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San Francisco's Favorite Craft Fair

Interview with DameStar Baby

November 20th, 2008

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

DamestarBaby is the work of two stay-at-home moms. Amy does the painting and designing, Jaime does the paperwork and puts the word out, propaganda-style. We both sew amid the bustle of our homes, which are filled with the high-pitched squeals of little girls and the guitar-playing of their papas.

What are your favorite crafts and how did you first get involved with crafting?

We sort of dabble in it all when it comes to crafting: a little knitting here, embroidery there, dollmaking, claybaking. I think our favorite crafts are the ones our kids make when imitating mama’s, they sort of take what we do and run with it in their own way. The appeal of handmade, for us, is that little bit of imperfection that makes each piece its own unique work of art.

We first got involved in what we do because Amy’s paintings were piling up and they were just too good not to share. Then she caught a kind of sewing fever that has no cure, and that’s where we are now.

What do you like best, coming up with ideas or executing them?

For Amy, it’s coming up with ideas, for Jaime, it’s the execution. That, among other things, is what makes us a good team.

Are you super organized or messy?What does your workspace look like?

Everyone has their own organizational system, but we’ll go ahead and admit that our fabric is rarely neatly folded and our sewing tables are in the living room. Super organization and children don’t really mix, see.

Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business?

We’ve always planned to grow our business into a mom co-op type collaborative. We’d love to give other stay-at-home moms the opportunity to add a little butter to daddy’s bread, like we do. And of course, we intend to keep dreaming up and bringing you ever more awesome kidswear.

Our website is, which has links to our blog,, and our shop,

Crafty Business Questions: Preparing for Craft Fairs

October 12th, 2008

This is my first craft show.  What do I need to bring to make sure I’m prepared?

After participating in several craft fairs I have compiled two checklists: the must-haves, and the nice-to-haves.  The amount of stuff you can bring from your nice-to-have list depends largely on how much booth space you’ve got and how much room your must-haves take up.  **Note: this list is for indoor fairs only.


  • Craft fair info. Includes directions, rules, and booth location.
  • Inventory and inventory list. Bring a variety of more and less expensive products, and bring as much as you can fit in your booth–I have run out of inventory at really busy craft fairs.  Write down everything you’re bringing to sell and how many you have at each.  This will allow you figure out exactly what you’ve sold.
  • Change. I recommend $200-$300 in small bills.  I break it down as follows: 12 tens, 10 fives, and 30 ones.
  • Cash apron. Forget the big, black cash box with the lock.  It’s awkward and heavy at a fair.  You can make a cash apron from scrap fabric (I made this one–it’s just rectangles), or you can get one from your local hardware, craft or office supply store.  Some things labeled “tool apron” or “craft apron” will also have pockets that work.  For those wanting a more fashionable cash apron, LuluKnits sells a tutorial for this gorgeous little number.
  • Tablecloth. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be long enough to cover the top of the table and hang down long enough to hide the messy pile of boxes and bags you’ve got stashed under there. I’ve been using the same $1.99 plastic green tablecloth for years.  Stay away from fabrics that show dust or dirt easily, that aren’t machine-washable, or that damage easily (like velvet or velour).
  • Helper. This is so important, especially during holiday fairs.  You will need someone to help you set up and man the booth while you eat or visit the restroom.
  • Business cards. Customers, store owners and members of the press who visit your table want an easy way to find you again.  I go through a couple hundred business cards at each fair so bring a lot.
  • Credit card slips. If you sell anything over $10, I highly recommend you set yourself up to accept credit cards.  You can use tools like Propay or Paypal rather than a monthly account (more on this in a later post), but you do need something official with which to collect information. An imprinter with sales slips are best (you can get one with 100 slips for about $25 online), but you can also print your own order forms–just make sure your customer still receives a receipt with your contact info on it.
  • Receipt book. Good for keeping track of what you’ve sold and for taking custom orders or orders that will need to be shipped.
  • Cell phone. Use in case of emergency or to call in credit card authorizations.
  • Signage. Anything your customers should know should be posted in big letters, from your business name, to your prices, to the fact that they get a free button for signing up on the mailing list.
  • Display materials. Again, it doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to work.  Things that make merchandise vertical (i.e. visible from a distance), such as hangers or small easels are great, as are a couple of strategically placed spotlights.  Small shelves or boxes help to separate lots of small items, like jewelry or wallets.
  • Packing materials. Newspaper and old supermarket bags are fine.  It’s free and good for the planet!
  • Energy bars and water.  If you’re super busy (and you always hope you will be), you won’t have time to eat that pasta salad you packed.  An energy bar fits beautifully in a cash apron, however, so you can sneak bites here and there.
  • Emergency kit. Containing tissues, aspirin, allergy pills (if you get allergies), band-aids, breath mints and hand sanitizer. Also pack any emergency medications you may have and an emergency contact number.  Exchange numbers with your helper.
  • Fix-it supplies. This should include at the very least: paper, cardstock, pens, permanent marker, masking, clear and duck tape, string, scissors, and anything you might need for your particular wares, such as needle-nose pliers, glue, price stickers or a sewing kit.
  • Business license and seller’s permit. It’s the law, folks.  Copies are okay.  You can leave the originals home.  More on this in a later post.
  • Comfy shoes. At a busy fair, you’ll be standing all day.
  • Extra clothes. Sometimes it’s freezing at the fair.  Sometimes a customer spills soda on you.  You know.

