"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands........" 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Last night was the first Farmer's Market meeting.

I was asked to bring some of my work to show, so that everyone could make a decision as to whether or not I could sell my embroidery at the market. Everyone was so friendly and loved the embroidery and of course agreed that it would be nice to have something different at the market to sell.........along with my flowers and pumpkins. There were only 4 couples there............in our area, there is not that many who do the market. This is just one reason I have reservations as to whether I want to sell at the market or not. Another obstacle is the economy and the fact that folks in this area are not prone to purchase frivolous things as embroidery. The fact that I also will need to drive 30 miles into town and back every Saturday and Tuesday from July through October.........is also something I am not sure I want to do. However, if I want to sell things, this is what it will take.
I am still in the process of making our place "a farm". Even though I have pegged it as such, it is far from being that. The folks that were there last night, did not have small gardens and big dreams................they have plowed acres, tractors and lots of produce to sell every Saturday and Tuesday. My embroidery work takes weeks to months to finish...........my gardens are microscopic compared to these seasoned farmers. They all were so encouraging and friends also want me to do this.............however.............I am not so sure. I am really thinking about selling my embroidery "on-line". My flowers and produce..........not so sure on that. I have until July to make my mind up about it. So my question to you...........do any of you sell your things at a market? Or are you selling on-line better? Do you travel a bit to get there? How are customers purchasing handmade things? I would love to hear!

Also...........if you love comfort foods, stop by my cooking blog.......My Country Kitchen....http://countrykitchenkat.blogspot.com
for this great recipe.


Unknown said...

Your embroidery is beautiful. I think I am farther west than you are, by the size of your mesquites, and totally understand what your saying about people out here being sensible and not buying frivolties. But I think that most who go to farmers markets break that mold. I think you have a really good shot of doing good. I would love to know where your market is, there are none near us, but I think there maybe near my family, in Midland. I was excited to find your blog (from your comment on Down to Earth blog), there is not a lot of info on gardening out here. and W. Tx is so big that it varies even with in, so I feel kind of on my own, but am eager to see what experience you have to share.

Keep up the good blogging,

Julie Harward said...

My kids would say sell on line but I don't know..why don't you try both, then you'll know for sure. beautiful work by the way! Come say hi :D

Sheryl at Providence North said...

I have the same questions that you have. I call our place a "farm" too, but it is far from it at this point. We are just starting out and have a long way to go. It has also been suggested to me that we should sell at a farmer's market but I don't know that we are ready for that yet. We may not have enough produce and I don't know if I want to put the time into it or make that committment.

Our place is on a very busy corner going into town, so I think I will set up on our own corner for now. I can set up there whenever I have enough extra produce and other things to sell.

I will be very interested in reading the answers you get from other readers on this subject.

Linda said...

Kathleen, your stack of linens look so pretty...I even see one piece that says pumpkins:)....such beautiful stitching. Did you know February is National Embroidery Month?

You do have lots to consider? What about setting up and Esty Shop? I think peopple would gobble up your hand made items.

Is your place located on a busy road could you set up a flower stand and sell your pumpkins there too? I know out my way these stands are popular and do well too....some even sell baked goodie and then there are your eggs too. More to think about:).. hugs, Linda

Anonymous said...

I see a linen in the middle, Looks lavender with purple flowers...I will seriously buy that one!!!!

Email me when you get the chance;-)


Nancy M. said...

The embroidery is gorgeous! I have a wanna be farm too, not quite there, but still hoping and wishing! I haven't ever tried to sell at a market, we don't really have one nearby.

Connie said...

I think your embroidery work is wonderful, Kathleen. I have no experience of selling at a market or online, but wish you the best of luck in whatever you plan to do. It seems you would have a larger number of people see it if you sold it on Etsy or somewhere, plus you wouldn't have to travel, but I don't know for sure what would be best. I do think you are very talented and creative though. :) Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

Kathleen, I am so impressed with all you do. Your embroidery is impeccable. I think you would probably do better online, etsy is a great place for hand made items. You've found your passion, so don't let the enemy rob you.

Unknown said...

Your embroidery is to die for.. Love it. I wish you luck in your decision. It appears to be a hard one... Etsy is a good site to maybe take a look at.. Farmers Markets can be tricky.. I love them however.. What about local country shops on consignement? Or at the market on summer days, or do you have to commit to the season? Remember "A farm is not judged by size but the love that lives there..and being a farm girl is acondition of th heart..Good luck girl

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathleen, I just love your embroidery. I think you would have a larger and more varied base of buyers via internet. Many years ago, I did craft shows, and tired of people carelessly picking up something that took hours and hours to make and then they would toss it down, and say "I could make that in no time!" You do such exquisite work, I would take photos and try online first. I wish for you the very best whichever you decide.

Kelly said...

Hi Kathleen,
I know what you mean about the farm. We started with chickens and I think at that point we called it a farm. Heck, we were calling it a farm before we even moved there. I go to farmers and country markets for the unusual goods. Things that I can't find at Wal-Mart. You have beautiful work and have every right to expect good prices. Human nature is funny. If the price is set too low then we think, well, it must not be worth much. If it seems fair we really feel that we are getting a deal. I am thinking about taking my soap to the Bangor Market Days this summer. I haven't had a whole lot of luck selling on the internet. Word of mouth is the best. You should blog your pieces and see how they sell. Well, that is my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions. LOL.

