Tuesday, May 6, 2014
First Market Experience
The morning started with a cup of coffee at 6am and a dash off to the city by 7am. The car was loaded up the night before, knowing it was going to be an early start -- all I needed to do was get cleaned, dressed, and prepare a snack and water bottle to see me through the next 8 hours.
I was greeted by the very friendly Georgia at 7:30am outside the market. Georgia runs this market and she is ever so nice. As The Hubs and I decided on a spot to have our stall, an earring fell off my ear as I started to unpack. I could do without earrings that day. By the time I wanted a break from setting up and have a drink of water, I discovered a puddle under my bags... The water bottle's cap had not been fitted properly and I lost all the water I had for the day. I have had this water bottle for over 5 years and it has never happened before. And then I realised that the signage was left in the car and had taken the ride home with The Hubs...
It was a sign of things to come, I suppose.
The rest of the day was quiet for me. Awfully quiet. But I had good company of neighbouring stalls to chat about markets, and cats, of course. I am still moved by the visits from nice Adelaidean friends who made a special trip out to see me. Special shout out to Michelle & Leah, Sarah & mum, and Stella & Betty. They wouldn't leave empty-handed; it was with the help of friends that covered my day's rent.
Sarah bought from me the blue velvet stripey patchwork pouch I made especially for the market. This is her write up on her blog! Stella bought from me a little burgundy handbag which I also made especially for the market, and I threw in a pair of hippie hoops earrings because she liked them so much, and they matched!
As my first market in Australia, I saw this as a learning experience and to have a feel for the response I would get from the public. People came to my stall to use my mirror: couples and friends taking selfies with it, placing hangers on my table as they try on secondhand clothes from other stalls, ignoring me as a person and stallholder, and my display altogether. It was difficult not to feel insulted, but to smile at them and hide the crushing feeling inside.
I will admit to my stall display as being dull and set too low. Georgia gave me some good advice and I will see to them for my next market. Throughout the day, though, I felt a fish out of water and had so much doubt about my work and pricing. Was I in the right market? I had lowered my prices by 20% from what was fair; I am doing myself no honour by cheapening myself. Every single item I offer is one of a kind, hours spent using my own bare hands with pain, joy, and frustration. How does one put a price tag on creativity? I can only gauge my work by material and time...
At this point I will not write off markets completely, because beginnings are always difficult and I need to try it out before concluding anything. There has to be a right kind of market with the right kind of audience for me. Also, with more experience, I can learn to shake off the newbie jitters and be proud of what I represent.
Any positive things I took home with this first market? People do appreciate the vibrant colours, and the "You made them?!" response I have gotten is just priceless.