My First Pop-Up: A Milestone and a Full Circle Moment
Ok, firstly, I’ve set a timer for myself. I am not speedy, per se, in my creative endeavors and writing a blog post just canNOT take hours. So under an hour is the goal. I’ve already edited this paragraph four times. ⏱ PROGRESSNOTPERFECTIONREADYGO ▶️
Let’s get into it!
Last Saturday was my first pop-up, y’all! Still Austin Whiskey invited ~10 other local businesses and myself to vend at their 2nd anniversary party. So I loaded up the 4Runner, strapped on my running shoes (just for load-in, of course, I’m not an animal 😆) and started setting up shop! Literally! For the first time ever! One more exclamation point!
What I *did* expect:
The hard work of setting up - many trips to/from the car, hanging curtains, wrangling folded tables and dollies, fighting with a temperamental backdrop stand, etc. And, of course, the “Extrovert” hat I’d have to wear all day.
What I did *not* expect:
Stepping back when everything was in place and feeling emotions. It was the very first time I saw my brand fully expressed - in signage, color palette, texture, printed goods, etc - and got to see my product not just laid out, but displayed. I got verklempt, you guys!
What I saw in front of me represented 15 months of work, from stepping out of that one-off glass workshop bursting with ideas, to all the trial and error on repeat in the glass studio, to the evolving and maturing of my business strategy over the past few months.
I conceived it. I made it. I built it. I am so proud. ☀️
I also built my graphic design business, and I’m proud of that, too - the skills I’ve honed, the clients I love, the work I’ve produced - but there is something different about the physical creating of a thing and all I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) in the effort to sell said thing. It has been a LOT. Good news is, this 💁🏻♀️ is a lady who ❤️s learning.
The full-circle moment going on also wasn’t lost on me. My mother (the O.G. Kismet!) has had a jewelry and accessories business for decades - my entire upbringing and beyond. She even produced her own craft show twice a year for almost ten years. Everything I know about setting up for markets and retail merchandising a booth, I learned from Jan.
That accidental apprenticeship set me up so well for Saturday. (As did the tables, cable ties, stool, cash tray and other items she let me borrow…) I kept chuckling to myself, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”
But you know what, that’s the power of the motivation I have right now. Unlike Jan, I don’t think pop-ups and markets are my long term happy place. I don’t think I get out of it what I believe she got out of it, in and of itself. BUT… I believe in what I’m creating and need to ‘get out there’ and ‘test the market’ for ‘proof of concept’ and ‘consumer research’. 🤓 It’s weird / cool / inspiring where the drive I feel right now is taking me.
In thinking out loud to a friend a couple weeks ago, I said, “You know, I guess it’s within the realm of possibility that I don’t sell anything at these fall markets.”
She replied, “Yeah, could be. And what would you do then?”
Me: “Work the wholesale angle harder.” 😬💪🏻
My goal for last Saturday had zero to do with a sales number and everything to do with having my first retail experience. It was a complete success. The booth works, I have improvements noted for next time, my payment system works, my inventory (in numbers and diversity) looks solid… I’m ready for CraftHER Market on Oct 13.
Did I make sales? Ye$! Headline-making sales? Not really. Does it matter to me right now? Nah. Is this blog post about to end? Yes. I’ll end like this:
There’s something here and I’m in hot pursuit. 🔥
(T-minus 8 minutes! I still have to do graphics, but I’m going to call this a Time Management Do-Better WIN.🏅)