What To Make? What To Make?

A bit about deciding what you could make for market.

The Curated Shop is stocked full of unique, one-of-a-kind handcrafted products. Ever wonder where all these makers get their ideas from and how they come to a decision on what they should create to sell? Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a living creating handcrafted goods? Maybe you are wondering if you have what it takes to come up with a one-of-a-kind idea yourself that people will be lined up to purchase?!! I am not claiming to be an expert in the maker world, but I have been able to observe and discover, over the years, the local maker scene as my mom, (hi Mom!) started turning our house into an work studio as she began her own maker business. I began to discover, through working at markets, such as The Curated Market, meeting other makers, and living in a “makers house” what it takes to come up with a new and exciting ideas and the work involved in running a handcrafted business. I eventually tested the waters discovering my own maker business, Blue Leaf Crochet. Here are a couple tips and ideas I have gleaned from observing local makers (and from becoming one myself) on how to find something worth making + selling:

1. If you’re already good at something, why not run with that, and if not are you willing to put in the time to become a self-taught artist?

Members of my own family have all created businesses from skills they were both taught and other skills that they learned themselves. They spent time learning, then practicing how to perfect that skill, and then went and turned that information into creative businesses. It can make for an easier start-up to your business if you don’t have to teach yourself a brand new skill. For example, if you remember woodworking back in high-school and also remember enjoying it, maybe you want to revive those skills and make a list of what you could create from wood that people could use in their homes, or if you know hot to bake, and you brownies are the first to disappear when you bring dessert to your friends BBQ, it is possible you could take those skills you already have and turn them into a thriving business. 

Chances are if you’re good at something, and you like doing it, with a bit of hard work, you can craft something from those learned skills that people will love. If you have not been taught a craft of any kind, no worries! Lots of makers learn along the way, are self-taught, and become simply awesome at what they make. If you think you would like to tach yourself a craft, and are willing to put some time aside to do just that, look for tutorials online, or local art/craft classes. You really wont know what you like to make until you actually try making it!  

2. Selling products that have a special meaning to you is another way to discover what you could create.

Think about what you love, what motivates you or what your personal interests are. Selling something you already love makes it much easier for you to enjoy it and stay motivated putting in the effort to create it for others. Whether it’s children’s clothing, because you love your kids and want them to have handcrafted unique items to wear, or jewelry because you love wearing it and want to develop one-of-a-kind earrings you have pictured in your mind but have never found on a store shelf. Having something that is meaningful to you that you can connect to your product will give you extra motivation to create. For me, I started crocheting ear warmers because my grandma had taught me hot to crochet when I was little, and I love hair styling and hair related things. I combined those two meaningful and familiar things and started crocheting ear warmers that were multi-functional as hair bands. A cute way of not messing up your hairstyle, but keeping your ears warm in the process!

Image By: Blue Leaf Crochet


3. How much space/time and motivation do you have to dedicate to learning and perfecting a craft?

Becoming a maker takes a lot of personal dedication and self-motivation. You have to wake up and get yourself motivated to work on your own. You get to be your own boss when you are a maker, and along with that perk comes the responsibility of having determination and self-discipline to actually put in the time to not only create, but keep proper paperwork, market, price your work, etc. (that’s a whole other blog for another time!!). There are endless possibilities to the things you can create, but something that may end up holding you back is the space you actually have to do it in, or the amount of time you are able to dedicate to it. For example, making jewelry will not take up the same amount of area as something who wants to re-purpose furniture, or make artwork. If you are just starting out, make sure you have the right amount of space for what it is that you want to create. Different products also take different amounts of time to make. So be sure to evaluate how much time you can take out of your day to create, promote, and sell your products. Ask yourself, do you want to five in and do this full time? More than likely you will need to work at it diligently during your free hours. Most makers start out with having a second job until they get their maker business up and running, others take the leap and go full out with their business plan.  

What does it come down to?!

If you think you would like to start your own maker business, and possibly develop a product that you could see on the shelves of The Curated Shop, start by making a list of any skills you already have, crafts you would be willing to take time to teach yourself or trades that you would be willing to invest in some time and classes to learn. Then, add to this list things that you feel passionate about such as green living, products for animals, natural body products, etc. The ask yourself, am I willing to create the space and give the time and commitment needed to make this happen. If the answer is yes, there is no stopping those who are willing to work hard to learn and grow and not stop until they see their vision come to life! Learn more about the hard-working makers in our store next time you stop in!!
Written By Arika – Assistant Manager – The Curated Shop Southcentre Mall

♻Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Buying Reloved Furniture is Great for Our Environment!

