I love making stuff. I could print, paint and sew all day, and often I wish that could be all I do. Selling, on the other hand, scares me stiff. I always get nervous before my first market of the season. Will I get my tent set up on time? Will the weather hold? Will anyone turn up? Will I sell enough to cover my costs? Will I have enough products for each market? Will my square reader work?
Yes, I’m needlessly anxious about the whole thing. The words “sales tax” make me break out in a cold sweat. I fantasize about having an agent who takes care of the sales and marketing side of the business, leaving me free to just design and make.
Despite all of this, more often than not, I end up enjoying myself at these events. I have to relearn this truth each season.
My first market this Spring was Gala Artisan’s Indie Craft Fair in Kensington, and it was a lovely way to kick off the season. Here are some highlights…
After a very gray, soggy Saturday that made me want to hibernate and give my soul to Netflix for eternity, I was really expecting Sunday to be horrible. But a tiny miracle happened – the sun came out, not a little bit, but a lot. It was a lovely day, and the beautiful people of Kensington were out in force. Thank you, Mother Nature.
Gala Artisans is a beautifully curated shop in Kensington MD, and they run this market. Consequently, there is always a great group of crafters at the event, and a sense of camaraderie that makes the show a lot of fun.
The craft fair is run in conjunction with Kensington’s Day of the Book, which means free activities for the kids (including a scavenger hunt), and I get book related goodies. This year, there was a table of free books, and my husband actually snagged me a Margaret Atwood that I haven’t read. Score!
Kensington is my kind of place. I has a quirky, alternative vibe, and I found myself talking to some really interesting people. One customer I met, turned out to be the guy who writes the Designer Daddy blog. I only realized much later that I had saved an article about his artwork, long ago. Check out his super cool lunch notes here. I met so many creative people – authors, artists, and performers, it was inspiring. Also, I kind of fell in love with this little bakery.
There is a reason I make products for kids.
I genuinely like them, and I seem to still be one of them. I had a lot of interesting interactions with kids at the market. Some wanted to tell me about their day, some just came to stare, a couple wanted hugs, one needed vital information about unicorns. One particular kid chose the space under my table as his designated pooping spot away from prying eyes (luckily he was still wearing a diaper). The fact that I designed a robot that looks so similar to one of my mini customer’s favorite toy, shows that I am still totally in synch with my target market.
Once again, my ten year old proved an invaluable assistant. She has much better selling skills than I have (albeit, a little on the aggressive side), and the cuteness factor always helps. The six year old was not as helpful, but Kensington MD obliged us with a constant stream of trains to keep him happily occupied (see beautiful freight train graffiti below).
I’m broken in and ready for my next fair now. It will be ViVA Vienna! In my adopted hometown of Vienna VA. Always a good one for the kids. See you there?