Virtual Vending

Recently, I had the opportunity to vend at an online witchcraft conference. The Critical Thinking Witch Collective (formerly SASS Witches – Science-minded, Agnostic/Atheist, Secular, and Skeptical Witches) held their annual CritWitchCon at the beginning of October this year, and when I saw on Instagram that they’d be having vendors I was immediately interested. I’ve been following them for a while, and love their approach.

The con is held in a Zoom room, with breakout rooms to offer the kind of hangout space an in-person con has in the hallways. There’s a Discord server for the convention (think instant messaging but there are a bunch of different channels where chats happen), with channels for each presentation, various topics, and for each vendor. The vendor fee was pretty low and included a ticket to the con, so I figured it was worth a try.

I’m so glad I gave it a shot! There are quite a few things to like about my online vending experience:

  • Watching the presentations while also vending. I kept my channel open in one window and the Zoom in another, and so was effectively in the vendor room while also attending panels. Not something I get to do at most cons!
  • Zero commute. I vended from the comfort of my home office. This removes the biggest source of vending costs for me – travel expenses. (no joke, even for local cons there’s gas and time, and for out-of-town events there’s hotel room, parking, etc etc etc).
  • Easy setup and teardown. I didn’t have to haul inventory, set up tables, load a vehicle, etc. I cleared my desk a bit and tided up the parts of my office that would show on camera.
  • I got to be on a panel! There was a brief vendor panel that was even more fun than I expected. It was fun to talk a little about my biz and gave attendees a chance to see me a bit.
  • No con crud concerns! A big deal these days, and the reason I’m not vending in person yet. I’m chronically ill, so I have to be extra careful about covid. But nobody was in my room but me, so it was totally safe on that front!

There were a few less-than-great things:

  • Attendees couldn’t handle my books. This is easily the most important thing for my little biz. Photos don’t do them justice, and the quality of material and construction are much easier to see in person vs. online.
  • Fewer chats with attendees. One of the things I miss most about vending is chatting with folks about books! I had my Discord channel, but it was pretty low traffic. It’s hard to look friendly and easy to talk to through a screen.
  • I wasn’t sure how best to promote myself in the Discord.  This being a brand new thing for me, I had almost no idea what I was doing. 🙂

Overall, though, it was a very positive experience! I have a few ideas for things to do if/when I get to virtually vend in the future:

  • Do a demo! One of the things that’s great about in-person vending is that people get to see me working on books. I posted a few photos in my channel, but doing a proper demo would probably have made more of an impression. Even just a little video stream in my own channel (though having time in the main Zoom would be amazing)
  • Do a raffle/giveaway! Getting more of my books into the hands of folks who can appreciate them is always a good thing.

Many thanks to the organizers for this fun opportunity! I hope to vend with y’all again soon.

Poppy Farm Fair 2012!


So, this weekend was my first ever time vending at a craft fair! Check out my lil’ table there.

The venue was the Lusardi Building at San Pedro Square Market, and the Native Revival Nursery folks organized and ran things. Things were a little chaotic as we were getting set up, but once the fair got rolling, it was great. Lots of people came through in spite of the rain, including a bunch of my friends! Yay! Thanks again for coming, y’all!

I got a ton of compliments on my books, and sold almost a dozen! This was way better than I expected to do, and enabled me to not only cover the cost of the table and materials/labor for the books I sold, but also the cost of the materials I got to prepare for the fair as well! And have a little left over! WAHOO!

This was also the debut of the amazing poster I got from Calyx Design about how I make my books! Very exciting! Richard even did a post about it explaining the process a little. Very cool! He was amazing to work with, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. Seriously, if you need a designer, work with this dude. He is AH MAY ZING.

Anyway. Here’s the poster in action:


Above it are three demo books showing different stages in the process, so I could give a more detailed, hands-on explanation for the curious.

Let’s continue the tour of my table, left-to right! Here are some of the books on display:


I got a little basket for the pocket notebooks:


And of course there were even MORE books on display around it:


Then there was my mailing list sign up (you can sign up too, just use the little form in the right-hand column of the blog!). I also, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, set up a book people could write in if they felt like it.


This turned out to be genius — people loved the feel of the paper, had fun thinking of things to write, and in one case it literally made a sale — a very nice lady who only uses fountain pens was skeptical that the paper was thick enough for the ink to not go through it, so I invited her to try writing in the test book. When the ink did not, in fact, go all the way through the paper, her whole face lit up and she spent quite some time choosing a book. She also signed up for my mailing list and took a card. I think I’ll be hearing from her again!

Plus, people wrote some really nice things in the book:



It was a great experience overall. I also brought lots of materials (you can see my punching cradle and laying press on either side of me, as well as some in-progress text blocks), and got a fair bit of work done. Win all around.

I had a lot more fun than I expected — the day flew by (helped in part by a couple friends who came and helped me so I could do things like eat and run to the bathroom!). I’m still tired two days later, though — I had a very busy Saturday and wasn’t rested going into the fair, and then the fair itself took a lot out of me. I have to remember to do more self-care before and after next time I vend!

Speaking of which, it’s looking like I might be doing a mid-week craft fair next week at a local school — sign up for my mailing list and you’ll be the first to get the full info.

I will be Vending at the Poppy Farm Fair in San Jose THIS SUNDAY

So, y’all may have noticed that I haven’t been updating about NaBoBiMo much. There’s two reasons for that. The first is that it’s become pretty clear that I can’t maintain my day job and my health AND hit the 30-book-mark by Friday. Realizing that was kind of demoralizing.

The second reason, though, is super exciting! I’m going to be vending this weekend at the Poppy Farm Fair! Preparations for that have kind of eaten up the time I would be using for NaBoBiMo.

Notice for the Poppy Farm Fair

If you’re in or around San Jose this weekend, come on by and say hi! This will give you a chance to actually handle the books, and to see my spiffy new informational posters.

I’m really excited about this. I’ll have all my NaBoBiMo books (well, the ones that are ready to go, anyway) with me, plus the ones currently listed in my Etsy shop. I’m also going to have a swatch book and custom book order forms, so if you want a color/pattern combo I don’t currently have available, you can order it from me! Pretty exciting.

I’ll be accepting cash and (if my Square account behaves) credit cards. Depending on the power and wifi situation, I may also be accepting PayPal. I’m a flexible gal, especially when people are trying to give me money! 🙂