Rainy Summer Markets
Summertime weekends for Studdly, and many other small businesses means passing up on many outdoor BBQs and beach days. It’s our job to be there for the customers as they peruse around fair tents while munching on something yummy from local food trucks.
I won’t lie to you- those days are HARD for us vendors. Especially vendors like me, who choose to show far too many products and have a very involved display that takes ages to set up. Those days are even harder when it rains. I wrote this post to really thank all those South End Open Market shoppers from last Sunday who came out despite the gloomy weather. There is nothing more disheartening than the feeling of defeat while standing in a pair of wet sandals for 6 hours.
And sometimes, that’s what those markets will do to us vendors: completely defeat us. The stress to make enough sales causes that moment when I might break down and think “WHAT AM I TORTURING MYSELF FOR.” But then we see reviews and social media posts from new, pleased customers, and we realize there is still hope.
The average fair-goer’s afternoon will probably last from about 12:30 to 2:30, between transportation, grabbing a bite to eat, getting a good look at the products offered, and maybe even deciding on a purchase from their favorite vendor. For Studdly the day is a little different.
6am: shower and look presentable
7am: chug coffee, quick breakfast
7:30am: finish loading the car with cumbersome displays
8am: Arrive on location, unload the car, set up the tent, and transform the area into a temporary, inviting, retail space
It seems so simple written out that way…
By 10am, I am usually dripping with sweat, but customers have already started to come in to look around. I am usually still scrambling to add the finishing touches and final price tags. Then I immediately grab food if possible. Luckily, Bon Me usually is there to save the day.
For the next 6 hours, I stand and talk almost constantly. I keep smiling, willing anyone to come inside and take a look. Luckily, I have nailed my booth display so that people come in without much effort on my part. Now, I’m not saying it’s ALL that bad. It’s not. I love show days more than anything. It gives me the perfect excuse and best outlet for talking up Studdly, meeting new people, getting feedback on my latest designs, and making sales IN PERSON. The face-to-face is ever so important. But it doesn’t change the fact that Sundays (and every other day for that matter) can’t be lazy Sundays for me. As a 23-year-old girl living in a metropolitan area, I have to deny going out dancing with friends on a Saturday night because of the long day ahead.
Finally, at some point, I reach the end of the selling day.
4pm: break down the tent, take down jewelry and re-pack, lift display pieces into the car, wait alongside other vendors to pull out of the parking lot.
6pm: arrive home
- dripping with sweat
- dripping from rain
- all of the above
Those rainy days, hot days, slow days, and busy days at the markets are all good and bad in their own ways. I’ve had them all. But each day is a new experience, a new lesson learned, and a new set of people to impress with my latest goods and a fresh business card. I’ll be hustling until I can’t move this summer, so I hope you’ll come to visit me at a show in your area! It means to world to us small business owners to have a local support system. It’s truly what keeps us going.
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