 We are all familiar with the phrase reduce-reuse-recycle, but did you know they are placed in that order for a reason? Once you understand the reasoning behind this order it makes total sense.  First and foremost we must reduce, where we cannot reduce, we must reuse. Finally, if we really need to buy something and simply can’t reuse it, we recycle and only as a last resort. Frizzled Feather has a few suggestions to help you do your part for the environment, save money and keep on point with the latest trends in home furnishings and decor! Reduce– reduce what you buy and lower the amount of trash that needs to be disposed of in our landfills. Instead of buying that relatively inexpensive big box store piece of particleboard furniture, think about its life expectancy. Will it last as long as you want it too? These days we’re lucky if some of the furniture we buy new lasts as long as the time it takes to put it together! Will it be of value to someone else after you’re finished with it? Can you pass it on to your children when they move out on their own? If the answer to any of these is “no” maybe you should stop and rethink your purchase. But what, you ask, is the alternative if you don’t want to take out a second mortgage to furnish your house with quality, stylish pieces? We have a great suggestion. Have one of your existing pieces restyled by a local furniture artist to fit your current décor! This choice can prevent that solid wood dresser with peeling veneer or that vintage scratched up dining room set with the three wobbly legs from filling up our landfill. After a few repairs and some professionally applied techniques these pieces can be restyled into a gorgeous statement pieces that will be the subject of “oohs and ahhs” at your next family gathering.

This dresser was in mighty rough shape. A little paint and tung oil turned his life around!


Reuse items instead of buying new!

Buy second hand. When I was a kid I was mortified whenever my mom bought me something from a dreaded second hand store. Back in the day the rule was you were never to be seen near a thrift store by your peers, let alone shopping at one! Times have changed for me these days. Now my mother and I can be found scouring every second hand shop we can find. I have learned the value of a quality piece of furniture or an older piece of home décor that will look fabulous in my home – and the value of not paying retail for it. It is unfortunate many in our society shun shopping second hand, and for those who do, they certainly do not advertise. For some of us it continues to have a certain social stigma attached to it. Now imagine the positive environmental impact, if in addition to reducing what we buy, we also reused on a regular basis?!! Do not let the stigma of “second hand” prevent you from owning a quality item.  Purchasing a solid wood dresser, coffee table, buffet, china cabinet or a super cool lamp, etc. and having it refinished at a fraction of the cost of quality new piece will enable you to contribute to this noble cause. The piece will suit your decor perfectly and, because it is well constructed, it will last long enough to pass down to your children.

All Viktoria here needed was a bit of stain and paint and she now is a trendy addition to her new home!

  Perhaps you don’t even have to search for an item, you may already own it and are thinking of donating it. Stop and give this some thought. We find that many people inherit their parent’s or grandparent’s furniture and have no idea what to do with it because it doesn’t fit their decor. Chances are pretty good your grandmother’s bedroom ensemble is constructed with more craftsmanship than many made today. If it was manufactured prior to the 1980s that set is probably Canadian made and solid wood! Do yourself a favour and keep it- have it restyled. A bit of work at the hands of a talented furniture artist and Grandma’s set will look as good as new, perhaps even better! If this doesn’t work for you,  by all means donate it – or sell it to us and we’ll take care of it!  

Hayworth here was on death’s doorstep. This beautiful Art Deco piece was definitely worth saving!

Recycle – lets face it, you cannot recycle everything but you can try to do as much as possible. Recycling is really the last option that should be considered. Oftentimes we think we have done our part simply by sorting and making sure we put recyclables in the “recycle” bin. This is all good and fine but many of us may not realize, even though it is being sent to be recycled it often has to be broken down and shipped by truck across the country (sometimes across the world) to be processed. This is a very expensive, energy consuming process and in many instances, not feasible. This is the reason different municipalities and counties have various rules in regards to what they recycle. In many municipalities wood products are simply burned or buried. As far as furniture goes, in our little business we try our best as to keep any of it from heading to the landfill, but there are times when some pieces are truly beyond repair. We strip all reusable hardware and the parts that can be utilized and use them create a new piece. For instance, we once used half a table to make a totally awesome craft table! We honestly cannot remember the last time we “trashed” something.

