The Old Bus Depot Markets
To be honest, I’ve never really liked the phrase ‘like minded people’… as it almost implies that, if you don’t think, feel, believe the same as me, then I am sorry we can’t be friends. There has got to be something said for challenging our thinking by engaging with others who have a different point of view to our own, who don’t do things exactly how we do them. There is much to be gained from setting ourselves the kind of challenge that either reaffirms what we believe or makes us question why we really truly believe what we think we believe. Is it because we were told we should believe it when we were growing up? Or is that we’ve developed certain beliefs through our own life experiences? Either way, setting yourself up to be challenged in your beliefs or be open to the beliefs of others can be very rewarding.
I’ve been determined to grow this business organically after my previous business experience where it just seemed to pop up and span out of control over night. So far I have been comfortably working from a dedicated studio & workspace set up here at home, selling online, through boutique stores and friends. But this month I set myself a bigger challenge to put myself out there in the front of potential buyers to possibly meet people who would challenge my thinking or reaffirm my beliefs that there are more people out there that seek the unique, the repurposed, the quality hand crafted goods by local artisans… rather than simply big branded, mass produced, made cheaply overseas where we don’t see the affects on the communities they are made in, only the end result being a lower price! So rather than hiding behind the screen of my online store and the bricks and mortar store owner that stocks my wares or the like minded people in my circle of friends, I put in a lot of extra hours to prepare what I believed to be enough stock to set up my first market stall at a well known long running artisan market in Canberra, The Old Bus Depot Markets.
At the market I experienced the feeling of seeing shoppers walk towards my stall, thinking to myself; “they’ll probably be interested in what I have to offer.” Then witnessed their attention captured, being drawn in to my stall then proceed to engage with my products. It was like they could not stop themselves, touching, feeling, opening things. But even better than that was the experience of having them engage with me, asking lots of questions, giving lots of feedback and just chatting as though we were at some social outing together. Aside from the chatty shoppers, there were the equally chatty & engaging regular stall holders who wanted to meet the newbie, find out what I was about, what I was selling. Then proceeded to share their own experiences and knowledge as long time market stall holders, at this market and others, giving their recommendations, advice & words of encouragement. This was not networking, this was just passionate people trying to support other passionate people. The more passionate people that can work together and support each other the better I say, as it certainly does make for a very interesting and inspiring environment to sell… or shop!
Putting yourself out there to face an array of opinions, possibly like minded, possibly opposing views, can be daunting, especially if you’re not mentally or physically prepared. That is why I wanted to grow my business organically in the first place, to lay down a solid foundation to ensure that my core values in business and life come across in what I create and how my business operates, before taking myself out there to meet the people who I hoped would be looking for what I have to offer. If you feel ready to put yourself out there don’t hold back, get out on the front line and meet the people who are really interested in what you do, what you are offering. They are out there and they’re waiting to meet you!
My suggestions, know yourself, be yourself and choose a market or selling portal that suits what you are about… it does not have to cost hundreds of dollars to set up your stall, but it does have to reach the type of people you are hoping to engage with your products so research the markets available to you and pick the one that suits you and your budget best.
Most of all, enjoy the journey you will embark on in putting your self out there on the frontline.