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  1. Hey folks! As some of you may already know, the bonny lass and I have been working on a small Etsy business called the Castaway Trading Company ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/CastawayTradingCo ). This has been a fun endeavor for us so far, and we've found it's a way of making a little extra cash that we both really enjoy. However, the Etsy business alone is not the be-all, end-all of what we want to do. Eventually, we would very much like to begin a storefront costume business - and not necessarily a strictly pirate-themed one either - but that's still a long way down the road for us, and we thought this might be a good way to get our feet wet, so to speak. At any rate, we are now looking to really hit the business hard and expand it beyond the limits of Etsy. What we would really like to do is to start vending at some of the weekend pirate festivals around the country if possible. The thing is, we're not really sure how or where to begin in that regard. At the moment, the business isn't really returning a boatload of profit, so we can't afford to extend ourselves THAT much, but as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. With this in mind, I was wondering if anyone on here had any advice for new merchants just starting out. For instance: which festivals do you think are the best ones for vendors? Which ones get the best foot traffic? Which offer the best deal with regard to vendor fees, etc? And furthermore, if anyone has any more sort of general advice on things (like general business practices at these sorts of events, items that sell well, niches that need to be filled in the market, filing apps with the festivals, packing, setup, etc.) I would love to hear them! I know there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this board who have real roots in the pirate community, and I'd love to know what you guys think, because if we're going to start doing this, it'd be nice not to just blunder into it blindly. I figure we would do well learn from the mistakes of others before making the same ones ourselves, heh. Thanks!