Intercepted on his way to the dumpster. We transformed this guy into a bathroom vanity fit for a king!

Moral of the story-buy quality reused, restyled furniture that will look fantastic in your home, feel good you did your part for the environment and you bank account! Thanks a ton for reading our spiel. Jesse & Laurie www.facebook.com/frizzledfeather1

Creating is for everyone. It’s so true!

img_1251 My name is Annita Phagoo Nichol and I started Remade by Meebs 4 years ago, an adventure focusing on using clothes and other found fabric and re-making them into one of a kind aprons to sell at markets. With encouragement and support of family & friends and inspired by entrepreneurs like Candace Boudreau, curator of Curated, I’m taking my first steps on a new path in this journey. The Remade Upcycle Sewing Event launches Nov 10th for 4 days. Over the course of this time I will be testing my rhetoric and putting my money where my mouth is! I’m lucky enough to be from a family of makers and grew up in a “just try it” environment. I’m convinced that anyone can sew and this fall, I hope to recreate the optimistic and supported environment of my past to bring people together and see what they can do. Upcycling trash fabric is an inexpensive and ethical opportunity to express creativity and have fun while actively contributing to the future of our environment. Textile recycling is happening in our city, but an estimated 6 million of pounds of textiles still went into Calgary landfill last year. With this volume of unwanted material the pressure is off, from my perspective, for attempting any and all upcycle projects. It’s our obligation to be more creative in this waste. Over the course of the Remade weekend participants will be upcycling with purpose, creating aprons for a local non-profit; having fun with fashion during our refashionista swap & chop; and making kids wear and aprons from adult clothing. Participants are encouraged to bring items they no longer use and see if we can give them new life. This is a shared learning environment with participants of all sewing skill levels attending. My mom is coming, so we’re all set! Something new, even for me, is the craft activism session where we’ll collaborate, share and craft around the first bra experiences of young women through the generations. Inspired by some challenging conversations this summer with my 12 year old niece and her mother, my sister, about the portrayal of female sexuality I am compelled to create a space for women to discuss this very thing. Is it, or should it be, a reality that my sister should encourage her young daughter to dress on the conservative side so as not to draw unwelcome attention? If that’s the case, then why is it that when bra shopping for that very same young girl, finding anything but an overly sexualized push up bra is impossible? What are the conflicting messages about our sexuality that we receive daily as women and how do we navigate them so as not to lose sense of true ownership of our decisions and who we are? So… let’s craft on it and see what comes up! Together the group will create bras and form our statement. All will be displayed during the Remade event and we’ll discuss how we can keep the conversation going with our bra bombing. More information on sessions and tickets for the Remade Upcycle Sewing Event are available here. Creating is for everyone. It’s so true! Be bold friends.

Tips to have a Kick Butt Market Shopping Experience

Hello! I’m Chantal and I’m the 26 year old knitta behind Knitatude. I have had my little knitting biz for over 2 years and have fallen in love with the maker community. Most of my gal pals I have made through this wonderful world of hand mak-ers and I’m proud to say that I’m the president of YYC Girl Gang here in Calgary. Since my season of markets is only a small portion of the year (aka the frigid months) I love going to support my friends and vendors on the opposite side of the table. These are some things I have learnt along the way! Ok: Christmas is quickly approaching and everyone is on the lookout for the perfect unique gift. Why not choose handmade? It makes each gift that much more special. As you’re going through your market hopping here are some suggestions on how to make it a great experience!  

1. Bring a Friend

Shopping is meant to be done in groups right? Whether it’s with your gaggle of gals, or maybe even your partner, browsing is so much more fun with someone else . *Hint hint this is also a great way to nudge that person in the direction of showing what you want under your tree!* Don’t forget that having a friend tag along means you can get a second opinion on that cute necklace you’re looking at or that knit toque you’ve been eying for months.  