Nice-to Haves:

  • Media kit. Packet of photos, bio, press clippings, line sheets or order forms, etc.  To give to the occasional interested member of the press.
  • Lunch. Whatever you can eat quickly and with as little mess as possible is best.  Raw veggies, crackers, etc. are good.
  • Camera. It’s nice to document the event and your booth set-up, especially if you have a web site or newsletter.
  • Gift wrap. Tissue paper or small jewelry boxes are good.  Keep it fast, easy and cheap. Customers  appreciate not having to wrap gifts themselves during the holidays, but you shouldn’t lose a lot of time or money on it.
  • Lint remover. Especially good if you have a dark tablecloth and/or a cat.  Tape works in a pinch.
  • Hand truck or fold-up cart. The skinnier the better, to navigate narrow doorways or aisles.  A godsend when the parking lot is really far from your booth.
  • Board with mounted press clippings. Nice if you have room on your table.
  • Laptop. Depending on your fair’s set-up, you may be able to bring a laptop to show customers a more extensive catalog, or to accept credit card payments online.
  • Chair cushion. As my high school Economics teacher used to say, “The mind can absorb only what the seat can endure.”
  • Music player. Make sure to check the rules with your fair coordinator(s) about this one. Keep the volume low enough that you can converse with customers easily.
  • Craft Supplies. Great for downtime and for luring customers to your booth.  People love to see the magic behind your crafts.
  • Wholesale order forms and/or price lists. For the occasional interested store owner.

What other items are you glad you had at your last craft fair?  Do you have a crafty business question you’d like answered?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

By Biz Miss

Interview with Elaine from Audelaine

September 22nd, 2008

Elaine Rogowski’s work is inspired most often by forms found in nature. She draws and sews, makes stuffed animals, ornaments, bags, pillows, potholders and paper goods. At the top of the list of favorite subjects are birds, bones, rodents, and sea creatures. She is an artist and natural history afficionado who likes to make both decorative and utilitarian items.

Elaine of Audelaine is certainly a girl after my own heart. Nature documentaries! Squid! Endoskeletons! She will be vending at the You Bazaar! in SF November 2nd!

I love that “birds, bones, rodents, and sea creatures” are your favorite things. Where do you go to get inspiration about those things? Are you also mad fan of the moldy oakland museum of california natural history section?

I’ve always loved forms and shapes found in nature. I’m obsessed with structure, so endoskeletons and exoskeletons fascinate me. I guess my interest started during childhood but really became full force when I started studying biology and zoology in my senior year of high school and first 2 years of college. I love all natural history collections, anywhere and anytime. I can’t wait for the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to open!

What are your inspirations in your daily life that you use in your art too? Can you talk about your personal creative process? Which part is your favorite?

My daily inspirations come from walks outside, and watching people interact with each other and with nature. I’m always listening to people’s conversations and watching how individuals react as life unfolds. I like to draw with mechanical pencils and black ink pens. I try to do so at least one hour per day, more if possible. I tend to draw birds, skulls, and insects most. Lately I’ve been drawing more owls than anything else. I like taking walks with my daughter around our neighborhood and exploring local flora and fauna. Late at night I also watch nature documentaries that I’ve recorded on DVR. I love learning about nature and science. I also check out books from my local library on different animals, plus I have my own collection of science and nature books and magazines at home. I guess you could say I’m a pretty big nerd.

