We should be at a market tomorrow.
The promotion was going nicely and the location looked perfect. The plans were made and the order ready to send to the table and tent suppliers. We had folks ready to help us set up and enjoy what could be a great day. So why did I cancel?
Some of you may be thinking that it was a pretty stupid thing to do. Some of you may even be cross with me. Honestly, I totally get it. When you apply for a market, you expect it to happen, right? Well in an ideal world they would. But please allow me to explain what lead me to make that decision. Why would I cancel something that I had put work in to creating? Why would I cancel and risk upsetting those that were ready to come and sell?
What was I thinking?
Let me tell you. There just weren’t enough people. There were applicants, actually enough to create a market. I can hear your confusion building, or is that annoyance? But just because there are enough people that want to join, doesn’t mean that we are market ready. At least not a Handmade in Norway market anyway. Handmade in Norway has many great core values. Encouraging and embracing creativity, which ever form it may take. Enabling networking and encouraging collaborations. Arranging events to allow us to teach our skills to others and learn new skills from someone else. But the one that kicked in to play when I decided to cancel the market at Lilleborg Torg, was that Handmade in Norway wishes to arrange high quality art and design markets, with integrity and of which we can all be proud.
Markets are not just a place to sell. They are a place to meet your customers and promote your products. You want to do this with your best foot forward and planted firmly on the ground. For me, the ground was shaky for this weekend. I could not put my hand on my heart and feel that we were delivering the best that we have.
I’m not being elitist by being strict about quality, although it may seem like it. I could loosen up my specifications of what makes a well curated market. I’d certainly make more money if I did just let anyone join. But that does not match with the values, or my expectations for our markets. They should be a great experience for both sellers and visitors. Had I have proceeded with too few sellers with quality items, and maybe even filled up table with other sellers too, we would not be stepping out with our best foot forward, rather walking backwards with our heads hung low. It would not attract people to follow Handmade in Norway, and it would reflect badly on the sellers that were there. It would create a bad association to visitors and result in sellers reporting poor sales too.
I don’t want to take money, to offer a bad experience.
So, I cancelled, and actually I feel pretty good about it. I acted with integrity.
At the next market in August we will march forwards, heads held high and we will deliver a market filled with truly awesome handmade products. Those selling will feel that they are part of an amazing creative movement, surrounded by amazingly creative people. Visitors will enjoy themselves, they will remember us and they will understand what we stand for.
That is my promise to all members of the Handmade in Norway group and to all those that follow what we do. And if I can ask a little favour in return, please apply in good time for our markets. Since cancelling this one I have had several enquiries, just days before the market should have taken place. Enquiries from really talented sellers with really great handcrafted products. Products that represent the best that we have to offer. I had to explain that I have cancelled – there will be no market. This information was met with shock, disbelief and sadness. If those who would like to join, apply in good time then the ground under my feet won’t be shaky at all. I can deliver great events to you, where you can confidently meet your customers and be the face of our handmade movement. You can share your passion with the visitors and sell your beautifully handcrafted wares.
I hope that now my decision makes sense.
Creativity & Community & Quality handmade products.