Friday, April 19, 2013

Market Displays, Questions

As you all know I go to the markets often.  I  go to look at the different ways all the items are displayed, what other stall holders are selling, and the selling price of items are at the markets here in Melbourne area of Victoria.  Melbourne has so many wonderful markets.   
While I was going through the literally thousands to photos my husband has taken over the years, I realized I have been going to markets for most of my adult like.  I found some amazing photos of of markets in Hong Kong, Thailand, and of course many places here in Australia. 

  I thought this week I would talk about some of the advice I have been given by some of the people I have talked to who have market stalls.
   There are so many ways to display your items for sale, but the question I always have in the back of my mind is, what makes the items stand out?  What catches my eye as I walk past?  I asked a few questions of market stall holders I met at the Blackbird market where a friend of mine was exhibiting.  Here are some of their answers:

1. Use displays with varying heights to display your items. 
 I found these photos of a friend and I at markets in Bangkok.  Some of the displays were difficult to navigate all the items for sale.  The items on the tables all at the same level and the sheer volume of things for sale made it time consuming to look at everything that was for sale.  I must admit it was like a kid in a candy shop. We went crazy over all the fantastic beads and jewelry items. My luggage was chockers with the market haul. hehe


These photos are of a market in Perth in 2002.  Wow, I do go to a LOT of markets!

Rotary Fair, Perth, Western Australia Circa 2002

Docklands Markets, Melbourne, VIC circa 2012

2. You don't have to spend a lot of money on your displays.  One stall holder said she got some of her displays for less than $10.00. 

  My son's fiance found an old vintage wig box on the side of the road and picked it up for me to use in my market stall.  I would love to find out more about this box.  The label has asian writing that looks like Chinese lettering.  I have no idea about the age but it is certainly quite old.

Wig Box, with Asian writing on the box and labels
 One of my items I used, was an old Asparagus crate I got free at a market many years ago. I had intended to paint it but never got around to painting it.  I used it as a storage for my sales journal, and hiding the cash box out of site.
  These 'babies' were an amazing find.  I got these at the Sunday markets in Camberwell, VIC.  I make hand made Vintage inspired cards for guys. So, I wanted to get vintage suitcases to display my cards in.  I have been to second hand shops and found the cases were to expensive.  I did not want to pay more than $50.00 for one.  Last week while at the Camberwell, Sunday market I saw these two brown cases that looked quite old.  I thought it would not hurt just to ask what the seller wanted for the cases.  I was so surprised when they asked $30.00 for both cases!! Bargain!!

Globite Cases, circa ~ 1950's

3. Display a variety of your work out where it is visible and eye catching. 
 One of the markets I went to was a really small venue and my friend had a 1m square table set up with her silver jewelry set up on the table.  She had most of her items on the table and kept some in reserve when the items on the table were sold.  She had arranged her items so that  you could see all that was for sale in nearly one glance across the table.  The items were blocked out in sections, i.e. small earrings in a display box with the price marker at the top of the box. The long necklaces laid out on top of a cloth that complemented the items that were for sale.  The bracelets and rings were in another section on the table with a price label on them.  This was all on one VERY small table.

4. Have a variety of displays that will catch the buyers eye.  
  One item that really caught my eye at a market, and I used it with good effect, was a display board.  I used mine at the market to change the cards I had on display every so often.  It was the one display that I got the most feedback from customers.

     What display ideas do you have for your market?  Or, what displays have caught your eye at a market?

Happy Blogging
Tracy @ Warratahstree

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Mingle Blog Hop Theme Post


 This weeks theme: Birthdays
 1. When is your Birthday? January 13 2. Do you normally have a big party? No, my children don't live at home now and we often just go out to dinner. My mom, dad, and siblings all live in the USA. I only have my husband and kids living here in Melbourne. Now that my grand kids live close by this year we had a family picnic at a park. I loved having all my family around. 3. When are your SOs and kids birthday? Do they fall close together? Hubby's is Oct 16. Oldest's is Sept 11, Youngest is Sept. 24 April (he has 4 kids all under 6yrs old) Grandkids 4. How do you celebrate their birthdays? Hubby we go to dinner or have a family dinner here at the house will all the grandkids around or we go out for a quiet dinner. We often go out with our son's for dinner on their birthdays, something they don't often do for themselves as they are just starting out and don't have money to do anything special like take their families out for dinner. 5. If you could have one thing for your next birthday what would it be? I would love to have all my family for just one birthday. My father, mother, and siblings all live in the USA, I would love to have a birthday with all my family here in Australia and in the USA.

