Today was my first attempt at selling at Brooklyn Flea and it was amazing!
Yes, it did rain and I had to pack it up two hours before the end of the day, BUT it was still spectacular!
First, a pal of mine that lives in the neighborhood came out with his two little ones to say hi. He is a great photographer and has been trying to talk to me about a branding project, so it was good to get face-to-face and chat a bit about things. I’m excited for the project, actually and I’m honored that he came by! Plus, his kids, ages four and two, are super cute and they put smiles on my face.
Second, my cousin came by at the right time. She ended up helping me pack up just before the storm came and dash to cover as the rain beat down on us. Then she helped me get into a cab. Solid, that one is. Solid.
Third, I had three sales. While that’s hardly monumental, they were substantial and led way to a day peppered with many compliments and kind words. Two of the customers signed up for my newsletter and took my card. It was also nice to see people interested in my stuff and responsive to my products. I’ve said this before, but we all need validation. These markets validate my business and keep me designing and creating.
Four, I was able to test out a new display. I am super excited about this because two weeks ago when I did the Spring Crafts in Chelsea Market (I have an update coming!), I realized that my tabling display was not good. It totally screamed amateur, which is fine, I was an amateur when I put that little ensemble together, but after a few markets under my belt, it was time to create something a bit more visually appealing.
I credit the 2012 National Stationery Show for this. See, May 20th, the day after Crafts in Chelsea, I attended the National Stationery Show (an update coming this week, too!) and was awed by the booths, in both an environmentally unsavory way and a design savory way (I’ll explain more in my full post). I couldn’t believe the work and time and effort that went into each booth. What’s more, I couldn’t believe the stories that each booth presented. Not just stories about the products, but of the owners and designers. They projected on to the buyers, press, stationery lovers, and anyone else walking through the aisles what you were supposed to see and feel from their products.
So I decided that I needed to create my in-person market story. I needed to figure out what I wanted people to think and feel when they came to my table.
My idea came quickly and was inspired by not just myself, but the things that I love – writing and traveling. My idea came to fruition with the help of some Etsy vintage and crafts sellers.
What I decided, and what I now need to work into my elevator pitch, is that my stationery is inspired by my curiosity for the world at large, as well as the people who reside in the world and is in want of writers.
That’s right, my stationery WANTS good writers.
My stationery is not nostalgic, nor is it reminiscent of an old art, but is the future for good and curious writers who travel the world.
As you can guess, I had to show that in my merchandising efforts and I did. I missed a few pieces here and there, but over all, my set up was pretty and helped draw your eyes to the table. It also helped that an item not for sale, kept bringing people to the table as well (my metal wire globe from South Africa).
The items that I bought to help make this display come about are listed below, along with the wonderful (they were ALL nice and courteous) seller’s Etsy shop linked:
Glass and Cork Jar – Kibster Vintage – I put un-sharpened #2 pencils in it
Mini Moss Terrarium in Graduated Glass Beaker – Vertegris (not vintage) – in the tray
Chalkboard clothespins - TodoPapel (not vintage) – in one basket with “Sale” chalked on it
Vintage 1981 World & Ocean Floor Map by National Geographic – wanderlustmaps – Map on table
Vintage rectangular berry baskets set of five – Littlepart – Berry baskets that stationery is in toward back edge of table
Plans For Global Domination Hand Stamped Spiral Notebook Journal – BrownBooks – Mailing list sign up book
Vintage Skirt Hanger Repurpose as an Organizer – Children’s Room Decor, Photo Holder, Desk Organizer – WestTexasVintage- Hanging display for New New York Graffiti Save-the-Date Postcards
Napkin Holder – Victorian Brass Filigree - TheVintageParlor- In the first round of the day, it held the Bridal Shower invitations, but I changed it to hold the mustache cards instead. It is a lovely piece!
Antique test tube wood rack - AM Radio – It is the piece to the right of the table in front of my water and coffee containers that has pencils sticking out of it and has the blue mustache cards in front of (that got changed later in the day). This is the only piece that will look differently the next time I do Brooklyn Flea, I should have the items that help pull everything together even more.
You can see all of the pieces mentioned in the photos below.
Above you can also see how I put everything together.
It’s hard to imagine how something will look when it’s just in pieces. And honestly, I had no real idea of how I was going to put these all together, I just had a hope that they would work nicely combined. I’m pleased to say they did and that my traveling writer theme with a few minor tweaks is close to being eye candy for the stationery lovers out there, looking to buy some quality hand-made stationery.
I have one more day scheduled for Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, Brooklyn this month and then we’ll see how it goes. Whether I want to try and schedule a few more dates in July and August.
Selling at markets is hard. It takes energy (I woke up at 5ish today to get ready), strength (I don’t have a table and chair of my own, but I had to haul everything to the corner to catch a cab and this is heavy stuff!), money (cabs, food, supplies, etc both beforehand and day of), and patience and good attitude (you stand in the sun and rain talking to people, sharing stories and engaging). It’s hard work and yet it is so worth it. I truly felt like not only had I found my business identity, but that I had also found the people who are interested in my products and that makes me ready for another day of rain or shine just to get my products into the hands of the customers it seeks.
I can’t wait for the next Brooklyn Flea!
More recaps coming this week. Happy days!