There's always a special place in my heart for tent markets. Before I could afford a shop of my own, and while I still needed to find my first customers, it was the only way to sell.
Even as the business grows, sometimes it's still necessary to stand for a day (or two) inside a tent, selling wares the old school way. Tent markets are as slow fashion lifestyle as you can get.
Running new styles up the flagpole for feedback. Taking styles from the website to a new environment to reach a different crowd. And when the planets align, I bring my "dig basket," a final display of some pretty awesome bargains before they disappear forever.
If I'm lucky, the market is crowded and I get to see regular customers amongst strangers, and hear the banter.
"I love her tees. I have been wearing them for years and I'm here to get some more!"
"What do you like so much about them?"
"The cut, Hon, it's how its cut. It fits the way I want it to."
And Regular Customer was wearing her favorite one, on the spot. Modeling it! I can't pay for that kind of advertising—two women chatting, touching fabrics, cellphones put away, enjoying a day outside at a street fair.
And I have to say, there are times when I need a little emotional boost. Online selling can sometimes be a difficult gig. It's a game of staying noticed on social media, forced hashtags, and it can be an exhausting game for the both makers and the audience.
There's nothing like in-person, especially at "maker" events. #handmade is implied. #womenownedbusiness and #madeintheusa are observed. #ethical #sustainable and #fairtrade can be a live conversation. #slowfashion is explained. And with a little improvised fitting room, trying something on can happen on the spot.
So, if you happen to hear (I tell people in my emails) I'm making a tent market appearance, thanks in advance for the love when you swing by. I felt it at the last one. I'll be signing up for some more tent markets in the future, stay tuned.