2. Check out the Vendor list

Most markets now will show you the amazing line up on vendors that will be selling their wares the day of the event. You can usually find this is on their social media feeds, or on their website leading up in the weeks to their market date. Take a few moments to head to their Facebook event page or website and see the amazing people they have in advance so you can scope out the goodies and beeline it to your favourite booths – just in case they sell out! You never know what amazing people you will find when clicking through the rabbit hole of links. Vendor list

3. Research those Artisans

This is the best part. Get your best creep on and head to the social media pages of the artists you’re interested in. You’ll get to see what kind of items they’ll have to sell and how much each costs while make that mental (or physical) check list in your head – ticking off every family member present before the market doors even open! Plus you’ll probably get a glimpse of the makers behind their products. Not going to lie – they’re usually pretty damn cool and awesome people.  

4. Bring Cash

Some vendors may be pretty new to the market scene and will not have the fancy smanchy machines to take debit or credit. Take some cash with you just in case you find something you really want. This can come in handy just in case there isn’t an ATM at the event, if the odd chance that it has run out of bills to dispense, or you can’t beg your friend enough to lend you some bills.  

5. Grab that Business Card

The day is going to be hectic, and the market is probably going to be crazy. If you see something you like but may not be able to afford at the moment or just want to wait on – grab their business card! You’ll be seeing a bunch of people and their business name may slip your mind a couple weeks down the road. Having their business card will come in handy when those brain farts happen. welcome yyc babies Most of all HAVE FUN! Check out the things you’ve never seen before, say hello and be curious. Artisans love chatting about their work and will love to talk to you about their businesses and products. Happy shopping!   Photo credit goes to Suzanne Nolan for the girl Gang photo!

What If Nobody Likes Me? (And Other Thoughts Makers Have Before A Market)


Hello! My name is Courtney Hanak, and I run WilliamRaeDesigns, a handcrafted sign biz I started in 2014. I’m 23 (but 40 at heart) and I enjoy being loud, dancing like crazy, burgers, my 2-year-old daughter, my cats, my horses and movies and tv (My favorites to name a few are: Any Fast and the Furious movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Office, Parks and Rec, Mean Girls, Scream Queens, Dr. Who, Sherlock (the BBC version, obvi) and the entire Lord of The Rings Trilogy. OH! And Harry Potter (duh!). Dallas Green is my hero, along with Gord Downie, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Kate McKinnon (I’m totally turned on by people who can make me laugh). Ok, that’s lots. You know me now. Like I said above, I own a company called WilliamRaeDesigns. We make wood signs by hand in our shop in Morinville Alberta. I’ve recently hired Lori to help our with sign production so I can write blog posts all day (kidding). I’ve started to focus more on travelling Alberta and doing markets, as well as our booming Etsy store and social media platforms. I’m sitting in front of my computer today, to share some of the tips about markets that I’ve learned in the past few years. I’ve been doing markets since I was 20, so 3 years of experience ain’t too shabby. I’m still learning something new at each market, but I’ve thought up some tips that I know to share with you today. Read on!  

1. Pricing (ie. Every Makers Worst Nightmare)

Pricing your product is hands down, the MOST important (and thought about) aspect of doing a market. What if it’s too high and people don’t buy anything? What if it’s too low and people think it’s cheaply made? Should I offer a discount? And so on. Listen, pricing your products is simple to me. Do you value your time? Yes, you do. Then charge appropriately for it. Here is my pricing breakdown.
  • Figure out the price of materials you require to make 1 item.
  • Keep track of how long it takes you to make 1 item.
  • Ask yourself how much you would like to be paid for your time to make said item.
  • Multiply the hours it took to make 1 item by how much you would like to be paid per hour. Add on material costs. That’s your price. Round it up if you want, but never down. YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE!!!! PLEASE REALIZE THIS!
Simply put Makers, you will never receive something if you don’t ask. Don’t undersell yourself. It is by far the biggest crime I see at markets. My FIRST MARKET EVER, the doors opened, people charged in, a lady walked into my booth and immediately asked for prices. I told her. She looked me dead in the eye, and said “That’s too much.” Then walked out. But guess what? She obviously didn’t value my time or my work. And that’s her problem, not mine. If someone isn’t going to buy something from you, they aren’t going to buy something. It’s that simple. Pricing your products $10 cheaper because you think it will make them more appealing, is just simply not true. Be confident in your work, and own your prices. Don’t even look at your competitor’s prices because it doesn’t matter. BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR WORK AND YOUR PRICES. VALUE YOUR TIME. Please, dear god, keep this as your mantra. I could write another blog post entirely on this topic (Candice, please add this idea to the books).

