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SCSU student reflects on craft fairs

It all started with a conversation.

That conversation resulted in the craft shows taking place in Atwood this spring.

Kelsey Kaeding, senior at SCSU, got started planning her first event the first time she sat down with Brandy Favilla, owner of Brandy’s Boutique.

“We met up here, at Caribou,” Favilla said, “and got her trained in on using the tools to register exhibitors.”

Kaeding, who has two other jobs as well as being a full-time student, said she had no idea who Favilla was when they first got in touch, but said they talked for hours the first time they sat down together.

“I really want to go into event planning. So this is a great first step, first avenue to get into,” Kaeding said. “You only have one chance so you might as well do it all at the same time.”

Kaeding said she never has felt overwhelmed at any point during the process of organizing the craft shows in Atwood this spring. She said she would love to get in to some bigger markets and bigger cities, and maybe eventually taking her talents over seas.

Kaeding handled pretty much all of the planning and logistics of putting the shows together, Favilla said.

One key area of focus when putting the shows together is making sure the environment is conducive to the vendors.

“We provide a low cost option,” Favilla said. “It’s a nice opportunity to get up here and showcase some products.”

Kaeding said the process is multitasking at its finest.

“Less vendors give them more of an opportunity to buy,” she said.

Kaeding also said the experience she has gained by working hands-on with these shows is invaluable.

“I’m a firm believer that real world experience is better than sitting in a classroom and learning about it,” Kaeding said.

Favilla said Kaeding does a great job of going around and talking to the exhibitors, getting to know them and making sure they have everything they need.

The planning is an ongoing process, Kaeding said, adding the second show went much smoother than the first because she knew more what to expect going in to it.

The success of each show is something both Kaeding and Favilla take very personally. They said they are always taking feedback from each of the exhibitors and passing that information along to those who will be at the next show.

At the end of the shows Kaeding walks around and talks to the exhibitors, asks if they enjoyed their experience, and usually offers them a spot in the next show.

Favilla said they always try and make improvements and make the next show better than the last.

“We learn from each one and make the improvements,” she said.

Favilla said she never solicits anyone to come and be in one of her shows. She said a great moment is when someone calls her and says they heard she has a show going on somewhere and asks if they can be a part of it.

With everything going on and everything being learned, there was one important thing specifically Kaeding said she learned from the first show.

“No heels, not at expos,” she said.

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