Monday, May 16, 2011

Farmer's Market: Cold Wet Chaos & Fun

After setting up in the rain (and getting a "You Can't Do That on Television" style dumping of water from the canopy right onto my head - good times) the first hour at the market proved to be pretty slow (and wet.) 

Awww yeah! Stoked and soaking wet!

But it grew as the day progressed and overall was a total blast and awesome learning experience. I sold some hoops, met some great folks and got to hoop - a lot. Actually, nonstop for four hours. The thing with selling hoops is that no one is going to buy 'em if  I am just sitting there saying, yeah these are cool - promise, now gimme some money. I had to show them. So I hooped, hooped, hooped, hooped, hooped - and just as I was getting tired a bus load of kids arrived and ran, screaming, en masse to the stand. A wave of screaming children. This was not going to be my time to rest.

They all clamored for a hoop and shouted different things for me to watch and show them. Hoooray for kids trying out the hoops!  Boooo for them not paying for hoops that they then played with on the rough asphalt. Ouch. Although I had done lots of prep work, the kids, the non stop rain and non stop hooping were all things for which I hadn't planned. Next time I will be making a few changes...

Mid way through set up
After proving themselves so, I will now be selling my hoops as "water resistant."

Things I will be glad I do next time

Geez! Those awesome pricetags I made? TOTALLY destroyed within the first hour. Oh well, you live you learn (right Alanis?) Wet cards everywhere was not what I had in mind, and the considerable effort they took means I won't be repeating them. I'm also going to throw some extra towels in my car to wipe down any wet hoops during the event and before pre-loading. It's my car thanks to the drive home. Just what nobody wants.

All the kids wanted to play "how many can I do at once."
Also known as - how many hoops can I destroy at once.

...and for the love of God, keep the ones for sale out of reach. Excited children will grab anything they can and most of the time that meant a brand-new hoop for sale being scraped and dropped on the rough asphalt. Yikes. I now have many bruised hoops that I cannot sell as new. From this point out I will have the bulk of tester hoops on the ground and everything else suspended from the canopy. 

Honestly, I forget that people don't know what it is. But, nope - they don't. I want to have some flyers about what it can do for you, how to get started, and resources so that people have a "Step 2" after getting the hoop.

but for the most part everything went without a hitch - largely thanks to some preplanning: 

Things I am Glad I did

Run Through. 
I practiced setting up all the merchandise and decor as well as putting up and taking down the canopy several times before the day of. We were set up in 14 minutes flat. Getting an hour to sip warm coffee inside the nearest McDonald's was a life saver with the day that was ahead.

Will gave free juggling lessons. This kid ^ was an
AMAZING hooper and juggler.
He picked up isolations in 5 minutes. For real.
Prepack car
With the market fees due at each market and separate fees annually, as well as the cost of materials and labor for hoops that may not sell - the last thing I wanted to do was have to rent a car to make this happen. Luckily doing trial pack ups ensured that the impossible was possible and everything fit in my teeny tiny vehicle. It also felt really good to zip up in the little Hyundai in the sea of everyone's giant Suburbans and SUV's. Gas mileage for the win!

Bring LOTS of cards
Perfect for folks who are interested but can't commit. Since I am usually that person at any farmers market, I was happy to give folks plenty of time to think and the opportunity to find out more about hooping. (Or politely blow me off.)

I wanted an Army man.
 FREE toys!
I had a bucket of dollar store toys for free on my table. This way when kids are running around with cool pink sunglasses and someone asks, 'hey where'd you get that?" they come a-running to my stand. It worked great and was a good consolation prize to the kids who wanted a hoop but got the "no way" look from mom or dad.


- C. said...

gorgeous set up, love! this sounds really fun!!

Shekinah said...

I think the things you did "right", you did very well. Brilliant idea for the bucket of free toys.

That picture of all the people hooping in the rainy pavement makes me cringe for you though. All those pretty hoops and hard work! I'd probably be more upset than you are letting on that you were, hehe. I'd look at it like I was watching all my hard work crumble and scrape to the ground. But you are right- lots to learn for next time, and sounds like you have some great ideas for improvement.

Looks like a great time overall :)