Christmas Market #1
What hurt the most was how I put our entire lives on the back burner for eight weeks preparing for the Christmas Market season. Husband was so patient with the disaster zone that became our flat, he cooked meals nearly every night, built my wreaths a display, and helped set up and take down the inventory three different Saturdays. This is most definitely not how a man wants to spend his weekends.
Christmas Market #2
I'm not sure why the Christmas wreaths did not sell here in Germany. I did my research comparing similar handmade wreaths on Etsy and Dawanda for pricing points. Each wreath took me nearly 4 hours to complete and the cost of my time plus materials created a price point that might have been too high for some shoppers. In the chain stores, I saw wreaths made of plastic material, mass produced in far away lands, with prices not much cheaper than my individual handcrafted yarn wreaths.
The yarn wreaths for a few years now have been popular in the States. As I watched shoppers pass my booth I noticed people's eyes widen as if this was a new concept here in Germany. Many said nice compliments, took my Mainly Maren business cards, and seemed genuinely interested. These wreaths are a craft that anyone can create but... Who else has done this? You are walking around a craft show and make mental notes in your head of all the ideas you are going to recreate when you get home. And? What happens? The day ends and the crafts never get made.
The week after my last failed Christmas Market, Husband and I flew back home to the States. I packed our suitcases full of German chocolate, mustards, and about 8 Christmas wreaths. I am sure TSA thought Mrs. Claus was flying Lufthansa that day. I wasn't joking when I told my family and friends "Everyone is getting a wreath this year." Everyone got a wreath.
I'm not sure if my mom just told me how wonderful my wreaths are because she is my mom and has to, or if she really does like them. Regardless, after three unsuccessful Christmas Markets I became burned out crafting wreaths in my free time. In fact, I have not spend any time on crafts over the past three months.
My mom opening one of her Christmas gifts.
That is until Friday when a coworker asked me if I was still "doing my crafts". I told her no and felt a little bit of sadness come over me.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
I don't particularly enjoy wrapping yarn around Styrofoam circles but the arranging is always the most interesting to me. Perfectly situating every piece, looking at where the items should go, and coordinating the colors together was and is the part I enjoy.
A Breakdown of some items used.
So...Saturday afternoon I spent four hours creating my newest (and only) Whimsical Wreath of 2014.
Inspired by the rainbow.
The theme and goal of Mainly Maren is to "Make Life Beautiful". While my Christmas Market experience at first left me feeling a total burn out, in the end I was able to find beauty. (After a three month break!) I found the support of Husband, family, and friends encouraging. It took courage to plan, prepare, and act on an unknown area. Even more so in a foreign country! I now know creating individual wreaths is something I enjoy as a hobby and will continue doing in my free time...at least for my momma.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow,
I am so sorry to hear that you felt so low after the Christmas markets but don't forget, that the market here in Munich is difficult! Although I sell my craft online reasonably well, the Christmas markets did not work for me either. I like your work, keep it on!
I think the markets are so hit or miss. It has to be the right time, good weather, perfect location, and shoppers willing to buy. I might try online sales someday if time allowed!ReplyDelete
I am a friend of your mother-in-law and I absolutely love reading your blog - especially about your trips - and your craft ideas. I love your wreaths and am so sorry to hear they did not sell in Germany but hope you will continue making them when you return to the States. I am sure you will find a market for them here.ReplyDelete