So much for weekly updates on my 100 day project. I’m still chugging away, but am in the home stretch. More on that later.
In the meantime, I’m here to share my summer chalkboard, and my annual Renegade haul. Hold on, it’s about to get real.
Reflecting on this list, the summer was overall a pretty great and adventure filled one. Highlights include a trip to the Dunes, Mathiessen, starting a monthly dinner adventure with Matt’s family (for my month I went to Dave and Busters for the first time), and a trip walking our feet off all over Chicago (chinatown, navy pier, and Wilco at Pritzker and taking the train home). Sadly, I also had a cloud hanging over me for half the summer. I somehow threw out my back just walking down the block, which led to me spiraling out with hypochondria where I wasn’t sleeping, had all consuming thoughts that there was something much bigger and worse than a thrown out back, and pretty much crying every day. Thank God for Matt, and prayer. I think hypochondria has a funny-haha, rep, but what I had this summer was no joke. I feel like it’s mostly to blame for me not wrapping up the 100 day project and working more towards larger goals. And while others may not have noticed, it kept me from fully enjoying many of the otherwise good times over the summer. After a bunch of Dr. Appts., that aren’t quite through yet, I’m through the woods for now.
Previous Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!
Onto my Renegade Haul
This is, HANDS DOWN, my smallest haul I’ve ever had! I bought 3 things, THREE! A Chicago dog enamel pin from The Found (that I’ve had bookmarked on my wishlist for a long time), a tiny ceramic bud vase, and I went in halfsies with my sister on a caramel, pear and blue cheese pie from Justice Of the Pies. It’s sad when you bring a wad of cash, and you are ready to drop it at this event that you look forward to all year long. I was overall unimpressed with the booths. Of course, many of the good standbys were present, my old favorites, but I’ve already purchased things (sometimes, many things, multiple times) from them in the past. The new to me booths just did nothing for me. In fact, I realized when I got home that I had only picked up 2 business cards the whole time I was there. Normally I come come home with a dozen or more, from business that I want to look up later, and possibly shop from online. The things that I love and look out for at Renegade, are often real grass rootsy, hand made-y in the truest sense, DIY passion projects. It is a “craft show” after all. What I saw was a lot of instead was very professional, super polished small businesses with refined, almost gallery like booths and displays. When the items in your tent look like they could and may be purchased in high end jewelry or furniture stores, it kinda loses something for me. If I wanted to shop in those kinds of stores, I’d do just that! Later I did find several booths literally already have store fronts, not just items in stores, but own brick and mortar shops for their products. There’s also something kind of intimidating about entering a small booth, when things are so fancy that you are afraid all the products are well out of your price range, and you are afraid there is judging going on from the booth attendants that you are not one of their “target customers”.
It got me thinking.
We’ve been going to Renegade for over 10 years and the DIY and Indie movement has been going strong that whole time, BUT it’s growing up. Should I be sad when someone makes the leap of passion project to going BIG TIME? Of course not, I should be, and often am, happy for their success. But I guess I’m just wondering, for a booth at a craft show, is it really required to make your brand so “sophisticated” that the aesthetic matches the looks of big commercial and mass produced aesthetic, that you lose all originality and uniqueness? AND, even if the displays, logos and overall atmosphere of an indie “booth” are refined, does it mean that your products also have that same look and are no longer edgy or pushing the envelope, but instead just pretty generic and safe? Where are all of the imperfections? I love the imperfections! Maybe it comes down to what the “masses” want. I know I’m not like most people. I don’t watch the Bachelor, or Housewives, I don’t care what Kim or Yeezy are wearing or saying, I don’t want everything I purchase to sparkle, but it seems I’m in the minority. Maybe the small businesses that are having the most success might be the ones who are churning out the most easily digestible products and produce work that the masses want? OR is the general commercial consensus leaning more towards the indie aesthetic? What are your thoughts?
Previous Renegade Craft Fair posts