This weekend, I tried something new.
Not a novel experience, given that I’m always up for trying new stuff. However, this was more of a focused trial run aimed at potentially setting up a sub-business for Crone Girls. What I’m looking at is selling handmade craft items at the local Farmers’ Market.
So, how did I get to this weekend, where I spread my rather thin inventory across a table and tried to look like I had more stuff than I did?
So, first, a few classes of my MFA ago, my assignment was to brainstorm what I could do to supplement my writing, both creatively and financially. Some of my classmates had some pretty neat ideas. For me, all I could really think of was offering coaching and editing services AND/OR crafting. I’ve been knitting for over twenty years at this point, spinning for about ten or twelve, weaving for a little while, and beading jewelry for a couple of years as well. In the start of the pandemic, I was exchanging masks for flour to make bread, sending masks to people who couldn’t sew or find any online, and I still make them for my family. So, I make a few things.
However, even though I turned this idea in for my assignment, I just didn’t want to sell crafts online. Shipping is a pain, marketing takes away from my marketing of my writing and just plain fun engagement I enjoy on social media. But, as I realized I had the ingredients to make some fun charms, spooky Halloween fabric to make masks, fun yarn to make soap bags, cowls, and other designs, and of course, my handspuns and jewelry, I started thinking how some of this aesthetic aligns with my writing and with my Crone Girls Press publications.
Enter the Market…
My spouse and I used to visit the Farmers’ Market at the Fayetteville History Museum every Saturday, where we were known as “Captain’s Parents.” (Yes, Captain is our basset hound.)
We moved away, and then the plague happened, and now the market is starting to make a comeback. On a whim, I inquired through Facebook how one might go about vending there, thinking that it would probably require a fee and it probably wouldn’t work out. But when I called, they told me vending was free, as long as everything I sold was made by hand or grown on my property (for which I needed an agricultural license) or baked by hand (for which I needed a license to sell food). I assured them that everything was my personal handicraft, and they said, See you Saturday!
Setting Up Shop.
Yesterday, I packed up everything I could possibly sell (including some pieces that I wasn’t intending to sell…), headed over to the market, and set up shop. There were about ten stalls set up, with people selling everything from resin crafts to popcorn and hot chocolate, to local meats and eggs, to fresh vegetables, to charcuterie boards. I met some amazing people, and had a chance to walk around and talk to all the vendors, some of whom, like Ms. Cherry (who makes amazing baked goods!) remembered us from way back when. At the end of the day, I had sold one bracelet and almost every knit item I brought (I have one little soap bag left.) My niece worked the table with me, and as she scoped out the territory, she started planning the salt and sugar scrubs and lip balm she would make to complement the washcloths and soap bags I’m working on.
I’m currently figuring out how I can finish the final edits to send this anthology for formatting, more edits for the next Midnight Bites, catching up on reading submissions, catching up on schoolwork and, oh yeah, making stuff for next Saturday. Someone save me from myself.
But … I’m thinking that the next time I set up with Crone Girls Press at a Con, there will be some horror-themed fabric masks, some charms and pendants, and some skull-and-obsidian bracelets to complement the horror and dark fantasy stories you can find in our books. Stuff like this:
I don’t plan to sell my crafts online, but I did set up a Facebook page, Crone Mother Crafts, to share what I’m working on and where people will be able to find us (and Crone Girls Press!) These Saturdays also give me a chance to work on my sales techniques, get out of my introvert comfort zone, and spend some time outside, which I’m always down for.
So, if you happen to be in Fayetteville, NC, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., come on down to the Farmers’ Market and say hi!