Saturday, November 20, 2010

Interactivism

I'm repeatedly surprised by how very tired sitting, smiling, and schmoozing can be. I used to work retail, it 6 hours wore me out. I spent most of yesterday and today behind our REpUrpoSE table at the holiday bazaar, and I am physically exhausted. I sat, I smiled, said "Hi!" opened the bags, closed the bags, explained the purpose, talked about plastic bag waste, and I feel like I ran a marathon. So weird.

I was so nervous when we set up Thursday night. I couldn't gauge if the display looked good, if the bags were arranged right, if we fit in with the other vendors, if we had enough literature, if I had too much...I was really anxious. Friday morning I was a fidgety mess. What if no one cared? What if I offended people? What if the bags were crap?

Set up and ready to go. 
At 9 a.m. on a Friday morning, the crowd consists of a bunch of people in appliqu├ęd sweaters who call you "Dear" and tell you how clever you are. They aren't really interested in buying, or in being converted away from plastic, but they are a sweet bunch. I started to relax.

Then the grade school kids started coming in to do their shopping throughout the school day. They were awesome. I got to talk to dozens of kids about plastic bags, and the waste we make when we use them and toss them. The kids were so excited by the sandwich wrap place mats. They liked the tank top totes. 

A highlight:

Third Grade Boy: So, whater these things?

Me: Let me show you. (A sandwich wrap/placemat demo ensued.) You use these instead of your plastic sandwich bags in your lunch.

Third Grade Boy: Because plastic is bad (he came up with that, I hadn't had time to get to that part of the schpiel.).

Me: Exactly. Because plastic is bad.

Third Grade Boy: Well then I need one of these. 

He bought one and then proceeded to drag everyone he could get his little hands on over to my table and tell them that they should get one of these wraps, because plastic is bad, allowing me to explain why. So awesome. 

By the end of Day 1, half of the wraps were gone.  

Day 2 was a different crowd, but still very open to what we were trying to say. We had long-time bazaar vendors give me tips and tricks. We had people come up and get excited about making their own tank top totes. We showed them the corner trick and told them how I did it. People were thinking.We had someone come up and tell me that my table had them thinking about the food at the bazaar and how it would be better to serve it on paper plates than Styrofoam. We had people brainstorming ways to remember their bags. We got to educate people about the latest lead paint-reusable bag scare. We passed out info on the Garbage Patch. My parents were there supporting and selling, my husband and friends were there to support me. It was wonderful.

Some of the bags went well. The gift bags and produce bags didn't do as well, but we're looking into what we can do with them. By the end of today, we had sold around forty sandwich wraps, with requests for more. I'm going to be making more and putting them on our etsy site a.s.a.p.

Slim pickin's left


I think it was a success. We have good ideas for more projects. We got to network with some other people as revved up about reusing as I am. And I got to educate my community. I am beyond pleased.

I immediately went out and spent some of the earnings on more fabric. I can't wait to get to crafting more bags, wraps, and other reusables.

New bags, here we come!



1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful experience. That 3rd grade boy is too cute!

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