This past weekend, I participated in our parish's fall festival, which is one of our major fundraisers as well as a way to build community among the parishioners. Last year I contributed a basket of greeting cards to the craft booth, and I would have split the proceeds with the parish. I said "would have" because none of the cards sold. When I picked up my basket, the woman in charge sat me down and gave me some of the feedback she had heard, which was very helpful, and it was kind of her to take the time to give some good advice to someone new in running a business, since she had run a successful business for many years.
This year, my business partner and I had three racks of 190 cards, and we had cut our prices drastically since last year, and had many new cards for sale. I also volunteered to help with the craft area, both in setting up and in helping people to find things and in selling. I stayed for most of the two nights and was able to point out my cards to many of the parishioners who came, most of whom had no idea I made cards or ran a business. We sold 35 cards, and I had orders for five more, and got many ideas for cards that people were looking for that we don't make yet. I don't know if I sold enough that I will be able to sell them in the new parish gift shop, but I learned a great deal from the people I spoke with, and also ran into some parishioners whom I hadn't seen since the days when we both had children in the school together. It was enjoyable to interact with so many long-time and new friends, and to see the parish becoming even more alive as a result of the festival.