I noticed you dabble in all sorts of art and craft. Does that run in cycles for you? Sewing one month and then drawing another, etc?

It does run in cycles, though I try to sew at least once a day. I have so many ideas for new projects that I start many but have trouble finishing them all!

I’m always interested in other peoples work habits and work spaces. Do you set specific work hours for yourself or work when you’re feeling creative? Are you super organized or messy? What does your workspace look like (include pictures if you like!)? What kind of sewing machine do you use?

Well at this point there’s no way I can say I’m not a messy worker. I have stuff all over the place in various stages of completion. With a 2 year old running around the house I have trouble setting specific work hours so I usually end up working sort of sporadically throughout the day and then later at night after everyone else is asleep. I use a portable Elna SP to do all my sewing. It’s pretty simple and reliable, though I have no idea what year it was made. I also recently inherited an older Kenmore machine (probably 1960’s?) in a cabinet that looks pretty good but I need to have it serviced before I put it to use.

Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your art/business?

I hope to put up my own website within the next year to further showcase my work. Right now keeping up with my Etsy store is about all I can handle, plus trying to do more local craft/art shows. I am working on possibly collaborating with 2 other fantastic local artists but not sure when that is going to come to fruition. Hopefully some time in the next 6 months. Until then I’ll keep plugging away in my own little nook.

What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?

I like to play with my daughter and our 2 small dogs, go out and explore the Bay Area with my family, read books, watch nature documentaries, and post pictures on Flickr.

Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?

I really like the work of (in no particular order):
Miriamdema ( whose work often involves nature and vintage images; I find it both entertaining and interesting;
Holly Bobisuthi, whose talent with both drawing and metals is amazing and fascinating (;
Dianna LaFerry, another very talented illustrator and designer whose owls are divine (;
Little Robot, her style is amazing and incredibly detailed, I love the dialogue she creates with beards, nature, and inventions (
Jessica Plymate (, her work is quirky, funny, and cool;
and though there are too many to mention individually, the members of the California Crafters Club of Etsy (CCCOE) are a daily inspiration and emotional support group for me. they are all so nice.

I could keep going but that would take way too long. So many incredibly talented people out there!

Right now my only venue for selling my work is my Etsy store,

I frequently post pictures of work in progress on Flickr:

The interviewer, Minnie, also blogs about crafts and other things at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

Interview with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki

September 19th, 2008

The upcoming You Bazaar in San Francisco (November 2) will be showcasing so many great vendors we decided to share them with you early via interview! I’m excited to post the first one with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki. You must check out her web site and adorable plush creations!

Planet Tokki is home to silly and quirky creatures with their own stories and different adventures. On Tokki, you’ll find creatures like Plinki the carrotbunny, Dooboo the Tofu man, and legions of squeaky poos. Planet Tokki is lovingly handcrafted by Hae Eun Park, a plush designer that divides her time between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Your web site is cracking me up. I love Planet Tokki and need to move there immediately. Were you a crafty creative kid? Who inspired you most?
Honestly, if I knew where Planet Tokki was, I’d be there right now! When I need that perfect tan and an ocean breeze, I’ve got Hinky Fluff. When I need that brisk winter air, I’ve got Kokkiri!

I’ve always been crafty as a kid in all senses of the word–sneaky and creative. If something in the house was broken, I’d always be the first one there tying it with strips of a tee-shirt, using smashed rice as glue, opening the gadget up and tinkering with its insides. I used to also devise booby traps around the house and backyard for my other 5 hapless siblings to fall into. My biggest creative inspiration is my dad who is an eccentric man. He holds about multiple degrees, is an Acupuncturist, poet, inventor, and now in law school at the ripe age of 70!

Please talk about how you discovered Planet Tokki.
It was late 1999, I was about to enter my junior year in college. I was antsy and my brain yearned for something strange and quirky. I bought an old stuffed animal how-to book at a used bookstore and tried to make my first plush. I failed miserably and made what was supposed to be a squirrel, but looked like a seal/lizard. The error gave me an idea though. I should start making hybrids of creatures and see what happens. They started out as presents for friends and then took on a life of their own.

The story of Planet Tokki came out very naturally on its own. I’d simply look at one and know it was supposed to eat poo, or that this one here was supposed to be the town drunk. There would be no other way about it! I’ve always felt like more of the mouthpiece for this world!

