Everyone is Awesome!
Hope you all have a had a great start getting settled into the new year. I just completed my first event of the Season, vending at Urban Unglued’s Freaks at The Beach in Ocean Shores, WA, last weekend.
I had a lot of fun, met a lot of new faces, and did one of my favorite things; taught people how to make buttons! I had a little bit of a challenge when I arrived, as I didn’t know that having the canopy attached would be against building fire code, but after a quick trip the the dollar store, I was able to spruce up the booth in a new way, creating a really cute improvisation, which has led to my favorite set up of the booth so far.
Here’s some of the buttons that were made over the weekend by the awesome people who came through the DIY Button Station.
I’ve also been doing a lot of work on the back-end of the business, cleaning and organizing my office, and updating sections of the website. I am vending at a minimum of one event a month throughout the year, and currently have events booked or in the works through August. Everything that’s confirmed, you can check out on the BUTTON EVENTS page. I’m really excited that I was accepted to both Washington State Spring Fair, and Oddmall: Emporium of the Weird.
I attended Oddmall about 5 years ago or so, but under a different business name, and I was still pretty new to vending. I’m excited to bring the new booth set up to this event, as it had great energy and was a lot of fun the last time I participated.
Button orders made since last time…
Some time ago, I did the bangover brunch, a vending event attached to a metal fest show in Seattle, where I met a wonderful man named James. My brightly colored booth stood out quite a bit among all the booths ran by the other metal heads. It’s rare I ever look the part for any demographic I ride the sidelines of. I have a leather jacket from the 80’s I’ve owned since I was 16 years old, and I love it. A gift from my uncle, but I don’t feel any less of myself if I’m decked out like Pipi Longstocking. It’s the nature of the beast. Needless to say, not many people came to talk to me, and I definitely felt like the odd one out, but the food was great and the music was even better at the little upstairs bar in Capital Hill. James, however was not frightened off by my brightly colored ensemble amidst the black and grey of the other tables. We talked for a long time about buttons and his company lifted my spirits. He purchased one of the recycled art key-ring bottle openers, and said he’d be in touch.
About a year or so later, he contacted me, asking if I’d remembered him. I’d barely broke even that show, and enjoying his company was the highlight of my day, so of course I remembered him. He was ready to place an order, and since then, I have been making buttons for him regularly. I really like doing orders for James. He is very specific and particular about things like placement and the way he wants his buttons to look. I love the challenge of pleasing people who know what they want and won’t rest until it’s perfect. I feel like these are the customers who push me to be better at what I do. I am 100% self-taught when it comes to editing. I am not the best, but I do my best, and if I don’t know how to do something, I will research and try until I figure it out. Without customers like James, I’m not sure I would have nearly the knowledge I do when it comes to editing, so I’m just as grateful that they are patient with me as they are that I am patient with them. No matter what the product, you should always receive equal to or better quality then what you pay for. Which is exactly what I strive to do.
His last order was pretty fun, doing some buttons featuring some relics from Seattle’s earlier music scene, Crawl and Overlord. The buttons at the top of the image are the two sizes of magnets I offer. One day I’ll have a decent camera that will capture the quality of my products much better than what I can do with my cell phone.
I also made a donation order this month. I really try to do at least one a month, and this month I chose to do 100 1″ for the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance. It’s a health group that does a lot of outreach all across the Northwest to advocate for drug users, to see them as people, to greatly reduce the chances of overdose, and help provide a caring support group to help them make the changes they choose to be healthier. Some of the work they do is pretty controversial, but they are extremely passionate about what they do and have been responsible for keeping hundreds of thousands of used drug needles off the city streets, as well as keeping many people alive. Click the link to their website to read more about what they do and who they are. If you have an hour of time, you can also check out the latest SYMPTMS podcast, Where Love Meets the Streets, where I interviewed Lisa, the head director of Seattle’s outreach.
One of the most recent orders I processed was for a friend who is currently battling with getting her recent diagnosis of Lyme Disease to a more manageable state. She also happens to be the lead vocalist for Northwest Folk Metal band, Siren’s Rain. She’s been sharing her struggles with humor, and her button order this time around was no different. After catching a recent episode of Grace & Frankie, Rena’s uncontrollable laughter led to placing this little order for 10 1.75″ buttons, showing Frankie’s quote from the episode.
Her band is currently prepping for a European tour next year and she is currently busy making time to learn the harp. If you enjoy folk metal, they are definitely one to watch for. This little lady has a powerful voice, backed by a talented group of musicians, and is determined to not let life get her down.
While I was vending last weekend, I had an odd request from a father, after he had gone through my display of recycled key-ring bottle openers and came up empty handed. His daughter lives in Texas and absolutely loves the Loch Ness Monster and manatees. He asked if I could make two for her and ship them out on his behalf. He handed me an address, ten dollars, and then walked away. He didn’t ask for a confirmation of delivery or anything. Honestly it makes me feel really good when people put that kind of trust in me, it also gives me a sort of hope that all isn’t lost in this world when some days can be so seemingly dark. There’s still people out their who believe that most people live to do good and will be reliable. It was the first order I processed when I returned home from the event. I really hope she loves them.
I have quite a few orders in the works right that should be done and shipped by the next blog, but for now, I leave you with my final order processed since you read me last time. This order comes from a woman I have grown to adore rather quickly. A mother and grandmother in love with life, giving of her time, and always making time for the important things. When I met her, she was volunteering for an event I did at the Wilkeson Eagles Hall almost three years ago.
The first order she ever placed was for buttons for a fundraiser for a non-profit group called Honor Flight, an organization dedicated to providing veterans with honor and closure. They provide veterans with all expense paid trips out to Washington DC to view the memorials, congregate, and connect with one another. This recent order she’s placed is samples to submit for this year’s fundraising plans, as well as to assist with some closure of her own as she joins her sisters on a trip to spread the ashes of their mother.
There are so many reasons I love buttons, but one is the versatility for what they can be used for. A lot of meaning can be packed into the smallest of packages, and buttons reflect just that, especially with this last order.
Thank you all so much for your business from the online orders to the people who stopped by my booth this last weekend and for those of you reading this now. I love people, I love connecting with people…but it’s hard sometimes. Buttons help me to connect, I take great care and time because I see you, I care, and I appreciate that you chose me. I want to make a product that I can be proud of and that you can also be proud of. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Until next time, have a lovely day and I wish you nothing but the best. 🙂