Spring is the in the air, the birds are chirping and the weather is warming up. That means that some of us will begin “Market” season. I have been working on building my inventory, but I do feel like I have a long way to go.
But this is a post for those people who ATTEND the markets. Most of us work very hard on our “products”. I personally have smashed fingers with a sledgehammer, burned the shit out of my hands with a glue gun and peeled layers of skin off while trying to remove toxic glue from my fingers. It is glorious to think that we just stroll out into our workshop, studio, garage or whatever, waive our magic wand and magically create something A-M-AZ-I-N-G. I know, I know….you have seen the beautiful pictures on Instagram and Facebook. Uh-huh….those are posted in between band-aids and headaches.
So, as you head out this spring to visit these hard working folks keep these tips in mind.
Here are some tips on how to not be an A-Hole at a Vendor Market:
FIRST AND FOREMOST….please for the love of all things…do NOT go into a booth and say shit like, “I could make that”. Not only is that rude as fuck to the maker but it makes you look like a complete A-hole. Wait until you are in your car – far far away from anyone who will hear you say something so stupid.
Secondly, do NOT take pictures of products so that you can go home and “copy” them. Why the hell do you think they invented Pinterest? So that you can steal other people’s ideas, duh. So instead of making it blatantly obvious that you are a copy cat A-hole, just go home and use the good old internet.
Third, if you complain about the prices you deserve to get throat punched. Remember the smashed fingers and bleeding heart I mentioned above? Okay, I didn’t mention the bleeding heart, but it is a condition that often presents itself. The work is hard and doesn’t always turn out the way we imagine, so when someone actually comes up with a price for their products (this is a talent in and of itself), you better just shut the hell up and pay it or smile and walk away.
The fourth way how to not be an A-hole at a market is to avoid the 3 C’s. Do not criticize, critique or be cruel. Save it for another time and place. There is nothing more personal than someone laying out their made items for the world to see. It takes guts to do it. I often waiver if I am “good enough” to be at certain markets. So, if you want to be an A-hole and say mean shit, then you need to stay home. Because we don’t want to hear it. We critique ourselves enough. Believe me.
The fifth and final way on my list is to take a minute to compliment the maker. One of the coolest things that people have said to me is that my stuff was “unique” or “different” or “I’ve never seen anything like that before”. Maybe they are really thinking that it is awful, terrible stuff and they would never be caught dead buying it, but those comments resonate with me. My goal is to be different and unique. As with most makers, I want to have a product that you haven’t seen before. I want you to come to my booth and feel inspired or uplifted. There is nothing better than a kind word. When I get one, my day is made. It is much easier to be hateful. So don’t be an A-hole and say something nice. It feels good for you and me.
So, hopefully you have read all of the tips and thought to yourself, “Yes, I do that, I’m an A-hole”. Hopefully, you have decided that you won’t do it anymore. Make sure you share with your friend who is coming along with you. Because when you say something to someone about their work, whether positive or negative, you might as well be telling them that they have an ugly baby. And that would make you a complete A-hole.