Also, people need to buy many Planet Tokki creatures so that you can fund another trip of discovery to Yang-pa island. What dwells there? Discoveries such as the Daucus lagomorpha, or “Carrot-Bunnies” are def . enough to peak my interest! Do you have any new discoveries you plan to unveil at the You Bazaar?
Yang-Pa island is the newest discovery at Planet Tokki. This island is still a big mystery to the Cheezbourg Naturalist Society of Hinky Fluff Island. Even what is known still perplexes the researchers! Daucus lagomorpha, or Carrot Bunny (aka Plinki) are only one of the many peculiar creatures that reside there. Tofu People are the most pervasive species on the island, but are peaceful and docile. Eggplants, however, are a dangerous lot. Many a luckless victim strayed too close to an eggplant den and found themselves knocked down by a gang of eggplants! Researchers have just discovered a beady-eyed black bean that collapses when approached by creatures other than black beans! More research is pending…

The main research responsible for the discovery is in Hinky Fluff Island and led by diligent Naturalist, Jingy Scubb. Their biggest hurdle is wading through the enormous amounts of red tape in the Hinky Fluff local government. Lately, the authorities have been more distracted by the poo overpopulation that permeates their island than exploration. Only time will tell when the funding will go through. In the meantime, however, Dr. Scubb makes solo treks on her own dime to the island to study the Tofu People.

Do you think that earthlings are ready to be exposed to the Planet Tokkians (correct me if this is the wrong term!)? We can barely steward our own planet and here are all these lovely creatures… I wonder if they can they defend themselves.
Unfortunately, Tokkisomians are blissfully unaware of anything outside their planet. In fact, it was only recently that each island was made aware of each other! As you could imagine, this caused a great upset that lasted for months. Each island believed they were their own planet! So the very idea of Earth is a lost topic in their mind! Fortunately for Tokkisomians, no earthling will ever find Planet Tokki, as this planet exists on a parallel dimension.

I don’t doubt that Tokkisomians can defend themselves either. Matilda, a swamp moose in Hinky Fluff, is known for charging intruders and smothering them with her underbelly; Carrot Bunnies have a mean bite when cornered; Ninja Barnacles are painstakingly trained in the art of Barnacle Ninjitsu!

Are you a contributor to the Cheezbourger Daily? If so, how do you communicate with the rest of newspaper staff? Do you have a universal translator? What is your office/discovery laboratory like?
The Cheezbourger Daily is sent to me via bike messenger who is mum on the details. I only wish I could contribute to such thought-provoking investigative journalism! My own office is my apartment filled with stacks and stacks of fabric, a laptop, and endless amounts of fluff flying about. Sometimes I find plush stuffing in my cereal…

I’m sad to read that you may be taking some time off from being an ambassador to Planet Tokki. Say it ain’t so!!!
It’s true. I will be putting Planet Tokki on hold as of May 2008, but this is not an end. In fact, the hold is so that Planet Tokki can grow. As it stands now, I can’t continue to design, create the story, and sew all these little guys at the same time with the growth that is occurring with the company. So, I am researching solutions. When it returns, Planet Tokki will be bigger and more polished. Just wait and see..

Can I get a date with Goomi?! He’s hot!
Goomi….I spoke to some Hammies on Kokkiri Island who said there are rumors that Goomi is indeed looking. I’ll keep you posted! A barnacle king that can cook and fight? I see what all the fuss is about!

You can buy Planet Tokki plush at:
Wink SF, 4107 24th Street, San Francisco, CA
Planet Tokki will also be at the following craft fairs:
You Bazaar – November 2
Felt Club – November 16
San Francisco Bazaar SF – November 30

or online at

The interviewer, Minnie, also blogs about crafts and other things at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

Fogbelt Studio Holiday Fair

September 5th, 2008

The long running Fogbelt Studio ( Holiday Fair is looking for vendors. They need an additional  8 – 10 more spaces for the holiday sale, and are especially looking for the following items:
pottery – ceramics; felted bags/felted items – pincushions, needle cases; non-bead jewelry (colorful) made up bread dough (or could be fimo, paper, etc); bags/purses of upholstery type material; photography – cards/small calendars/small prints/magnets; small porcelain figures and ornaments; aprons, herbal pillows
cards/gift tags – knit scarves; soaps, candles, items made of paper, fabric, etc.
Please contact Kathy Dybeck for more information

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