|by Barbara Bechtel|
Consequently, with financial and physical setbacks, I've had to rethink my plans for the latter part of 2013 and looking into 2014, I've really been thinking about ways to get my work more into my local community and build my business locally rather than focus so much as I have in the past on the internet. My decision for this is several-fold. First of all considering the type of work that I enjoy doing. Not only do I enjoy making jewelry and beads, I also enjoy mixed media work, decorative home decor, and paper crafts. For that reason, I find doing production work in any one of these areas mind-blowingly difficult. That also makes applying to and being accepted to Fine Art or Craft Shows difficult for me because I do not have a singular focus. Financially and logistically, these types of shows are often prohibitive for me as well. Secondly, the area where I live (the space coast of Florida) is not a known area for the types of locavore, hip-happening, community events that happen in larger cities. Even close by larger cities such as Jacksonville and Orlando (and not living IN those cities, sometimes makes it difficult for me to find out about opportunities.)
|part of my weekly set up|
There are lots of little local markets popping up and I've had success this past year setting up regularly at some, but not ALL, of these types of markets. What I love about these little local markets is that A) they're usually pretty inexpensive to set up at and B) you really get to meet and greet your neighbors. These markets also work great for me because I can take all of the variety of goodies that I make and sell and set up my own little shop once or twice a week! It thrills me to no end when someone asks, "Do you have a brick and mortar shop?" It feels like validation to me when folks think that my wares are artfully displayed as in a cute little boutique that lines the streets of that hip little section of "INSERT COOL SHOPPING DISTRICT OF ANYTOWN, USA HERE"....
|larger view...this market happens to take place in a beautiful shady park along the Intercoastal Waterway...bonus: NO TENT NEEDED (unless it's supposed to rain!!!)|
I've also met local shop and restaurant owners, swapped business cards and ideas with other like-minded individuals. It has a great local feeling, which is sometimes absent from traditional shows I've done.
|setting up for a one day trunk show earlier this year outside a local boutique.|
Oh, but it's a CRAP TON of work....and exhausting, and some days (although not lately, knock on wood) I come home with less money than I set out with.....but at the end of the day, I feel super satisfied about meeting more people and seeking that community connection that the natural layout of this area doesn't promote. This feeling is not dissimilar from preparing for a regular show, just once a week!!!
|sunrise shot from the local market I've recently been setting up at....now you see why I'm having these crazy ideas! Who wouldn't want to come here and shop or set up for a market every week?!|
So for 2014, I'm looking forward to expanding on these ideas and I hope to report back to you here!
Have you set up at local weekly/monthly artisan or farmer's markets with success? What has been your experience?