2. Creative Booth Design

Your booth will set you apart. I underline you because your booth should literally just be an extension of you and your product. Being you will make you unique, I promise you! Find styles, and objects that you love and incorporate them in your booth somehow. I find booth design to be easy, because there are SOOOOO many areas to get inspiration from. First of all, Pinterest. Just type in ‘Craft Booth Displays’, it’s a gold mine! Couldn’t find anything on Pinterest? Fine. Take a walk to some adorable downtown shops and get inspiration from those. Go to a local craft fair and see what other genius and creative ideas people have had. I’m going to stop here, and make a quick note. BE INSPIRED. DON’T STEAL (more on this later). Your booth design will vary greatly depending on what you sell. Makers who have smaller items, can easily get away with folding tables with nice table cloths. Makers like me, who have larger items, have to get creative (I’ve attached some shots of my booth displays so you can see what I’m talking about). I’ve gathered a few tips and thoughts that always have when thinking about booth design. They are in no order, but they are all equally important.
  • Take advantage of rubbermaids! You can get them on sale at Canadian Tire, and they can be stacked, hidden under tables, and easily packed into a vehicle.
  • I love using my Michaels coupons, to get those beautiful flower garlands they have that cost a small fortune (hence the coupon). In my opinion, they really do add a nice pop to a booth, and look 10X better than the crappy dollar store ones.
  • So important. Always double check the contract and find out if you will need lighting. Some shows dim the lights. Some don’t. Let me tell you, if they dim the lights you WILL NEED lights!!! It’s freakin’ dark. I get my string lights from hardware stores after the summer when they all go on sale. Amazon also has a good selection of string lights. Lights that can be clamped onto different aspects of your display are good too. I find those and IKEA and Walmart.
  • Check your contract (or with the show organizer) to see if you will have electricity. Some shows require you to pay extra and some don’t. It all depends on what show, so READ YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY. Also, extension cords. Don’t skimp on extension cords.
  • Bring a dolly!!! You can get them at Canadian Tire on sale for $75!! WORTH IT!
  • Again, read the contract. Some shows have height restrictions, some don’t. Some only provide you with 800 watts of electricity, some don’t. It all depends on the show, and this will almost ALWAYS affect your booth design.
  • Always have your prices properly displayed. It’s so easy to use a chalkboard easel, and a chalkboard marker to write out your prices. It drives me crazy when people just have a piece of paper sloppily taped to their tape stating their prices. No. This may just be personal preference, but try to have your prices displayed so people don’t have to ask. Some people just aren’t confident asking. Which is fine. Just provide them with prices so they don’t have to ask.
  • Is your market an outdoor market? You’ll need a tent (Walmart and Costco have great options). You’ll also NEED weights. I have seen many a tent turn into a kite in my day, and I’ll telling you weights are a must for outdoor markets. A minimum of 15lbs per tent leg is great. I use buckets full of sand (you can see the big white buckets in the pictures below). But I have seen other people use milk jugs full of cement, PVC pipe filled with sand, anything really that can hold your tent down in a storm.
  • Display your business cards so people can grab them if you’re busy with another customer.
  • If you are handy and building you display from scratch keep in mind a few things. Can you move it easily? It’s easy to put castors on the bottom of larger pieces so you can easily roll them in and out. Make sure it can fit through a standard door. This will save many tears in front of other vendors and market organizers. Consider how long your set up time is. Some shows give you an entire day before the market to set up. Some give you 2 hours. Some give you 4. Again, read that contract.
To sum up, be creative and be you when it comes to booth design. Did you find a funky table cloth at a flea market and love it? Bring it. Do you prefer a plain burlap table cloth that adds to your product? Use it. Make your booth an extension of you and your product. READ THE CONTRACT. post26 post24 post25

