So, since I last posted, I have left my job and started concentrating more on my jewellery making with an eye to it being my ‘job’. So far, I have had stalls at one carnival, one craft fair and one artisan fair (with mixed results); and updated my Facebook pages. I’ve made lots more stock that I’m really happy with, I just need to find the right market for it! I know it’s very unique and a bit different, so not to everyone’s tastes…but I think it’s more wearable and desirable than first impressions might give.
Anyway, enough justifying! I wanted to share my experiences at the various events I’ve displayed at. First up, the Carnival. My first outing as ‘GoldyLocks Jewellery’ and ‘Talida Creations’, my first stall. Mum came with me to help me set up and keep me company. We arrived, just as it started raining. Just as we started putting up the gazebo. Not a good start! However, we were not to be deterred, so got the gazebo up, the table covered, and the stock set up. It all took three times as long as I had expected, and I learnt a lot about ‘being prepared’ with my displays and prices! We had some lovely people next to us from the Guide Dogs to chat to, so we settled down and waited for the crowds. And waited. And waited. It was quite a while before any of the stalls really got busy, but I don’t think we ever got to that point! I did make sales, and it was nice to see people come back later in the day having seen something earlier. For me, one happy customer is worth ten who buy because they feel they should, or have to. However, I did get very despondent, and a bit bored. Overall, a big learning curve travelled, and the conclusion that a carnival isn’t really the place for handmade, unique jewellery.
On to the second event – the local Craft Fair. I had mixed feelings about this as on the one hand it was a ‘craft’ fair so should be more geared towards handmade things, but it was a very small event on a weekday, so a smaller available market. Again I had my trusty companion (Mum), and we had access to tea and biscuits, so it boded well! However, Mum got more comments on her knitting than I did on the jewellery; and the ‘market’ wasn’t really my ‘target’ age or demographic. I didn’t make a single sale, and barely gave away any business cards. It was enough to make anyone feel like it was all pointless. Even lunch at my favourite café in town didn’t lift my spirits.
So, it was with some trepidation that I agreed to have a stall at the Artisan Fair yesterday. A friend had suggested me to the organiser, and I don’t think I’d have gone otherwise. Shaun came with me this time, as Mum was away, and we carried our suitcases to the square to find our stall. I spent the next ten minutes looking all round town for the ‘man in charge’, then swapped stalls, then looked at what we had to work with. The space was at least twice the size of anything I’d set up on before, and was slatted! Also, being outside, the wind was an issue. I have discovered that there is no such thing as ‘too many clips’ for tablecloths! Or weights. However, we got it fixed, and managed to display everything without losing anything through the gaps, or off the front. Almost immediately there were people milling around, but no-one really stopping. But it was early days, and our stall neighbours were lovely people who we could chat to.
The day wore on, and there was a lot of interest, but no sales. I saw friends I haven’t seen in ages, chatted to new people, and shared some yummy Indian street food with Shaun; so it was a pleasant time. Then the first sale came. Then a couple more. By 3pm I was feeling quite buoyant, and even after paying for the stall, came away with a little something. I count this a definite success, and not just because I sold things. The whole experience was so much nicer than the other two. The atmosphere was great – live music, singing, dancing – which made the day feel right. The other stallholders were so friendly and helpful, and I’ve made some new contacts! I felt like what I do was appreciated, even if not to everyone’s taste. It has helped me gain enthusiasm once more, to carry on, and keep going.
What I liked above everything, though, was how it felt like a proper, old-fashioned market. There were people sitting knitting and spinning yarn, you could chat to anyone about anything, and there was live entertainment. There’s been some criticism over this town’s local markets, but if Friday was anything to go by, I think they have nothing to worry about and more places could benefit from an atmosphere like that.
‘My favorite things often have a story behind them and are usually handmade or discovered at a flea market.’ ~ Amy Sedaris