Our First Country Living Fair
What a weekend! What a month! Can I say that I am exhausted and overwhelmed and inspired all the same time? I'm not sure what that emotion might be, but whatever name you call it, it is happening right now. When we began our business together as mother and daughter almost one year ago, if you had told me we'd be vendors at the Country Living Fair, I probably wouldn't have believed you. If you have not heard of Country Living Fair, it is a giant handmade and vintage show hosted by Stella Shows and branded by Country Living Magazine. In short, the best way to describe the show is in their own words: "The pages of the magazine come to life!"
They have four shows a year in Tennessee, New York, Ohio, and Georgia. This was our very first show with Country Living, and we packed up our little trailer and the family and drove all the way down to Stone Mountain, GA to experience the fair. To be honest, I am still trying to process it all. I've said overwhelming already, but that's truly what it was. There were over 200 vendors, several thousand shoppers, and some amazing special guests (who we got to meet!!) including The Junk Gypsies, Melissa Caughey, Cari Cucksey, and Nancy Fuller. I mean, dream come true!!
Before we applied to this show, we were hesitant. It was a large commitment to make, and we weren't sure if we were good enough, if our products were good enough. What if we never sold anything?! So we thought that maybe we would just travel down and shop for the first time around, but Kurt (my dad, Jill's husband) talked some sense into us... JUST DO IT. Oh my goodness, are we glad we did! This experience was one that we needed to have. Our dreams sometimes feel too big to achieve, but every time we take the next big step, we are that much closer than before!
I did not get to capture all of the photos I had envisioned before the trip, which was disappointing but also kind of a relief. I wanted to experience the fair in real time, but I also wanted to snap some really amazing content as well, you know?! Well, real time ended up winning this time around as my brain tried to catch up with everything that was happening around us. I can tell you that Stone Mountain Park is absolutely breathtaking! It felt like our booth was nestled in an enchanted fairy wonderland. When we came to open our booth in the morning on Friday, gorgeous yellow and orange leaves and pine needles had fallen and nestled themselves into our dried floral arrangement - it was perfection! How can you be upset when nature plans itself perfectly around you? It reminded us why we love that all of our products and brand are inspired by nature.
We spent a lot of our time in the booth, not really having a chance to get away and explore. When we did get a chance, it was generally in the early morning before the show started (as you can see in the dark photo of us above!!). The other vendors were spectacular. We were so inspired by each and every one of them. Sadly, we did not get to meet The Junk Gypsies or Nancy Fuller because we were busy working our booth while they were speaking, but we did get to meet Cari Cucksey of HGTV's Cash & Cari (who bought one of our hand knit gnome bonnets!!!) and Melissa Caughey of Tilly's Nest - they were both incredibly sweet and wonderful. Oh my gosh, just blushing thinking about it!
Tad was such a good baby during the entire trip. Thank goodness my dad was around and willing to watch and care for him throughout the entire weekend. We could not have done this show without him! He deserves several awards!! Having Tad travel this far for so many days was probably the one thing that I personally (and all of us) worried about the most. We traveled through the night on the way down, which he thankfully slept for most of. And he slept like a rock for the entire trip - he usually does whenever I have traveled between states with him before. He is such a great trip sleeper, but a terrible trip eater. He will just skip meals and refuse to eat... I am hoping this is a phase, but I know that he won't starve himself. All in all, it was a positive experience for him!
And to make the weekend even better, our lovely friends from The Shop Kalona came all the way down from Iowa to surprise us at the show! I know!!! They had been plotting their big surprise since they found out we were going and flew down on Friday. We were in the middle of helping customers when we saw their pretty faces pop out in the crowd. Everyone was squealing and dancing with happiness! Good friends can be hard to find; we are so humbled and happy that we found three amazing friends in these ladies.
We had such an amazing first experience at the Country Living Fair. Let's hope that we can attend the other shows next year! Now to go sleep for the rest of the week (;