Come Join the blog hop and meet new people.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Market trip again

Just a quick blog post. I promised my self I would not buy anything...but saw these for a good price. They will make great displays for markets.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

First Love, What inspires me

 Have you ever been somewhere, done something that make you say "Ahhh" and feel like spreading your arms out wide and dance a little happy dance?  
   I decided to take Saturday, last week, off from making all the Mother's day cards I have to make for a womens group I belong to.  I belong to a women's breakfast club and every year I make at least 20 Mother's day cards to sell to the group.

 Some Mother's Day Cards I have been making
    This past weekend, my husband and I went on our usual market scouting.  We went to Red Hill, Market,  Melbourne's, "Grand Dame"  of markets.  I have always liked to visit the craft markets to get creative ideas and to ensure what I am making is unique.  Of course I love to do my "grandma shopping" at the markets.  I think by buying handmade items at the markets I am supporting other artist  and I also like buying one of a kind items. 
 We bought several items at the market.  I picked up some amazing Chilli Jelly.  My mouth waters every time I think of that smooth flavour and the bite at the end of the taste. YUMMY!  
Our Market Haul...Not including the dog hehe

  After the market,  I decided to go on a road trip. My husband always says my son's and I have my father's love of the 'road trip'.  
 I remember as a kid I use to have this feeling of wonderment, joy and peace every time my father would take us on a road trip to see the mountains or the sea. There were many places I remember visiting in  North Carolina, and Virginia, but the mountains and the ocean were the places that always made me feel like I belonged there,  and I was at peace.

   I  went back to NC to visit my family in Jan 2013.  It was a mild winter and I spent nearly every morning going to breakfast with my dad.  After my favorite breakfast of grits and an egg (over easy of coarse), my dad always liked to go for "road trip' around the country side of the Randolf, and Davidson county areas of NC. It is a rural area with plenty of open country to explore. I loved hearing my dad's stories about all the people that lived in the area, seeing all the old homesteads, the red barns and the one thing NC is famous for, those old tobacco sheds. 

Pilot Mountain, NC USA
Every time I go back to visit my family I feel that same feeling again, peace, joy, hooome.... However, there is one place that my dad has taken me several times and that is back to the place of his birth, and the place near where his family settled when they came to America as settlers, Pilot Mountain, NC . 

Visiting Pilot Mountain, NC always reminds me of my first love, the mountains.  The beauty, the art of nature!  Nature is a living breathing art that surrounds us every day of our lives. It is certainly the inspiration for my painting.
Our 'road trip' on Saturday morning, last week, my husband and I went to several areas of the Mornington Peninsula (  
 The one place that made me think back to that first love of the mountains, and made me stand in awe of this planet we live on, was at Cape Schanck, VIC. (,_Victoria).  
 Looking at the limestone formation that overlay the volcanic basalt formation, reminded me of my studies at Flinders University, in South Australia.  It brought back many happy memories of all the things I learned about Geology at Flinders University came flooding back.  The beauty of nature. That old feeling of first love, that feeling of peace, and that feeling of home all came flooding back in a rush. It may not have been the mountains of my childhood, but just seeing those rock formations and remembering how fascinating nature is.  I felt again that wonderment that nature is art and I am surrounded by so many influences for my art every day.

  Yes, I live in a city, a very large city!  My husband says it is like living with a caged animal sometimes and that my whole demeanor changes when we go 'bush'.  He's right about that!  I really enjoy going to all the amazing places in Melbourne,  but I just have to get out in the open air with 'no 4 walls' now and then.

   Though I have  been many places in my life, lived in 2 countries, traveled most of both my birth country and my adopted country, but one thing always makes me feel free like an eagle soaring.  That is when I go "bush", in the country of my birth or here in the country I currently reside.  (Bush is an Australianism term.."Bush : the hinterland, the Outback, anywhere that isn't in town" )  The colours of nature are so rich I want to get out the paint brushes and paint what I see.  I am never sure I would ever capture the diversity of the colour I see but I certainly give it a try now and then.
Cape Schanck

   Now back to reality...I have a whole week ahead to get moving on some Mother's day cards.  
Happy Blogging and let nature inspire your art next time your out 'bush';

