Tuesday, May 6, 2014

First Market Experience

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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.


  1. I was interested to read your comments about the
    Flinders Street market. I went back there the weekend
    before last (I was away last weekend when you
    were there) and was disappointed. Trying too hard
    to be hipster to appeal to me (but then I can't
    imagine a fifty something woman is their intended
    demographic anyway!). Have you considered the
    monthly market at Fullarton Community Centre?
    I don't know what they charge for stalls but
    it's much larger and I think would be a better
    option for you (lots of craftspeople and a loyal

    1. Hey Barbara, I too, went to peek at the Flinders market the weekend you visited, just so I got the feel of the place! It was really quiet at 9:30am on a Sunday, so I wasn't too surprised about the attendance when it came to my turn.

      Fullarton IS my next market! I will be there on 24th May, Saturday.

  2. Some people at markets like that are so rude. experienced it several times too :/ Tip about mirror, only bring a small one, and only get it out when someone is interested in your stuff.

  3. Rich and I used to do a lot of markets and I think the thing is you have to find the right market for you! Maybe this isn't the right space, or it just wasn't a good weekend - I'm sure there are other places to try in Adelaide. It's so lovely your friends made a special effort to come and see you. I agree with Dina's comment about the mirror and to be honest, if I was at a market I would feel bad using a mirror from a stall if I wasn't buying (or at least seriously considering buying something) from that stall!

    1. That's because you are a nice person! I must have been too timid or nervous to speak up and be noticed. What I did not know how to feel was: how other stalls were directing their customers to my mirror.

  4. I think the bowerbird market might have been on this weekend which is a huge market (twice a year) for crafters so it might have been timing too? Hard though I think it's difficult after the hours of work. X x

    1. Yes, it could be timing. I'm keeping my eye on Bowerbird... That's if, I haven't given up on markets by that time :D

  5. Also gilles st market is very busy and happening and I think it would suit your demographic more....

  6. sounds like some of the markets i have done ( signage in car, split water) but, as others have mentioned it really is a matter of finding the right venue.

    1. I will keep trying for these couple of months.

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  8. Sorry that your first experience wasn't too good, but I'm glad to see you haven't given up. I agree with your friends' tips, they are good ones to follow :)

    *PS. sorry about the deleted comment, that was me also but i didn't realise I was logged in to my other account.

  9. First of all... CONGRATULATIONS on your first Australian market!!!
    Fairs and markets can be disappointing regarding sales, sometimes... but I'm sure you're going to find more rewarding ones, and the experience sure brought you new insights and contacts!


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