Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Holiday Stitch Market 2012

 Last week I participated in one of the biggest markets my town has ever seen - The Holiday Stitch Market. The Stitch Market is run by two amazing ladies; Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy and Emily of Blue Corduroy. They put on two markets each year that bring in hundreds of shoppers just pouring over lovely handmade, upcycled, and vintage items. 

The preparations for the market were intense. I've been in some craft fairs and have participated in Art After Dark several times, but nothing of this capacity. I had about 80 items already from the shop, but needed to at least double that amount. So in November I put Oliver's Treasure Chest on vacay to keep my inventory and build from there. 

My plan was to have everything made by December 1st {the market was December 6th & 7th} so that I had a whole week to plan, prepare, build, and gather for my booth as well as package and price my items and get my business cards. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, November went by way too fast and December 1st rolled around - all I had were those 80 items! Ummm, yeah. My bad. So I had about 5 days to make 80+ items as well as get my booth together and package, price, organize. Sunday I started sewing and by Tuesday I had not only finished 80 items, I surpassed that amount and ended up with 311 items! It's amazing what one can do when they're working under pressure, ha. {Um, I'm guilty of doing this on more than one occasion. Hey! As long as it gets to my customers on time, who cares, right?} So everything was made, packaged, priced and my booth was all good to go. All I needed was to get my business cards. Fail. On their part, not mine. The company that did my business cards messed up royally and well, it wouldn't have been a big deal except that I had zero time to get them corrected! So I had to just roll with it. {They were waaay too light to read}. 

Thursday came, finally {Wednesday seemed to take forever} and I was ready to get my Stitch Market on! We packed up my things, got Bry from school, and headed down to the market. Let me tell you; I was sweating bullets and was nervous as heck! All these things running through my mind... 'Will people like my things? Will my booth look like my vision? Will people even like my booth? OMG What if my booth doesn't fit in the space? {We measured, I checked} What if I don't sell anything? What if someone has the same stuff as me? They shouldn't, but what if? {There was someone there with similar items} What if I don't sell anything? {I know, I already said that, but I had like zero confidence in myself at that point. It's like all that hard work I put in to my things, into what Oliver's Treasure Chest is all about, went right out the door and suddenly my items were crap}. We arrived at the Stitch Market, found my booth space, and with a little bit of arguing and some rolling of the eyes between the hubbs and I, my booth was set up, beautiful, amazing, more than I could have ever hoped for and then the doors opened for the shoppers to come in and get their shopping on!

There were amazing vendors at this market. About 25! All with amazing booths, all with amazing product, and just all around amazing ladies - and a guy. His name was Kyle and he was selling survival bracelets. So cool! Made me want to rock climb again and get into a sticky situation where I needed to use it! Well, kinda, but not really. Anyway, everything was set up so perfect and my booth was next to some amazing gals. Kasey from Kasey Sews, Kristen from Aloette {I actually used to watch her kids in Kidz Club!!}, the sisters from Lani Organics, and the ladies from Mission Thrift. Im glad I was placed next to them because I didn't have to leave my booth at all to get a look at their amazing products. 

Ok, so now on to my booth.

Isn't she a beaut? We had a nice space size of 4x6 so I got to utilize the floor space and vertical space on the table. Usually at craft fairs and at Art After Dark I don't have even half of this space, but always have loads of inventory so getting creative with my space is nothing new to me.

That pink shelf with the branches on it... my lovely friend Kate let me borrow that and she even let me paint it pink! I might have to buy it from her for future markets.... or trade {??}. We had the hanging clothespin frame above our bed with vintage polaroid photos on it and the vintage trunk was in our living room housing our board games. I do have to say that using the trunk for the market was smart in two ways; it held more of my goodies utilizing floor space and because it is still currently holding all of my goodies from the market in the garage, the hubbs decided to do some rearranging in the living room and I love it so much better! And that vintage suitcase I picked up at the local flea market for pennies has been in many photo shoots with me and usually houses all of my junk mail on a shelf in the closet. I'm glad it got some good use housing my tooth fairy pillows instead.