3. Cash is King (But Credit and Debit Machines Are Badass Queens)

Obviously you’ll accept cash (buy a cash box and keep a minimum of $40 in fivers in that baby. They come in handy for Starbucks and change). But keep in mind, not all markets will have access to an ATM for customers. This is where these handy-dandy card readers come in. Being able to accept a card has increased my sales at markets by 40-50%. The most popular one is Square. Which is great. It offers a full inventory management system, the ability to create employee profiles so you know who is selling what and where. They also generate reports that makes doing taxes easy. Its also very user friendly. AND you get the card reader for free. AND you can buy them at Best Buy for only $10 if you need more (or lose one…) BUT you can only accept credit. I recommend Square if you are just starting out and are feeling a little stressed about the whole market experience. Seriously, it’s the easiest to use and will cause virtually no stress at all. Keep in mind, you will have to pay a certain percentage to Square for using their service. Moneris offers a great service called PAYD that allows you to accept both credit and debit. They actually have three different options for mobile card readers. This allows you to really pick what’s best for your business. You can get a machine that just accepts credit, or one that attaches to your phone OR you can even get an entirely separate terminal that tales credit and debit. Fancy. Keep in mind, you may have to pay monthly fees to use their devices and services. This can be a huge deal to people who only use a card reader a few times a year. Dream payments is another option for credit and debit. What I like about Dream is that they don’t charge you monthly fees, or cancellation fees (just like square). It’s easy to set up, and you can schedule your deposits for as early as the next business day. The only thing I don’t like about Dream is that it can be unreliable. It’s the WORST when you’re at a market on Saturday and your card reader system goes down… What’s the point of even having it if you can’t rely on it when you need it. I would cry, honestly. When picking a card reader, you’ll really have to take a look at all of your options and figure out what works best for your biz. Do you do a farmers market every Saturday, so you’ll be using it often? It may be worth the monthly fees. Only participate in 2 markets a year? Pick one that offers only charges you when you use it. Do you really want to accept both debit and credit or are you ok with just accepting credit? Just some things to think about! Bottom line, get a card reader. People don’t carry cash anymore. I’ve lost sales because people didn’t want to walk to an ATM. So just get a card reader, K?


Guys, this is so easy. Stealing is stealing. Don’t steal someone’s intellectual property. Don’t steal someone’s booth design. Or their t-shirt design. Or whatever. No excuses. Design your product and make it so that it reflects you! Not someone else. Come up with your own ideas. Keep in mind the difference between being inspired by someone’s work and straight up copying it. Just don’t do it. It’s happened to me before and it absolutely sucks. I don’t want it to happen to any of you, and I don’t want any of you to do it to someone else. End Rant.

5. You Will Forget Something. Don’t Sweat It.

I still forget stuff. You will too. It’s just life. My biggest advice here is to buy a duffel bag, make a list of stuff you’ll need at a show, and fill that duffel bag with that list. This aspect of doing markets is entirely trail and error. You’ll be standing in your booth looking for a band-aid for your finger you sliced open, only to realize you don’t have band-aids (this has happened to me).  Or someone will pop their head into your booth and ask for scissors. Or you need twine, or chalk, or pens, or elastics or whatever! Here’s my duffel bag list so you can get an idea of what you may need.
Cash Box (with card reader inside) Pens/Pencils/Sharpies
Scissors Advil and Tylenol
Business cards Twine
A hammer and screw driver and plyers Price tags
Tweezers Bobby pins and hair elastics
Deodorant * IMPORTANT Scotch tape and Duct Tape
Band Aids Clothes pins and thumb tacs
Phone charger A magic eraser
Paper towels Kleenex
Hand lotion + sanitizer Glasses cleaner
Hopefully this list will get you started. I seriously encourage you to start your own list. Every business will be different and you may need way more or way less then what’s included on this list. Lists make me happy. And keep in mind that you will most likely still forget something. Don’t beat your self up, because you will still continue living without whatever you forgot. Unless it’s like your husband, or kid or something. They will remember being left behind at a craft show and will make you pay huge therapy bills later.

