market lessons learnt

Still feel like I’ve got first-market-hangover, but slowly getting over it. I’ve learnt lots from this first market..... the main one being how hard it is to sell your own work!

It’s actually quite horrible - and I’d much rather hide behind an on-line shop than face people. I’m just no good at selling my own work – and say all the wrong things! It’s really hard to try and make small-talk and inform people about the process without it sounding like a sales pitch – so very often I said nothing.

When I sold one of my new wall-plates I panicked and then didn’t wrap it properly, had the wrong size bag and after the customer left I felt awful that I made such a mess of it! One of the good things of selling on-line is you can be ‘hidden’ from the selling process and almost separate yourself from it. You can take the time to make sure everything is packaged correctly and looks nice - which is really important to me, but at the market I felt under pressure and realised I had no space to easily wrap and package the goods apart from the floor!

The pricing of my products has a big impact on sales and I think even though it is a market selling all hand-made / designed products there is still an expectation that these will be at fairly cheap prices. When you sell through a retailer (as I am) you need to make sure your prices are consistent with their selling price (you can’t undercut them) and so it does make the pricing very difficult to tailor to a market.

Ho-hum. It was a good learning process for me anyway – and I hope that things can only get better for next time!


  1. Hi Lucy, it sounds like you did a great job! And your stall looks lovely. Don't be too hard on yourself, I don't think I would be able to do it (I'm such an introvert, and I always say the wrong thing) but I think it's wonderful that you are giving it a go - and you can only get better! And it all goes towards building your 'Me Old China' profile.

  2. Thanks Allison - I hope it will get better and easier the more I do them! Thanks for your feedback and making me feel better :)

  3. Hey there Lucy,
    I think I've found a soul mate. I could write a book about the "joys" of doing markets. But this was only your first so you may end up loving it. For me, I think I've been doing it too long and I'm just a jaded, sad old thing. I'm also a perfectionist so HIGH expectations on myself, the look of the stall, the desire to be pleasant to everyone, the state of my products on the day, my physical appearance on the day (often so exhausted from the sheer effort of making an appearance that I frequently look quite scarey - and this can't be good for sales). It's great though when you meet people who really get what you do.

    The last market I did in Sydney was so bad I really wanted to let loose and do a full on therapy blog about it but I get the feeling that it's not a good look to be so negative, particularly in this happy shiny place of craft blogs. See, I'm really just an old cynic. I just wish a few more people in crafty blogland were more honest about their experiences. Markets are NOT always fun. They are hard hard work, even if you have an extroverted personality.

    Your work is really, really lovely. I think you should try other markets too, find the one that suits you best. And you've certainly got to give it a good bash. Markets really are the best way to get feedback on your product and there are plenty of people who will appreciate you for just being yourself .. nobody has to do the hard sell.

    Good luck with it all. Don't let it get to you. I really enjoyed doing markets for the first few years. But it may just not be something that sits comfortably with you. Big thumbs up from me for giving it a go .. until you've done it yourself you just have no idea how hard it is.

    Feel free to complain to me anytime you want ... I completely understand.

  4. Hi Carmel, I think you've hit the nail on the head about being a perfectionist with very high expectations - I think this is what drives creative people, but can also be a terrible burden on ourselves when we don't 'perform' to our own exacting standards.

    I can't beleive you are a 'jaded sad old thing' - at least not judging by your wonderful spontanious designs which have so much character and a real humerous quality to them - they make me smile when I look at them (especially the sheep!) I'm sure it is just hard work and tiring having to put on a 'performance' and putting your personal creative efforts on show for anyone and everyone to judge. I can well imagine that over time it is just draining and at times demoralising (that's at least how I felt anyway).

    I have to fess-up and tell you that I deleted off a section to my post which was when I got home from the market I found out I had cultivated a delightful spot throughout the day which just summed up the whole experience - and kind of ruined the 'classy' look I was aiming for!!

    Thanks for your honesty and I might take you up on your offer for a 'post-market de-brief' after the next one!
    Lucy :)