Another Market, Another Experience

So, last Saturday Babayaya’s Handmade Creations attended the River Market Artisans Market. If you read My First Craft Market post from December you will know that I am fairly new to this market business. I wasn’t very successful at that market and this one was another bust. After the Christmas Craft Fair I also tried the Cloverdale Flea Market which also wasn’t successful.

I decided that the Christmas Craft Fair, which was held at an elementary school, and the Flea Market were probably the wrong venues. The first one wasn’t well marketed so therefore, wasn’t well attended and the second one was more geared towards people looking for the deal of the century (and not so much quality artisan goods).

When I came across the Artisans Market I was a little doubtful being that it was in January which is probably not a great month for markets being that Christmas is only just behind us. However, I did notice that the market would be held in conjunction with the Royal City Farmers Market. This gave me hope. I previously lived in New Westminster and while I had not attended any winter markets I had met the people who run the RCFM and was impressed by their passion. New Westminster also has a very community spirited community. The table fee wasn’t too expensive so I decided to give it a shot.

The farmer’s market was set up on the main floor and the artisan’s were set up on the upper floor. There were probably 10 artisan’s in total. Throughout the day it seemed to me that there was far more traffic downstairs than up. We did have people come through but it seemed there were more looky loos than people wanting to buy lovely things.

It seems to me that markets are a tricky business. In speaking to a couple of the other vendors all I really heard was “you never really knew when you would do well or not” and “it’s really hit or miss”. One lady even said that often she would decide she was giving up then suddenly she would do well.

So, of course, all I have are questions  running through my head: “There are 4 more Artisans Markets, is it even worth trying again?”, “Is it because it is January?”, “Would the market right before Valentine’s Day be more successful?”, “Can I justify spending another table fee to see?”.

And nobody can answer these question so I have to follow my gut. And my gut is telling me to wait until the summer markets.

To add to the trickiness there are a number of specialty markets coming up. However, their table fees are much more substantial. So far, my market experience has been abysmal. Perhaps the fact that they are specialty markets means that they are well attended by people intending to buy things there. I can only hope so. I have been accepted to the Town and Country Vintage Market in June and am really excited about it. However, there are other fabulous markets to apply to that look like they would be great to be a vendor at, too. But, without having the experience of knowing how well I would do it is hard to determine whether I should apply to them all and spend the high table fees if I am accepted. Of course, they would be worth it if I did do well but I can’t necessarily afford them if I don’t sell anything. There also is a certain value to getting your name out there the more you attend markets but that is impossible to gauge.

And, of course, you have to apply now for markets that are in a few months. Hopefully, I will figure out more before the Christmas applications are out in late spring/early summer (although there is already one Christmas market you can apply for now!).

I also want to apply to be a vendor at the White Rock Farmer’s Market (my local market). Applications have opened up for the 2015 season but I am stuck at trying to figure out how many markets to attend. You get a reduced rate if you commit to half of them and a further reduced rate if you commit to all of them. But even committing to more than one can be a little scary without having historical data on how well I might do. I think I have decided to do one a month just through July, August and September. Even so when I finally send the application in I might not get accepted anyway.

This whole market business is a bit crazy making. There is a balance you have to find in finding markets you will be successful at versus being actually accepted to those markets (because I have actually applied to some markets and not gotten in either).  I will be happy when I have more experience and less wondering.

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2 thoughts on “Another Market, Another Experience

  1. Hi Karen
    Totally shared what you expereinced last pre-Christmas season. Booked four shows and wasn’t sure if its worth spending hours behind a dead table, away from your family, away from house chores that only get done over weekends. It really is a ‘hit-miss’ situation. That’s what I have learned too. I will try Summer/Fall markets more this year and not return to the dead ones this year.

    • Yes, when you are there you really can’t help but think of everything else you could be doing (and there is so much)! Good luck with your markets. I would love to hear how you do. It would help in trying to figure out the puzzle of making markets a success.

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