Welcome to the Blue Gecko Southwest BLOG. So many different topics to explore! Let’s start from the beginning:
As a small business owner/crafter for the last 15 years, I have a lot of experience selling at craft shows and markets throughout the year in order to get my products in front of the general public. I have done school and church shows, Farmer’s Markets, general outdoor markets and finally Home and Garden shows.
Unfortunately, today’s show climate has been turned upside down. All shows so far since January have either been cancelled or put on hold. There is no determination on shows happening so far into the rest of the selling season for 2020. I now realize that using only one platform for my products will not work going forward. Thus, this website was created as another avenue to showcase my handcrafted products. As a military spouse, I have done shows in many states. I have even done craft show and markets when we traveled in the 5th Wheel!
Like many of you, I have been creating for years – mostly for family and friends for birthdays ans holidays. I never thought about selling anything! What was my “trigger”? The journey started in 2005 when we lived in Leavenworth, KS (NOT the BIG House!). I was the manager for a medical billing company with 25 staff reporting to me. Christmas was coming and I was short on cash – as everyone else! How was I going to give everyone a gift? I came up with the idea for handmade SPA bags with soap, washcloth, bath salts nd sugar scrub – all handcrafted! It was the first time I’d ever tried any of this! A couple weeks later, several people came to me wanting to buy more soap – they loved it! I had never sold anything I had made! That was my “AH HA” moment – people would “buy” what I made. I was hooked!
Thus the adventure started. The first thing to be done was to understand the rules of selling as a business in Kansas and I needed a business name. As I created my products I would think of names, did research on names, what sounded good, what would be remembered. After many weeks, I decided on the name “Blue Gecko Southwest”. I had skied in New Mexico and lived in Arizona and I fell in love with the whole Southwest “vibe” and knew that someday I would live there. I wanted a name that would reflect that area.
I registered the name with the IRS – EIN number and also registered the name in Kansas. Then I started looking for shows, not really understanding the concept. I went to a few markets, talked to other vendors in the area. Was I going to only sell one item or would I have several products? What could I actually do? I got a booth at the PX on Fort Leavenworth and started selling just a couple different “lines” of products. I soon learned what would sell well. I also started at the local Farmer’s Market – a whole different group of customers that wanted a different type of product. My spa items, handcrafted jewelry and crocheted hats and scarves (it gets really cold in Kansas in the winter!) were selling!
When we moved to Virginia, I started doing the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings in the town where we lived. I had no tent and used the back of my SUV for shade and only had one table. I added gourmet doggie biscuits and pupcakes to my inventory. I made my own flyers and business cards, experimenting with colors and logos. Most of the customers really like the name Blue Gecko Southwest so I decided that would definitely be the business name going forward.
The next move was to Albuquerque, NM for my work as a Medical Practice Administrator. This move was the most exciting one so far! By this time we were “retired” military so could actually put down roots. We could get ready for the next chapter!