Monday, April 13, 2009

Austin Handmade Market Recap

Don't you love days when you have to be somewhere at a certain time? This doesn't happen to me so much anymore since I get to show up for work when I feel like it, so it's especially frustrating when the one day I need to be somewhere I hear a psssssssssss sound emanating from my front passenger side tire. I was at the bank about a half hour before I was scheduled to be setting up for my show so I was trying hard to come up with some other plausible source for the noise. Since the tire wasn't noticeably low and I was parked next to some pipes, I managed to convince myself that it must be coming from the pipes.

When I stopped down the road to get breakfast tacos there was no denying that the sound was following me. So I put away all thoughts about breakfast and high-tailed it to the Sears auto repair shop around the corner. As luck would have it, the shop was pretty quiet at 9:40 on the Saturday before Easter AND it really was just the tire and not some nasty coolant leak or other more complicated problem.

I give the guys and gals credit at the shop, I was in and out in about 30 minutes. It took as long to fill out the paperwork and wait for my dot-matrix printed receipt as it did for the guy to jack the car, remove the wheel, take the tire off, patch it and remount it. I chatted with the office guy about the state of the computer system (I'm guessing circa 1994--no lie). I got an earful about the new management that just this month found no problem with the archaic computer system but immediately assessed that the tube TV in the employee break room was woefully inadequate. Apparently, the break room tube TV was such an egregious problem that the dot-matrix printers, archaic computers and the flickering tube TV in the customer lounge were put on the back burner in order for management to upgrade the employee break room TV to plasma. It's hilarious that the Sears guy is complaining that he got a plasma TV but what he really wanted was a frickin laser printer.

Anyway, as you can see from the pictures, I did get to the show and was set up (pretty much) in time for the event. I was still a little flustered by my whirlwind morning (sans breakfast or coffee!) when the second or third person to walk in my booth wanted to buy something with a credit card. Performing my first cell phone based credit card transaction proved somewhat difficult. The woman was exceedingly patient and I finally got it on the 3rd try. Only later as I was going through the paperwork did I figure out that I overcharged the her by $5.41. Fortunately, I can credit the card, but I'm pretty sure I came off as overwhelmed and less than capable.

The upside to a first transaction of that caliber is that all the others seemed to go pretty smoothly. I got the knack of the phone thing and feel confident that, while not super-speedy, will be manageable at the Shop Austin show that I'm doing this Saturday.

The day never got nearly as warm as was predicted, so, of course, I was fairly under-dressed. It did, however, give me many opportunities to greet customers with "How much for that sweater?" or "I'll trade you some jewelry for that jacket." It was a good way to break up the standard "Hi, how are you doing?" thing.

There didn't seem to be tons of people at the show, but there was a steady stream and the people that did come out seemed ready to buy. That's always nice for us vendors.

My understanding is that the owners of Austin Handmade have plans to hold the market at least once a month and possibly twice while the weather is nice. I think they are planning to rotate vendors, so it will be a different mix each time. It was a great bunch this time around with many of the Etsy Austin Street Team in attendance. Specifically, SnuggleHerd, PigseyArt, Lucy Blue Studio, and Textile Fetish to name just a few.

I'm hoping to do the show again in the future, but I've got to get through these next three shows before I even think about signing up for another.

1 comment:

Beth H said...

Wow, you sure seemed calm, cool & collected for having such a crazy morning! I enjoyed meeting you in person & hope to see ya again soon. : )