Tracy @ Warratahstree

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Feed back and sale of handmade items helps us make the decisions about what items will sell

This week I got asked a great question.  "I am wanting to sell my jewelry.  I just want to perfect it a bit more before I post them in my store.  So any tips you have I would gladly take....." The question was posed by  +Niki A  @ (My Life Remixing Blog)

   While I was so flattered to be asked that question, I too am still finding my niche' in the area of my Fimo jewelry.  I want it to be unique, something someone else is not making but also items that will sell. I asked myself the same question once I decided to sell my artwork.
  I have always been involved in craft, DIY, art, and many other creative activities.  Making the step from crafter to artist was a long gradual process for me.  For many years I made things for me, because I liked the look of something or I wanted to learn a new technique.

  With the encouragement of my friends and family, I decided to try making my hobby my business.  The first thing I did was research what I wanted to sell, how I wanted to sell, what customers are buying, and what the competition was.

  What to sell?

  For many years all my craft and painting projects came from books, magazines and classes.  Very little of what I painted was my own work.  I would often change projects I saw in magazines and books to suit me, but the work was still not my own.
  What really started me doing my own design work, was in a painting class I did with a painting teacher in Perth, Western Australia.  Her name was Kim Howe, and she taught colour theory, and design techniques in folkart painting...i.e. Tole Painting, Decorative Painting.
  I created my own painted pieces as much as I could after that.  Doing these two courses opened my eyes to allowing the creative processes to flow more freely....using that right brain creative process :>)

    Here are a few of my own designs I did in early 2000-2003


When I got into card making, and later jewelry making I used my knowledge of colour technique and some of the design techniques in my jewelry making and card making.  Though the original courses I did were in a different area of art, the theory still applied.
    Now to create something unique.  WELL, if your even the slighted ADD, ADHD like I am it is like taking your kids to the candy shop and telling them to make ONE choice.  For months my mind went round and round with all sorts of ideas!!!!  Focus, Tracy, FOCUS. NOT hehe.  Finding that unique style or product that customers are buying was now my target.

    I love recreating things from old jewelry I find in the op shops (second hand).

  The beads for these earrings are old imitation pearls with the coating removed and repainted using tinted nail polish and metal leafing.  I get comments from these every time I wear them.  Oh of coarse they are my favorite colour!! I have way to much purple in my wardrobe ;>)

  What Customers are buying vs My Product
  I have always been crazy about craft markets and will go there to buy unique items that are hand made.  I live in Melbourne, VIC in Australia.  Melbourne is a market lovers heaven!  My husband and I will plan many of our trips around markets.  So, I went to several markets looking at the items for sale at the hand craft stalls.  I saw many booths that had cards and jewelry, but few that had photography and hand painted items.  

    A friend of mine makes the most amazing silver jewelry.  Brooke is studying to be a silver smith and is a very talented artist. (Babbling Bee Etsy Shop)

  I researched several things at each of these markets,  what items did I see repeated in several booths?  Were there striking, unique items?  Is what I am selling just like what everyone else is selling? What were the prices vs what I sell my items for?

   Another research tool I used was I would show my family members and friends what I made.  If I got an excited positive reaction to what I made, I would make more of that item.  One Facebook friend puts their items online and asks for comments on whether we would buy the items and if the we would buy the item for the price they were asking.

    I joined an artist group online that often poses different questions to artists and one question they asked was "Do you feel that you have to compromise to sell your art." I have heard it said over and over by many artists in groups where I paint and do classes, "they are selling themselves out just to make a buck".  Let's face it, if you want to sell something you have to make what people will buy.  Sometimes we have to make items that  our customers like but it is not our passion.  A very wise blogger and friend told me once, that she makes what sells but spends her spare time doing what she loves to do and allowing the creative passion to be free to make things for herself.

   I created the Paris themed cards this past month after hearing one of my friends talk about how much she liked the Paris themed items that are in the stores we were shopping at.

   I want to have hand painted items in my market stall too. Hmmm,   painted items would give me a unique thing to sell, but will customers buy it?  As I do not currently have a unique style painting, I am going to wait a while for painted items to go into my market stall.

  So my answer to Niki's question, though a  long answer, is.... What is your original work, that customers like?  Try out your product on friends and family.  Every piece you get comments on, make another to sell.  Read about what  products others are making, buying or talking about. Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions. 

Happy Blogging;
Tracy @ Warratahstree 

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