I had emailed the people earlier in the year to try to get a space here, but they were hesitant to take us because of Gamer's hats. They said they stick to handmade things, so weren't sure. When I emailed them this time, I sent a link to his website and to my photo page, and wrote up nice little marketingy copy about how his originally-designed, hand-labeled, and so on, and got an email back saying we were welcome to display at the flea market, arrive at 7:45am, and ask for Butch.
At 7:45 Saturday morning, I find Butch setting up his tent of vintage clothing and antiques. Introduce myself, tell him I've been emailing with the other guy, and that my brother and I are here to set up. Butch lets out a long sigh, looks down at his hands and then up at the sky and grunts, "what do you have?" Fearing another bit of resistance to the hats, I cheerfully say we have handmade jewelry and original baseball caps. Butch winces, sighs again, and says, "ugh. We have a lot of jewelry here. I've got jewelry, she's got jewelry...them...them...them. We were going to put a moratorium on it, really." I said I had already emailed with the other guy and he didn't say it was a problem. "Well because he doesn't care." Listen, we came all the way out here. If there was a problem, you should have said something. Do you not want us to sell here? "No! I'd never turn anyone away. I don't want to have to hear you complain that you didn't sell anything because there's too much jewelry here!" At this point, I actually started crying, and asked why he was doing this. "What do you mean? I'm just warning you!" My big brother notices me crying, dons his you wouldn't like me when I'm angry stance, comes over, and asks what the problem is. Butch says he was just talking to me and I got all upset: "It's just that when the lady next to me has $1 jewelry, I'm not going to sell my $5 jewelry." I tell him that's not an issue, since I'm not selling garbage, and that the people who want $1 jewelry aren't who I'm after. I ask if he's finished with his piece, and if we can go set up.
After getting shuffled around a few times, we're set up in a corner, but in a spot that appears to be pretty good, close to the parking lot, and at a 4-path intersection. We're told a guy selling CDs will be setting up across from us, which we're happy about since he'll probably draw a lot of people. On our other side, however, Scottie is setting up. Scottie and his girlfriend were there raising money for a charity that helps mentally handicapped homeless people. Scottie himself appeared to have been helped by the charity before and was there to support them helping the next mentally handicapped homeless person get on their feet. It sounds like a good charity, and it's great that Scottie is working to support the charity that supported him.
The only problem is that Scottie spent the day carrying a bucket and loudly asking people to donate to help the mentally handicapped homeless. If people donated, he'd thank them enthusiastically, and if they had a child with them, would want to pat the child on the head or give them a high five. Scottie often forgot who had donated the last time they walked by and who said they would donate on their way out. Scottie wanted to see Gamer and I do well, so he'd often point out our table to people walking by after he asked for money from them. Scottie is 6'5" tall and was wearing a dirty Uncle Sam costume with matching top hat.
Needless to say, people didn’t mingle long in our corner of the flea market. I was frustrated but did my best to be patient and compassionate to him. Any lingering feelings of frustration were turned into overwhelming feelings of guilt, however, when he came over and admired my work. He said he loved it all, and wanted to buy one in particular for his girlfriend, but at $35, it would have cost him all of his money for the weekend. He asked to see the less expensive pieces, called his girlfriend over and asked her to pick one out. He put it on for her, and she said "I love you so much. I'm going to wear it all the time, I love it." and he said softly back, "I love you too." I gave him an extra dollar back with his change for his bucket, and Gamer gave him a ten.
The guy who had been helping us find a spot to set up delivered on the hat-resistance I had been concerned about earlier. After we got set up, he stopped by to tell us how things work, and commented on Gamer's hats. He asked if Gamer made them himself, and when Gamer said he didn't, the guy says "well...we normally only have hand made things here, so..." Gamer smirked and said it was kind of hard to make a baseball hat by hand, and later admitted to holding his tongue when he thought to tell the guy how impressed he is by the booth next to us and how they are able to write, print, and bind entire books that look exactly like regular books and sell them for just a few bucks, or if the photographer created his own chemicals, mined the metal for the frames and blew the glass himself. These people must be working on razor-thin profit margins.
By about 2pm, the crowds had never really arrived. I had thought with the nearby farmer's market in the morning people would stop by afterwards, and it couldn't have been a more beautiful day. The CD guy said it was the slowest day he had seen in months, and not to get discouraged: it wasn't because people weren't looking at my stuff, it's that there weren't people there to look. We packed up at about a quarter to three. It had been a beautiful day, highlighted by visits from bobwhite and observacious, and ao and mac, and complete with a little air show; the new Air Force Memorial was being dedicated not far away and we got to see a Stealth bomber and some other military planes fly overhead. I sold the one necklace to Scottie, and one to observacious, and Gamer sold one hat to a guy who simply walked up to the table, picked up a hat, handed us his money and split. I ended up spending more money on vegetables from the farmers market than I sold, but it was a good enough day all around.
I'm not sure if I'm going to show again before the year is over, but I'm not completely discouraged yet. Perhaps after the third strike.
I'm really happy with my new display. I think it's a real improvement on last time: