In German, we have an expression that translates to “jumping over one’s own shadow” and means to do something that doesn’t come natural to you and is unsettling, even scary to you. It’s usually something that is not scary or even a big deal to others – but just outside of your personal comfort zone or natural behavior.
A few weeks ago, I took that leap and went on the (to me) daring adventure of setting up art, wares, and hopes… for the public to come and take a look and judge… maybe make a connection, maybe make a purchase, or maybe just pass on by. I participated in my first indie market. Actually, Scott and I were there together. But I don’t think it required any shadow-jumping on his part.
Organized by the Tampa Bay Area Indie Flea, the arts, crafts, indie-makers and food market took place in Gainesville, Florida, on a December weekend. So it was perfectly timed for some holiday shopping and ideal outdoor market weather.
It felt like the right (yet still intimidating) opportunity to try something I had been contemplating for years: offering pieces of my photography for sale + and introducing the ideas and products of Happier Place to people “in real life” (vs. just online as we had been doing for the last two years).
Before the market:
In the short window between getting selected for the market and the actual event and in the middle of prep for Opt Outside Friday and Cyber Monday, Scott and I decided to design and order two new Happier Place products – and I took the plunge and ordered metal prints of over two dozen photos.
For this event, I went mostly for more smaller prints instead of less larger prints. And I opted for all ready-to-hang UV-protected metal prints. Might discuss that and other options with you in another post.
At the market:
The day arrived with the previous day’s horrendous rain gone and us ready to set up, display, meet, inspire and get inspired, sell and buy, and learn through trial and error and success. It was such a rush to set everything up in time and then to keep up with people coming into our tent, engaging and giving me reason to struggle with the “paypal card reader + iPad + woocommerce” logistics – that I never got a chance to get nervous.
And then suddenly the four hours of the market were over and it was time to break down and meet local friends at the Cypress and Grove brewery across the street. Wow, what a whirlwind!
And the results?
Spending weeks envisioning, researching, planning, learning, shopping for, designing, arranging, testing, packing, transporting, and setting up… an entire (out-of-town) store that was only open for four hours was still so rewarding that we’re excited to attend many more markets very soon.
And next time we already have a tent and I know how to use that credit card swiper. Also, we learned so many things we’d like to try out at future events.
Fortunately, we managed to recoup our direct expenses during this market. Even more rewarding: the thought that some of my photos and some of our products are being used and appreciated by other people. And the very best part might have been simply to connect with other people and talk about the outdoors, creativity and doing things that make us happier… and doing something to make the world a happier place.
So yeah, jumping over my own shadow was totally worth it and I can’t wait to do it again!
I’d like to thank everyone who came out to see us at the market, to Rachel (owner of Tamal) for hosting us and Whiskey Dog, and to all those who inspired me to give it a try, including patrons Miriam Blaich and Margaret Baker, and Google+ Create friends Mark Hurn and Maire Thompson. THANK YOU!
Way after the market:
As a bonus on the way out of town the next morning, I finally got to see and photograph wild Sandhill cranes, which were taking over a cow field on the UF campus!
Another bonus: the photography pieces I didn’t sell, now grace our walls – until the next market…