It’s been a little over a month since I started selling at local markets. Packing up my car the night before with tables, gazebo, card stands, 20kilo weights in case of wind gusts and boxes and boxes of stock. Then leaving the house at 6am to travel to a field and set up shop with everyone else. It’s super hard work, physically as much as anything else, but honestly I absolutely love it to bits.
When you consider doing markets using a time/cost approach it makes absolutely no sense. But I think the whole ‘time is money’ thing is outdated nonsense. Frankly, any work I’ve ever done doesn’t make sense in those terms. Illustrating children’s books takes an enormous amount of time, but the results are hugely satisfying. I was a teacher for years and spent many many hours outside the time I was paid doing all the ‘stuff’ that needed to be done. That wasn’t at all satisfying, it was soul destroying and it’s why I’m not still a school teacher. Don’t get me started on teachers only being paid for the time they are teaching – how utterly insane is that? Anyway, markets take time but I feel like I’ve found something that complements and enhances my work tenfold and brings me a whole heap of joy.
It’s all about the people
In the early hours I drive into the market space and chat to the coordinators who are alway happy to see me. Then there’s getting to know my neighbours! At Red Hill when the rain was lashing down and it was a really early and dark morning I managed to get a spot in an old barn with sparrows nesting in the roof. My neighbour was The Perfume Workshop. A beautiful woman who laid out rows and rows of shiny perfume oil bottles and encouraged customers to find the smell that suited them most with her expert help. I had to buy some and where it every day now.
Last weekend I met John from Celtic Motifs, with his delightful hand made silver jewellery. I knew the second he arrived that I wouldn’t end the day without buying something. It was a lovely silver ring made from a little old fork and silver plated.
I also got to know the wonderful women who are The Wild Kid Collective. They are two local mums who sell hard wearing beautiful clothing for kids.
And then there’s the customers! People who are intrigued, curious and hugely complimentary. You just don’t get this kind of ego boost sitting at home working alone. I invite people in to talk and before we know it we’re discussing kids, education, connecting the generations through shared activities and the effects of the pandemic on us all. So yes, the time and effort involved to attend markets makes no sense but it really is rewarding in so many ways.
I’ll be packing the car and heading off to Yarra Glen Market this weekend. It’s a bit of a trek for me but it looks like the weather is going to be bright. I’ll have my Easter Bunny Kits and all the other little characters. I just hope I can get set up before the 9am start and in time to get a coffee.