I still have faith. I’m still here. It’s going to be amazing.

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.

Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles

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.

sunset

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.

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HOopeningfull

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.

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.

HOgirlroses

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.

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About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
This entry was posted in Crafted at the Port of LA. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I still have faith. I’m still here. It’s going to be amazing.

  1. sallyhoffman says:

    Good luck, you beautiful artists!! You really put this all in perspective – buy from an artist, pay a bill, feed a pet, clothe a kid. That’s what it is all about and I wish I lived in your area because I would come down on Friday night and visit you!!

  2. The Lab Rat says:

    Good job, Rain!!! I hear you about the hard times, the struggles, the heart-ache and doubts. I think any growth is stressful – fear, uncertainty. But you need to try, in order to succeed. And you will succeed! As will your friends who keep trying and keep faithful. I wish I could come visit Crafted and the wonderful talents there! Maybe road trip next year πŸ™‚

  3. Bjo Trimble says:

    Dear Lady, you are showing a great deal of faith and courage to stick with a new idea. Crafted is a start-up concept and those things are never totally successful right out of the chute. Those who don’t understand this will constantly try to catch the next rainbow. And the next. And the next.

    Stick with the rainbow you have in hand. It can and will work out if you hold on and keep at it.

    A fine example is the LA Metro system. The first few months, the cars to and from my area had maybe 4 people in all the cars. It was pretty discouraging. But there was nothing the Metro could do but keep at it. We took a ride from Sierra Madre to Little Tokyo yesterday, and all the cars were crowded. It just took awhile for the public to catch on that they had an easier way to travel than bucking the crowded freeways in their own car. These things take time.

    People either follow a major Internet fad or they just have to learn that something terrific is here. My suggestion would be for everyone who is staying at Crafted to make YouTube videos. Keep making and posting them. Soon people will start looking for them, and wondering why they aren’t coming to see the artisans in person.

    Put something on Facebook that we can “like” and share on our own pages. If you already have this, I apologize. We’ve had several cases of Real Life lately that have kept me from keeping track of such things.

    Also, never underestimate the power of your own blog, specialized lists and – though most people have forgotten about this – your own postal mailing lists. Now is the time to send one of your charming letters out to everyone. I mean everyone. Add photos. Add a map to Crafted. I know what I’m talking about here.

    Good luck, and keep at it. John and I will come down and see what’s going on as soon as we can. Look for a handsome gray-bearded man and a short, dumpy freckled lady on the shady side of mumble-mumble. — Bjo Trimble

  4. Marilyn says:

    Good luck with the next 6 months. It is such a great concept. I even told my cousin and his wife to come by there as they live nearby. They weren’t aware of it, but hope now they come by. Hang in there!

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