Yesterday I sold at my second and last Christmas market for the year - the Winter Fair at Lewisham Arthouse. It's a beautiful pillared building that, despite having driven past it several times, I've never really noticed before.
In between dealing with customers I spent much of the day chatting with the other stall holders. Many of them had been selling their wares for a number of years and were old hands on the market scene. Most of them knew each other well from having sold at the same markets over the years.
Initially I felt like a bit of a Billy No Mates sitting by my table on my own while everyone else greeted each other and caught up on gossip since they'd seen each other at the last market. The fact that I'd had a pretty boozy night the night before was making me feel even less sociable than usual. After looking at my watch and realising that I had another 6 and a half hours of the market to go, however, if I wasn't going to die of boredom I was going to have to summon the effort to get chatting.
So out came my best attempt at market chit chat. Luckily all those years of watching Eastenders finally proved their worth and soon I felt like part of the gang. The people were so nice and, when I told them I was a newbie on the scene, they couldn't wait to give me a barrage of advice on which were the best markets to sell at, when to apply for them, the best company to get public liability insurance from, and even ideas they had for potential future product ranges.
I've realised that going to markets as a crafting business novice is so important. Not only is it an opportunity to make a few quid and to create awareness of your business, but the tips and help that you get from the crafty community is absolutely invaluable. Why do it the hard way and spend years finding out all this stuff on your own when you can cheat and get someone else with years of experience to tell you everything you need to know?