Unknown said...

G'morn ~ Exquisite embroidery. You have a beautiful talent ...

Happy Valentine's ~
Have a beautiful week.
TTFN ~Marydon

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

I think it's sad that farmer's markets/ country fairs/ small town get-togethers are disappearing. I guess people are on-line more often now so I understand the idea of selling on-line.
I just personally like the atmosphere of a farmer's market. the smells, the sounds of someone playing a fiddle or guitar, the colors of the fresh produce and flowers... there is just something so comforting and "right" about it.

I'm not sure which way you should choose. sorry, i'm not much help.

Tipper said...

I don't sell at a weekly market-I do sell at festivals-which is really fun and rewarding. As to selling online-have you checked into Etsy? They have very reasonable rates-and they don't charge anything to set up your 'store'. I've been very pleased with their service.

Jody Blue said...

I'd try both if you are able to pull out if it doesn't work out. They do look very pretty.

grammy said...

My sister use to sell crafts at many area sales. It became an overwhelming job to keep up. Her love for crafts became a 'chore'. I guess you just have to try it to see how it goes. Your work is beautiful (o:

KathyB. said...

I agree with Julie, why don't you try both for a period of time that allows you to make a fair assessment? I have discovered doing both works. Often people in a Farmer's Market will see your work, want it but not be able to purchase it at the time. If you have business cards or brochures to hand out you might find these folks will check you out and purchase from you later on-line. And maybe not, but you will not know until you try. Your work is beautiful and well worth buying as a treasure Kathleen.

You might even find there are people interested in learning for themselves how to do this fine handiwork and maybe you can earn money giving instruction in this fine art....or selling supplies necessary to do this along with lessons.

DayPhoto said...

Your embroidery is beautiful! Since it takes so long to finish you might try both to get a feel of the spot that fits you best.


Pat / Silver Thimble Quilt Co. said...

I'm leaving you an award...Come visit my blog...

Lanny said...

If you have a while to figure things out, figure out your cost of being involved in the farmer's market, dues, mileage, include your time, and take into account having to be on their schedule.

Then investigate putting your stuff in shops as a wholesaler, maybe in a few tourist type towns that are close enough for you to post or deliver your goods (and check up on their presentation). Check out road side farm stands, there are farms, like mine, that have a location that doesn't require a farmers' market but might like some diversity in products for their customers but are glad to not have the immediate competition for their produce dollars. Now would be a great time to investigate your options before tourist season and farm stand season.

Together We Save said...

Wow - you have made some beautiful things.

Paula said...

Sounds like you've been given some wonderful advice from everyone, Kathleen!
I think you will do better than you think at the Farmer's Market, but maybe bring some of your dishcloths, too. And- definitely have an online shop for people to order from.
Main thing- follow your heart!

peggy said...

I probably won't be much help even though I have tried all the venues (except Etsy). Craft shows are so hard and can be discouraging but farmers markets have a different atmosphere.

Could you do it on a trial basis and just feel it out? See if you enjoy it and don't mind to give up your day for it. you will meet new people and establish a following, you certainly have a beautiful product. And maybe, between now and then, try the Etsy but let us all know.

Sunny said...

Hi Kathleen, I am a little late responding as I have been offline a few days. We used to sell our honey products and goat milk fudge at a farmers market in PA, in fact used to go to 2 of them each week, however I never sold many of my beeswax candles there. I would suggest trying to go especially for what you produce and give it a try. Take along your embriodery, as ppl may want to order thing for Christmas presents. But I would also try Etsy shop or E-Bay. You do such beautiful work I am sure it would sell if you find the right market place. Hugs

Sunny said...

PS...Have you ever thought of trying herbs? tthey should grow well in your area I would think and it would be something different and would add to your flowers and not take an awful lot of care and space to get started...

Stephanie Suzanne Designs said...


I think you should set up to sell on line as well as give the market a try if you feel the market is a positive thing.

Your embroidery will be a pleasant surprise for many..those that have money to spend will buy it....just make sure you have some sound marketing rules that will let the potential customer not just look at and compliment but actually BUY something. :0)

You may want to offer a special bundle price on some things...this price would be a break over buying each piece separately.

I totally understand about the time investment you have in your pieces...but sadly most do not think about that mostly due to the fact that they don't do any sewing and have no concept of what you have invested in it.

I know that there is a 30 mile drive and gasoline cost so factor that into the equation...decide how many weeks you will commit to showing up...watch the market foot traffic as a whole and try to figure out a percentage that is stopping to look (with interest) at your stuff.

If it's very low then I'd not go to the market and I'd concentrate selling online entirely. I've created more contacts online then I ever have out in the physical world.

The selling process is fairly simple and the overhead is low.

It's a lot to ponder but just remember that it's OK to try it or decline it..There's one thing I've learned in life so far and that is to follow your intuition (gut feeling)...it almost never lets me down.

Keep us updated as to what you are gonna try,