths, please. MY booth will be full and SHirlee from Enchanted Chic will be holding down her half of the Night Market. Delia will be there with Phoenix Magyk. Debbie of Jungle Bee. Karen will be there with her Paradise Preserves jam (each one is made with Love!) and so will the marvelous Deborah of Artistic Rite. A lot more people are staying (I just haven’t talked to all of them) on at Crafted, through the holidays and beyond. Plus there are upcoming new vendors, 3 this week opening their own doors, for the first time. I mean, think about that for a second… 3 new brick and mortar stores, small creative businesses who would not have this opportunity otherwise. How AMAZING is that? I can’t wait to walk over and welcome each one of them, because they are rock stars and oh so very brave to be trying this.
We are all brave. Because we walked into this with no guarantees. And we took the blank canvas that the owners and developers had left us, and we built it into something amazing.
And we built in and worked hard, are still working hard, and we are still there.
All of us who are staying are holding out, having a little more faith, staying a bit longer, and working with the very capable staff of Crafted to make this the most amazing crafty destination in Southern California. The next time you walk into Crafted, I hope that you look at each booth with new eyes. Each one represents a micro-business, an artist and businessperson with the guts to take a huge gamble. I don’t know about the other artists but everything I have is invested in my booth. In metal, wood, infrastructure and time. When you walk in my booth, I am pretty much sharing everything I have with you.
Seriously just the sanding and building and all the trips to Home Depot and the hours and hours of work before we opened, that’s blood sweat and tears right there.
When you go to a place like Crafted, even though right now it’s still growing (sometimes painfully), even though right now, no it’s not perfect, or 100% full, you are not just going to any normal retail shopping center. You’re not just buying a pair of earrings or a knit hat or a tee shirt. You really are supporting someone’s dream. A lot of dreams. A lot of livelihoods.
When you buy Deborah’s earrings, you are helping her elderly cat get fed.
When you buy Delia’s necklaces, that’s tuition.
That jar of jam in Karen’s booth? House payment.
If you bought one of Jen’s rings this summer? You helped her get married.
If you buy earrings from Honey&Ollie, that means that the real Honey and Ollie get premium cat food and vet care and a warm house to live in. And, um, more ice cream.
That’s why I’m staying. Because at Crafted I am surrounded by people like that, doing what they love, and putting it on the line. And that’s why, this holiday season, I hope you come down to Crafted and enjoy it for what it is. An amazing work in progress, that is just getting better and better with time. Full of amazing people and incredible artistry.
People like me. Art like mine.
Hope to see you there soon.
Oh… and parking is now free on Fridays. Whether you’re a local or not, if you come down on a Friday, you park for free. So I hope you join us, if not this Friday, then next! It’s gonna be great.