6. What if I Don’t Sell A Single Thing?

You may not. But I’m like 99% sure you will as long as you are a nice person, who smells ok, isn’t dressed like a hobo and isn’t making complete garbage that falls apart when you touch it (if you got into a show you are not making complete garbage, so you can check that off of your to-stress-about list). My biggest advice here is to be confident in what you have done. Be confident that your product rocks. Be confident that your booth display rocks. Just be confident. I know. Way easier said than done, but please just fake it until you make it. PEOPLE LIKE YOU, OK!?! (I’m sorry I had to yell) For now, to prove that all Makers have the same thoughts, here are some thoughts I STILL have while driving to Markets:
  1. Did I put deodorant on?
  2. What if I don’t sell anything?
  3. What if my booth neighbours are meanies?
  4. Can you actually die from embarrassment?
  5. I think I left the stove on.
  6. My vehicle is so jam packed, that if the trunk pops open I will be sprinting all over the highway after my belongs.
  7. I think I’m lost.
  8. Ok now I’m sure I’m lost.
  9. *hyperventilating*
  10. Now I’m lost and late.
  11. Sweet Mercy, I have made it! Good job, hero!
See you will still have these thoughts even after 3 years of Market prep! I will have them for my entire life I’m sure. Just trust that you will sell something. OR even better, take comfort in the fact that even if you don’t sell anything you can still pass out business cards and get your name out there. Hopefully you can even take home a few pointers from your fellow Makers on how to make your booth and product better. Don’t be afraid to ask from tips.

7. Be Yourself.

I will preach this until the day I die. Do you know how amazing it is that you are a human being and not a giraffe? In a Ted Talks from 2011, Mel Robbins talked about how the chances that you are you is about 1 in 400 trillion. This number takes into account the chance of your parents meeting and reproducing, the chance of you even being born, and a ton of other crazy factors that go into each individual person. Is that not amazing!? Please, let that fact blow your mind. Take a few seconds and think about how much 400 trillion actually is. If this thought does not give you some sort of power in yourself as a human being than I honestly don’t know what to say that will make you understand the gravity of your life as a human. This also means that your thoughts, your feelings, your words, everything about you, is 100% unique because guess what!?! You are the only you there is.
“There is no one alive, that is youer than you.”

                        -Dr. Suess

My whole point is, there is so much power in being yourself. Use that power. Use it in your product. Use it in your booth. I just clued in this year, that customers are coming to this markets to meet me (ie. The Maker). If they weren’t interested in buying unique products made by real humans then they wouldn’t be at a market, they would be at Walmart. People are coming to my booth, to hear from me. To get my thoughts on what décor pieces would look best in their homes. It’s the same thing for you. People are coming to get an idea of who you are. So show them. Just keep in mind, that not everyone will like your products or your vibe and that’s totally ok, because other people will. This has got to be the biggest thing I have learned about markets this year. The power of being yourself. post23 post22 post21

8. Every Maker Needs A Show Wife. Or Husband. I’ll Explain.

I have what I like to call my “Show Wives”. I also have a few “Show Husbands”. I’ll explain.   My show wives and husbands are people that I have met at markets, who know exactly what doing a market and running your own handmade business is like. You will need these people. You cannot do this alone. And you shouldn’t force yourself to. Find your show wives or husbands. These are people you can text at 5am on market day and say “I forgot my Square reader, can you bring yours!?” and they will. Also, “I think I have to cry, can I hide in your booth for a second?” and they’ll let you. “I have to pee, please watch my booth!!” They’ll ask you, “Hey, I’m doing a coffee run, need anything?” Or “Listen, I need to get away from my booth, can you sneak away for the fastest lunch break of all time?” And they’ll sneak away with you. I ask them about their day, and they ask me about mine. We go out for dinner after the markets. We get a beer and relax. I vacation with these wives and husbands. I cannot express what my show wives and husbands mean to me. I encourage you to find your own. How do you find your own you ask? Be yourself. And be kind. It’s amazing the types of relationships that can start by just being kind and helping out your fellow Makers. Walk around when you get 15 minutes and just talk to other makers. Be genuinely interested in what they are creating. That’s how I found mine. Lot’s of hugs, and tears and talks and alcohol helped solidify our bonds. That part is optional.

9. Participating in Markets is Hard Work.

My last bit of market prep advice is this. Doing these markets is hard work. Physically and emotionally. You will often be hauling your product through doors, or up stairs in all kinds of weather AND you’ll be doing this with 50 or 80 or sometimes even 300 other Makers trying to do the exact same thing. Parking is always a nightmare. ALWAYS. You’re expected to work long market hours, and talk to people even when you don’t feel like it. It’s not fun. In fact, it’s really hard. And stressful. And frustrating. All of these emotions are just a part of the experience. The best way to cope with this is to just surf the wave. If you can surf the crazy market wave instead of stand with your feet planted you will be much happier. That’s good advice for life in general, actually. I’ll end on that note.  

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