Urban Makers East Spring Market

Two weeks ago, I posted about applying to a couple of Spring Markets and getting accepted for both. Well, the first one has already come and gone this last Saturday. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, since I’m not very much used to dealing with the public directly yet, but I had a lot of fun.

This market was organised by Urban Makers East in Mile End and I daresay it was quite the success. An estimated 2000 people visited the event and I can fairly say I didn’t notice much of a lull in the overall attendance. If you’d like to see some photos taken by the event organisers, pop by the Urban Makers East photo gallery and check out all the lovely stalls – there’s some of my stuff, too (and one where my face shows up in hiding).

The day before the event, I tried to mock up my stall, to get an idea of how to place the items when I got there (this is a good idea to do if you’re new to selling in markets, because it gives you an idea of what works and doesn’t, and saves time on the day). My dining table work table is slightly smaller than the table I’d get, but it was still a good way to gauge how to do things.

This is how it ended up – you can see I made some last-minute alterations. I’m also quite sure this is nowhere near an ideal table, and I’ll be changing how I display my items in the future (and looking back thinking of myself as a poor newbie).

If you look at the right corner, you can spot my Bliss wheel – I took it with me as a conversation starter and the braid you see on top of it was what I was spinning. However, that didn’t last long; if I was at the wheel I’d be needed at the table for something else, and if I was at the table I’d get asked about the wheel. On one occasion, I had a child kick it, and it took me a lot of restraint not to say something very rude to his mother (sorry, I’m only human).

This is the hand dyed and hand spun yarn I had on display. I had a lot more under the table but didn’t want to overwhelm the stand with too much visual information. My plan was to replace the sold yarn with others as the day progressed, and I’m happy to report I did just that.

The hand dyed orange yarn on the top left (“Tibet”) and the hand spun red yarn on the top right were sold to a single customer – in fact, she bought all of my three “Tibet” skeins! That was the highlight of my day.
The pink yarn in the middle (“Old Ballet Shoes”) was coveted but not purchased at the fair; instead, it got sold in my Etsy shop a few days later. It’s on its way to Portugal as I write.

A couple of days before the event, I had the mad brilliant idea of creating a DIY needle felting kit. I decided on something simple and beginner-friendly, and the toadstool kit was born. Basically, I had to photograph step-by-step instructions, choose and format the images, then prepare the written instructions to go with the images, choose my words carefully, ask three proof-readers to help me out (one of them with proper editing skills, hoorah) and, finally, print said instructions and assemble all the materials in a (hopefully) cute way.
Yes, just the thing to do right before an event that was stressing me out already.

I did sell a few on the day, and got an image of a finished toadstool from a friend who completed it the very next day. It looked really good! I’ve also sold a few more in my online shop in the meantime, so that makes me happy.

And, saving the cutest thing for last. I had Bex’s Drawings as my front stall neighbour, she specialises in stationery with her own drawings. Unfortunately, after the market begun I didn’t have much time to interact with her anymore, but at the end of the day she told me she had spent some time drawing my table, my assistant and I! She later shared the drawing with me, and allowed me to share it with the world. Isn’t this drawing just lovely? You can follow Bex’s Drawings on Instagram.

Funnily enough, it’s as if Bex was guessing my future plans – she drew my then-light brown and blonde hair blue, and it’s now really blue. Art imitating life?

So that’s my first Spring market adventure done. How about you, have you been to/worked on any craft markets lately? What did you see? Tell me in the comments section.

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6 responses to “Urban Makers East Spring Market

  1. It looks like you had a really great time! Well done! I would love to have another craft stall one day, preferably at the big shows, like Woolfest or Yarndale. I went to the Knit and Stitch show in Penrith a couple of weeks ago and that was fun. I only bought a few bits and pieces but held back from purchasing some fibre. I have too much already that needs doing, haha. Good luck with future shows!

    • Thanks, I did! I’d love to have the courage to want to have a stall at Woolfest 🙂 That would mean my selling skills would be mad wonderful by then.

      The K&S is great and I’m sorry we don’t have as many events here in the UK as the US does – although I suspect my wallet is very happy with that.

      We should compare stash sizes 😀 (My excuse is, “it’s for work!”)

      Hope you have a stall in the future!

      • My excuse is ‘I don’t have this and I NEED it for this project RIGHT NOW.’ Haha. Gosh, I would LOVE to do Woolfest but it is like £300 odd just to have a small stall – so maybe when I make some money I can apply to have one! Or find someone to share with, haha.

  2. Congratulations! Sounds like you did well. Different levels on your table help to show off your work. But you will soon learn what sells your stuff best 🙂

    • Thanks Ruth! It was fun.
      Yes, I’m still in the very beginning phases of understanding what works and what doesn’t, but I’m also finding how reactions can differ from one fair to another… Tough business!

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