Tuesday, 9 August 2011
In the end it was a disturbed night. I woke too early and did not immediately go back to sleep. Not surprising considering...
Sunday 7th August marked the day when I would manage my first craft stall and present my work to visitors to the launch of the Arts and Crafts Market in the Hackney City Farm as featured in my previous blog post.
As the day began with bright sunshine and lots of butterflies of the tummy kind, hopes were high for a good day. The room being used for the Arts & Craft Market was busy with crafters setting up their stalls. I was greeted warmly by Ms Cat, the organiser who directed me to the table which was my stall. Everyone looked like they had done this before.
I took out my pretty cloth which I'd ironed that morning. It fitted perfectly. Then I took out the card display units handmade at home from cardboard boxes and the printed signs made to make my stall attractive to potential customers. With almost an hour to opening, there was plenty of time to select which cards to set out first. Ms Cat advised me that the cloth I'd chosen was going to detract attention from my cards but fortunately I could use blank areas to lay out my cards using the coloured areas to frame them. I also had a couple of shelf areas on which to arrange my cards behind the table. It all looked as good as I could make it.
A moment or two outside in the breezy morning sunshine allowed time to relax and take a breath to prepare for the next five hours which I expected I would spend smiling and greeting. There were already lots of familes and couples visiting the farm and the cafe was buzzing. I saw a chicken walking around over the farm gate, pecking at the ground and people were arriving with arms full of flowers and plants, purchased from the nearby Columbia Road Flower Market. The promised rain appeared to be staying away and so it looked like it was going to be a good launch day.
During the first hour of the market we had a few visitors but most were either on their way to or from the cafe. Much the same during the second hour. The smells from the room next door were making me hungry but it was too early to start eating so I concentrated on greeting anyone looking at my cards with a smile and sometimes even a few words, watching them as they checked out what was on offer. The ten stalls offering all kinds of wonderful handmade craft were politely admired by those passing through. Then there was a sale. Not on my stall but I felt happy knowing one of us sold something.... at last.
Of Cabbages and Kings, which took place the previous Saturday in Stoke Newington and our use of Twitter and Facebook. There was an interesting discussion on the merits of Etsy v Folksy. I was encouraged to set up shop on Etsy when I revealed I did not have a sellers account on that site, saying that I would find it great to use as there are many UK based crafters to be found there.
By mid afternoon it was so quiet that each of us found time to have a snack, browse or tweet on our phones. Ms Cat made a new sign to direct more traffic to our market placing it outside the door. I was optimistic that there would be a rush in the last couple of hours probably from people who having filled their bellies in the cafe would be ready to spend some money on something handmade. Then the rain came down.
It poured down actually.
That target was very important to me.
One of the cards I sold was bought by a woman who wanted a birthday card that would cheer up a friend of hers who was going through a difficult time. I directed her to the cards on my handmade display unit by the window and she selected one of the cards I created most recently, pictured below. I was particualrly pleased with that sale and I really hope it lifts the intended lady's spirits.
The rain stopped and then started again drawing more people, including children inside. There were still moments when it was quiet enough for stall holders to chat and talk about their creativity or welcome friends who passed through in support. One of my work colleagues suprised me by stopping by with her partner who bought one of my cards and another item from another stall. It was really good to see a familiar face. The sale was a bonus and I am very grateful.
Even before we packed up we were all agreeing that it was a good launch but were sure that the next one in October would be even better. I'm planning on being there myself. I'm going to make sure I bring a plain coloured cloth though so I can display more cards.
I thanked Ms Cat for all her support as I said goodbye, assuring her I'd enjoyed my first day as a craft stall holder and I plan to be back.
Think I'll make some Christmas cards for that one.