3-12-17 Spring Delight Pop Up
This past saturday I had the priviledge of taking part in the Spring Delight Pop Up at the Catskill Distillery in Bethel, NY. 'Spring' seemed pretty ironic in the 30 mph winds, 14 degrees, and snow - but we were snug and toasty behind the floor to ceiling windows on the bar-side of the distillery. And what a homey atmosphere it was! This pop up was particularly special to me because it was my first time selling alongside my Aunt Debbie (and cousin Courtenay!).
My Aunt Debbie, of @ootragirl insta-fame, is fire. She is always making, always arranging, always adjusting. Growing up with her was equal parts fun, inspiring, and terrifying. She was always thinking up things to bring the community together. I remember in the summer when I was a kid, she would bring down a different craft every weekend for the little kids to work on. Beads, feathers, noodles, glitter... the works.
I consider myself a maker, and on occasion an artist, but not really a business manager, and definitely not a sales person. Debbie used to be in real estate and moved to retail, and you can tell. When I was a bit older I would sometimes help out in her various stores. Here is where I learned the behavior of a seller: "Don't chew gum" "Don't sit down" "Smile, I don't care if you're face starts to hurt!" "Ask people how their day is going" "If you're having a bad day, lie" "Is she crazy?!" "This is good shit! You can tell the good stuff from the cheap stuff. Yeah you can get a similar sweater at Target for 20$, but it's not as good quality, you're paying for the material, the investment, the time." And so on.
A bit later on I learned that the sale starts even before the person walks in. I still remember "helping" her set up a display. She walked over and said "Look at my display. Now look at yours. Would you want to pick up anything off your display? No, it's terrible, but that's okay! We're going to fix it, now listen up..." While I cowered and pouted I was also listening. She taught me about levels - the eye wants to wander, let it. It's important that your display has more than one level, that there's things on the walls, inviting people to pick things up and touch them. I also learned about color schemes - pick one and go with it, if something doesn't belong, keep it off the table or create a separate space for it. Last fall she texted me saying how beautiful my display looked at Renegade NYC and I nearly cried.
But yes, now on to the actual pop up. This was the first little fair I've done outside of New York City and it felt different, there were only about 7 vendors so there was a lot more interaction - which I loved!
Here are some pictures from the other vendors! A local bakery that had hamantaschen, croissants, cookies, and other delish things. I had a ham and pepperjack croissant, and a spinach and feta croissant.... okay also a cookie. All were delicious and were gone within a minute. The second photo is of photos of birds by Nick Hawvermale. I have two prints of his at home already, but was feeling tempted to get more. And the third picture is from Kilted Suds. She makes her own soaps and lotions and look at her awesome crochet loofahs!!
In the beginning of the day the traffic was a bit more sparse - 14 degrees and high winds can do that. So the daughter of one of the other sellers came over. She had lots of questions about everything I was doing. "What are you knitting?" "Oh, then what's crochet?" "What's the difference between crochet and knitting?" "Can you teach me?" "Do you have any extra yarn?" The girl looked about 8 so I wasn't sure she could even learn crochet but I gave her my 9 mm and some extra yarn. She had ch stitch down in about 30 minutes and went ahead with searching my bag for any other scraps she could find. She made three bracelets and one necklace and decided it was time to go into business. She asked me about pricing - "I think the necklace could be a dollar?" "Just make sure you think about your investment as well as your materials," I said, "If you get your own hook that's about a dollar, plus whatever you spend on yarn, plus how long that took to make." I looked at her. She looked back. "Five dollars!" she said. I looked at Debbie.
By the end of the pop up she had sold her chain st necklace, which she called "Snowey White". She also made a sign which she clipped onto mine "Stitchy Tori: Always A Handful of Pretty" and said she couldn't wait til our next pop up together, and that it was good doing business with me... I never even got to tell her about the levels!
Overall it was a wonderful afternoon. The energy in the room, the warmth at the bar, and the general community, which you don't always get with big city shows. Even if I hadn't sold anything it would have been worth it.