“Everything on your table reminds me of Paris!”
THAT is the best compliment I received on Saturday, 10/5 at the annual Fall Crafts in Chelsea Market organized by the EtsyNY Team. I signed up for it quickly, and on a whim just before applications were due and I’m so glad I did!
Saturday was a breathtaking day. Not only did I have a great day, the weather was beautiful and while there were some wind gusts, my table lay perfectly flat and not a single piece of paper fluttered off my table. THANK GOODNESS!
So why Crafts in Chelsea?
Well it is a market I’m comfortable doing. This was my third time or fourth time as a vendor and it was just as eventful as always, although I didn’t have my annual Ethan Hawke siting. More importantly, it was a day full of talking, business, and friends. I was able to catch up with a few EtsyNY team members who I haven’t seen in a long while, as well as friends from various walks of my life who stopped by to say hi and lend support. One even picked up lunch for me and I was so grateful. Beyond grateful actually.
When I arrived to set up, I realized I left my stash of business cards in my apartment. I also realized that I didn’t really remember how I set my table up the last time I did a market last summer. I mean, I did know the general layout, but I felt like styles were missing and I was unprepared. The good news is that I thought my table never looked better. Seriously! Below is the proof:
As I put everything together, I kept thinking, I hope this works. Either way though, I anticipated having a good day. See, I’ve never really made a lot of money doing these markets. I’m incredibly selective about the ones I do do because markets require a lot of time, energy, and money. It costs money to stand outside all day. It can be exhausting talking to customers, especially when they don’t bite and buy, and from being outside all day. It also costs time in the sense that you aren’t making anything during the time spent outside. This is the reality, but I always go into these markets feeling excited and optimistic nonetheless.
The way I see it is even if I don’t make many sales to make the day “worth it,” If I get one custom order weeks down the road, the market payed off ten fold. See for me a day out at a market is a day of promotion. It’s a great way to get my brand out and for potential customers to meet me, the woman behind the vision and the brand and who they will be working with for several weeks or months. I am my own best business representative!
In the end, Crafts in Chelsea was a huge success! I made some sales, which was awesome, but I received one of the best compliments of my business career to date! (No offense to any of my customers who have praised my work!)
The day started off with two visitors from Echizen, Japan, whom also happen to be individuals I met and worked with while studying Washi in Echizen Washi Village last year (next Tuesday marks a year to the day of my arrival in Echizen.) They were here for the opening of an photography exhibit of Echizen Washi, currently going on, at the Japanese Consulate in NYC (more details soon!). I had mentioned the Market and sure enough they stopped by and filled my heart with joy and inspiration.
The rest of the afternoon involved more visits including a friend from my Etsy Intern days, Sam Cusano, Jr, who gave me some advice about my sales pitch and table and offered encouragement. My dearest, and one of my best friends, Amy P., stopped by and brought me lunch and water and an hour of laughter and chatting. Another good friend, Chiara stopped by on her way home and said hello. It was great to catch up with her especially because I haven’t seen her since before I left for Japan last year. Not to mention, Chiara and Amy have stopped by my Crafts in Chelsea tables every time I’ve participated. Yay for encouragement!
In between the Japanese visitors and Sam though, an older woman stopped by my table and started talking to me. She’s the woman who gave me the best compliment I mentioned above, “Everything on your table reminds me of Paris!” She and I then went on to talk about Paris and how much we both love it and have traveled to it and plan to visit in the future. I told her she had given me the greatest compliment to date and of my life there. I also told her I’m so glad she could see that because I took such pains to put together a table that tells the story of a traveler who collects fine paper and is grateful for worldly experiences and encounters. That she got that immediately, and about my favorite City, well even better!
As the day continued, I spent quite a bit of time talking to potential customers. I gave our almost every business card I had on me, got feedback from visitors, and never let my energy fall too low that I couldn’t keep up talking and spreading S2 love.
Naturally, I wish I had made more sales that day, but again, just getting out there, showing my brand and my products and feeling the love and positive energy from my friends, fellow makers, and NYC community made it all worth while.
Hooray for a successful Crafts in Chelsea. I’m looking forward to the next one!