Posted by: Lisa | April 14, 2008

Brooklyn Flea Recap

“I thought it sucked. Nothing in the least interesting, everying[sic] overpriced. Most people I saw were disappointed.”

“…I love the craft stuff too. This market doesn’t have to be exactly like the Chelsea flea markets from the 1990s. It can reflect this creative neighborhood and the current resurgence in popularity of handmade goods.”

That was two very different views of the market yesterday. My own view is a bit different since I was a vendor.

Coming from the G train it was a very easy commute if you discounted the horrific waiting times.

My impression of the organizers is that they’re trying to make the market a cool place. If they know you, then you’re cool. If they don’t know you then you’re not. I say this because of my initial impression of Eric, whom when I first contacted for a vending space before I joined the {NewNew}, never bothered to respond to my emails. I’ve sent follow up emails to ask for a reply, even if it’s a no thanks you’re not right for this market.

Once I got there I thought I had to wait on line to sign in. I stood outside or fifteen minutes before being told my group was already inside. (He was taking his time chatting with the people in front of me whom he obviously knew.)

There were five other sellers in my group, and I can’t help but think that, if the organizers were good enough to answer the emails of the “uncool” people, they would’ve made 3x as much. Instead, we banded together to share tents, and I was able to sell at the venue for a fraction of the price.

Speaking of selling, I sold a good amount of goods, enough to double what I spent on space, the table, and the little shopping cart to haul my stuff. Since this is my first outdoor selling experience, I didn’t have any real expectations. But it did provide me with a benchmark, and gave really good insight on what worked and what didn’t, and what passers-by responded to.

Using a plate shelf to give my table height worked. Using a photo tree on a windy day did not. Every time a strong gust of wind came a card would fall off the tree. I ended up duct taping the back of the plastic to the clips and hugged the tree when it got windy.

The last minute decision to display a wedding invitations album was the best decision by far. People were very interested in going through the book, and a lot of couples were pleasantly surprised that I do all of this in my home studio. (Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be able to move into a better, visitor-friendly space and be able to do open houses.)

People seemed genuinely happy to see “such pretty cards” and the Japanese Blossom cards were well received. I received dozens of compliments them, and people walked by and then back tracked to take a closer look. In terms of what sold best, it was that followed very closely by the Wild Fields, which I made into singles. The 4 packs of the Bouquet and Roadside Blooms moved well also, and I’m thinking of carrying these more in the future.

All in all, I had a great time. I think getting to see people’s reactions face-to-face is by far the most rewarding thing about doing shows. At first I was pretty nervous, (I mean, you would be too if you read the negative comments on the venue.) But seeing how most of the people that bought my paper goods were appreciative, I can truly say that I had a good first outdoor market experience. And that’s pretty cool!



  1. Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Lisa, that’s awesome. I’m glad it went so well for you and your review is truly insightful. I hope I can give it a try in next month, but I’m nervous about it too!


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