The summer is winding down, farmers markets are getting a little slower and cooler and I am starting to switch into holiday prep mode (by “mode” I mean anxiety). I am rapidly approaching my 2 year business anniversary, September 30th, and I am trying to take time to reflect on my summer and second year in business. I went from participating in one farmers market last year, to participating in nine markets this year. I regularly reached my sales goals for each market and I am on track to exceed the sales goal I set for my business in January to double my annual sales from last year. I have learned a lot about farmers market culture: managers, customers, vendors and municipalities. I’ve realized I understand people less than I thought I did because I am constantly amazed by customers, good and bad. I have gotten my tent and table display set up time down to 10-15 minutes. I’ve learned that you can still get a farmers tan while wearing sunscreen under a tent, that is if you stand outside every day for three months. I did not spend any time on the beach or camping this summer, I let a backyard garden . . . not reach its potential, I have many half-finished project around my house, and I did not spend nearly enough time with my husband. I can’t say that I regret it, well all except that last point. I love what I do. I get to stand behind a product that makes people happy. I get to help spread sweet joy through parents sending care packages to new college students, couples at their wedding, or just the single s’more consumer at the market. Could I ask for a better job?
It has been a privilege to get to know so many talented small food vendors. It can get scary and lonely to be in business by yourself. It has been tremendously reassuring to know that I have the same experiences, challenges, fears and dreams as all the vendors who I see at the same markets 5 days a week. We have all had customers say, “oh I make that better than you do” or some variation of dream-destroying sentiments. We have all had emergencies that seem to throw us off our game. We have all dealt with the same market manager who might not realize our businesses are our livelihood. At the same time, we have all had the customers who say, “this is the best (insert handmade deliciousness here) I have ever eaten in my life”. We have been able to share what market strategies are most successful, marketing tips, and where to get the best business cards printed, and how to stay relatively sane amidst complete insanity. All in all, a pretty sweet summer and an even better year.
I apologize if this post has been a little disjointed. I have spent significantly more time mulling over these ideas over the past weeks instead of writing, and if I don’t post now, this will be my 3 year anniversary post.
Thanks for your help combating brownie boredom, one S’more at a time!™ For TWO years!!!