Success in Christmas craft markets comes from offering something that is seldom seen anywhere else, say two Saskatchewan crafters.
Maureen Kinch of Langham and her father, Marcel Lecomte, of Tisdale team up to create “primitive country décor” items.
“I don’t duplicate many,” said Kinch, whose company is called Chickidi Creations.
“I work very hard to achieve that and not do the same as somebody else so that I do stand out. I can’t stand making 30 of the same thing.”
The former interior decorator’s efforts earned best booth accolades at the Western Development Museum’s annual craft show in Saskatoon this fall.
Lecomte, who provides the wooden frames, cabinets and willow furniture, said every show is different.
“You can never go with the right thing,” he said.
“You just load some of everything.”
Some weeks, he makes more than 30 frames for Kinch’s message boards.
“The hard part about crafting is coming up with something new each year,” he said.
Kinch said Lecomte, whose company name is Whistle While You Work, encouraged her to “not fear tools.”
Kinch was recently reached in her garage while working with a sander and jigsaw. Her other tools include a glue gun, sewing machine and paint.
She said a recent downturn in homespun craft markets is showing signs of a turnaround, citing strong sales and markets this year.
“You’re not going to get the uniqueness out of it,” she said of low priced mass produced discount store crafts.
The pair says it’s often difficult to have enough for the handful of shows they choose to attend each year.
They market through Facebook, shows and word of mouth. Kinch has not launched a website, fearing she might not be able to keep ahead of online orders if she did so.
“I do it for the enjoyment, to get out and to have a little extra cash in my pocket,” said Kinch.
“The day it becomes too pressured for me, I’ll stop. That’s not the goal behind it. It’s not my career. I’m not going to pay my bills doing this.”
Kinch manages the books for her husband’s trucking business and has a holistic healing practice.
They travel as a family to shows in a trailer, bringing a wide variety of crafts and stands and spending up to seven hours setting up their booth.
Kinch said her father never thought his work was good enough for such shows, but he is busy providing frames for her crafts and filling custom orders.
Lecomte’s wife, Amelia, helps him finish his woodworking by using powder paints to create a rustic look.
“If my hands are occupied, my mind is occupied. I can’t go to the Co-op and drink coffee. I’m not that kind of person,” said Lecomte, a former farmer who built the family home.
He generally works an eight to four shift.
“Sometimes I lock the door and go fishing,” he said.