After months of wondering whether I was doing the right thing having a stall at the Christmas markets, whether I would have enough stock, whether my stock would sell, what to wear on my feet, what to wear on my body, how to carry money, and every other worry you can imagine, plus a few extras, I have successfully finished day 1 of the two day markets – and survived!
Having my super-assistant Mum in residence has been such a blessing. In the last week she has sanded, painted, hammered, sewn, and then still made cups of tea and sandwiches for me each day! With her help my shelves were finished, the screen that I bought from the recycling centre at the tip was completely renovated, a perfectly fitted tablecloth for the trestle table was made, labels were sewn onto my packaging calico bags, price and care instruction tags were attached to each item, necklaces were packaged, plastic crates were washed, bags were cut out for me to sew, and……lots of other things were achieved! (Oh my – as I write the list of things that she contributed to help me out I am overcome with emotion. I have a very, very, special mother.)
In the meantime I was sitting at the machine producing just a few more bags, a pile of zipped pouches and coin purse key rings, and sleeping a lot! (Gee – Mum did do a lot didn’t she!!) Wait – I also drilled holes, screwed hooks in, prepared inventory, priced the goods, made discount coupons and price signs and a few other things. (Phew – I feel a lot better now!) As my last bit of sewing preparation, last night I made us an apron each – mine with a zipped compartment for cash. I made mine first – and then worked out how to do it better and made my assistant’s apron with a lot less fuss and error!!
The chicks have been spending time with their father and his fiancé this week, and settling into the new routine of having two houses. But they were still thinking about me and my stall. The eldest chick bought these shiny Christmas ornaments to add to my decoration (and sticking with the bird theme) and the middle chick presented me with this origami ornament that she had bought at a stall at school. The boy just gave me a hug. Pretty good all round really!
The Christmas markets hold an interesting mix of goods, stall holders and customers. A few other Etsy sellers also have stalls, so it was lovely to meet people and put faces to the names and voices to our communication! Mum and I attended last night and set up our display furniture,
then took the boxes of goodies this morning and set up the display.
I decided yesterday to be sensible and purchase a trolley. I love it! I haven’t taken a photo of it yet but will be showing it off within a day or so! It converts from an upright, hand-cart style, to a flat platform style so it is very versatile. I discovered this morning that I can load all my stock onto it and move it in one trip (if there is someone to help me over the bumps…….). And the icing on the cake? It is bright orange! Perfect for me!
The question of course is ‘How did you go?”. The answer? Quite well. I sold a number of bags, pencils rolls, pouches, a cushion cover, and pendants. (The pendants are made up with the fabrics that I use for the bags etc, mounted under glass in a silver tray, or under resin on a scrabble tile. The Dr Who ones and children’s fabrics were the most popular.)
But more importantly I was able to talk to people and hear what they liked, what they were looking for, and to talk to them about the different possibilities with bags, art folders, etc. I took three custom orders – two for pencil rolls and one for a bag. (We had a great time designing it on the spot with fabric from three different bags to be used in the style of a fourth bag!). I handed out cards and postcards to people, and had some wonderful conversations with people who didn’t necessarily buy anything but were interested and had great ideas. And most important of all – I had fun!
I had two official assistants – Super-Mum was with me for set up and the morning and then my wonderful friend and supporter Ms C took the afternoon shift. Mrs J also arrived to deliver coffees, admire our work and do a little shopping, and other friends and colleagues dropped by – and some even bought things! I really am blessed! We will be back there again for the day tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what the day brings. One thing is for certain though – after dipping my toe in the water to test it out, I can confidently say that I will be applying to sell at other markets next year. (And that I will finish my business plan so that my path is clearly set out!!)
In the midst of all of this excitement I am also turning my mind to Christmas presents for my chicks and my family. Hmmm….could be time for just a little bit more sewing…….
I hope that the lead up to Christmas is treating you kindly and that you are finding joy in the simple things.