These zippered bags sold like hot cakes!

And so did these little cuties. I actually had to go home Thursday night and sew more of quite a few things because I was selling out! What an awesome feeling leaving the market the first day and needing to bring more back the next day. I thought to myself on the way home Thursday night 'Man, did I not make enough?!'. But overhearing another vendor say they typically bring 250-350 items, my 311 felt like a very good number. 

I was so glad to find this two-tiered basket/bowl. I had been searching and searching for something like this and just when I was about to give up, a last minute trip to Ross for something else landed this awesome piece in my hands - for under $13! Held my bow ties and pre-made headbands just fine.

I also accidentally came across this while getting supplies at Beverly's. We painted it a lovely blue and it fit perfectly for the build-your-own headbands.

I had an amazing time, met some wonderful ladies, shopped some great booths and am super proud of myself. Even though I totally slacked {not on purpose!} and crammed everything in last minute, the end result was totally worth it! I ended up selling almost half of what I came in with! To me, that is amazing. And I am so grateful to be able to be a part of The Stitch Market. 

I sure hope they'll let me come back in the spring! I definitely want to be a seasoned Stitch Marketer! Thank you Lindsey and Emily for putting this on. You ladies were amazing, so helpful and kind, not to mention incredibly talented! 

So, now that the market is over, what did I learn? 

Well, I learned that the reason there is a big time frame between when you're approved for the market and when the market takes place is so you can prepare. Next time I will not cram 220 items in to a 4 day period. I also learned that though 4x6 is a very reasonable space, it is not what you expect it to be when you're standing in front of it. I learned that, though 311 items is a great inventory number, I will need to make more of the following at the next market {if I get in!!}: tooth fairy pillows, hair ties, reusable produce sacks, reusable grocery totes, snack bags, teething rings, teething ropes, zippered bags {all sizes}, critter plush toys, onesies, unpaper towels, and baby legs. Yup - I pretty much was on the verge of selling out of those items and I brought a ton with me! Thats a good feeling! There are some things I will do differently next time, but all in all I feel for being my first big market, I handled myself pretty well. 

Plus, I baby-wore the whole time. Even nursed right in front of my booth! I kinda feel like super mom right now. But as much of a super mom that I am, I still couldn't have done it with out some people.

Thank you's:

Richard; thank you for being amazing. For letting our house stay the mess it did for the past two weeks while getting everything together, for helping me set up and break down my booth, for watching my booth when I needed a break, and for helping with baby when I needed. Oh, and for these lovely photos!
Bry: thank you for being an amazing big sister and holding baby while we set up and broke down. It was too cute watching Oli fall asleep in your arms.
David: thank you for helping us set the booth up!
And a big fat THANK YOU to Lindsey & Emily for putting this on. You ladies were amazing, so helpful and kind, not to mention incredibly talented!


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  1. OMG Ashley!! This is so awesome!!! You rocked it for sure! Everything you make is always so amazing, I am sure all the buyers were completely thrilled shopping at your booth! I am bummed I couldn't make it, but it looks and sounds like everything went in your favor!!! I am so happy and excited for you!!

    1. Thank Heidi! It's kind of a trek for you to get to SLO so I totally understand not being able to make it. Hopefully you can in the Spring, whether or not I am a part of it. If not, we could go together! It seriously is such a rad market. I've shopped it before, when it was in a different location and not of this capacity, and it was still amazing. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing! You had a fabulous booth! I loved it!

  3. This is all so cute! Love the tooth fairy pillows!

    1. Thank you! As soon as the hubbs takes photos of them and I get them listed Ill send you and email!

  4. You were a busy bee!
    All of your creations look perfect :) I would have bought up those zippered bags and tooth fairy pillows! Heidi @ Mustache Mama lead me to you, glad she did!

    1. Hi! Thank you for visiting! Arent those tooth fairy pillows adorbs? My daughter loves hers {even though she doesnt believe in the tooth fairy anymore}!


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