I sold my books and cards at the Madeleine Marketplace bazaar yesterday, and it completely exceeded my expectations.
I signed up and paid my booth fee with just a few goals, to learn as much as I could about: setting up a nice display, talking about my work, and using Square to accept card payments. I learned all of that and more.
One of the best things about my experience were my two neighbors: Panda With Cookie who makes plush toys like this dinosaur; and Paul Gerard the writer-hiker-tour-guide-taxi-driver-craft-show-MVP.
I’d been at my table five minutes and had exchanged maybe two sentences with Panda With Cookie when she offered to email me suggestions for craft shows I could apply to next year. I was already so excited to do this show that I’d practically skipped into the building, but her quick generosity tripled my happiness.
Then, Paul introduced himself. I recognized him from shows I’ve attended as a customer, and I felt really lucky to be next to his table.
First, he surprised me by glancing over my books and saying “Congratulations! You wrote four books.” He said he meets a lot of people who tell him they have a book idea, and they ask him all about publishing and cover design, but he usually learns they haven’t written the book, not a word of it. “Most people don’t even start,” he said.
This brought me back to the basics. I’ve been so excited to launch Carrot Condo, that I don’t think I ever took a moment to step back and appreciate the four books and set of cards right there in front of me, completed and in the world, from idea/daydream to reality. I let myself feel proud for a few seconds, then got back to fidgeting with my display.
Second, Paul surprised me by saying “I’m retiring. This is my last show.” Most of the vendors there knew him and obviously loved him. Apparently, he’s said he’s retiring before but then comes back, so they didn’t seem to believe him.
However, for the next six hours, he not only entertained me with with his easy humor, he kind of taught me all he knows. He gave me an extensive database of places where I could sell my books, told me stories about his experiences at shows, and then gave me all of his table display stands when we were packing up.
So now, I have all kinds of sentiment woven into my table display: my mom’s table cloth, my best friends roller cart that holds everything perfectly, and Paul’s display stands. I’m already feeling ready for next year!
Lastly, the customers at the bazaar were incredibly nice. Some people looked through my books quietly, others had questions, and many bought books as gifts.
Imagining my books or cards wrapped up and given as a gift motivated me to keep working at making these better and better and better. I left the show with two pages of ideas. Now, I need to let things sit and sift and then figure out which project to do next. I might be asking your opinion on this in the future.
Thanks for reading and being part of Carrot Condo’s journey!