Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brooklyn Indie Market, June 12th

This past Saturday, June 12, was my first time participating in the Brooklyn Indie Market, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Amanda and I left her family’s house in Nassua by a quarter to nine armed with both directions from Google Maps and a Tom Tom. Of course the two wanted us to go in completely different directions once we got further west on the island, so we followed the sultry British voice of the GPS, hoping we made the right choice. We spotted the red and white striped tent by 9:30 and easily slid into a parking spot across the street.

Set-up was not until 10:00, so we stopped at the Fall Café across the street from the venue for some breakfast. We continued to give this establishment business throughout the day as a trade off for using their bathroom. It was a vicious cycle of buying a drink to use the restroom, drinking it, and then needing to go back and buy another drink.

We walked across the street and into the tent to be greeted by Kathy Malone, the organizer of the Brooklyn Indie Market, who led me to the middle of the tent and let me choose which side to file in on. It was a small space, but not crowded, with enough room for around 15 artists.

Pedestrians started wandering in before 11:00, the official start time. The morning rush seemed to be overflow from a nearby farmer’s market, as most had fresh vegetables. Most were young families, with infants and toddlers, and even a young girl rocking a Snow White costume riding a scooter. From what I saw this is the majority of the Carroll Garden’s community, the market’s central customer base. Most of the day was slow, although traffic did pick up in the late afternoon. Other vendor’s said it was slower than past weekends.

In the afternoon I went for a walk down Union Street and was reminded that the World Cup was being aired, and saw that the bars were packed with people in there American flag swimming trunks and Uncle Sam hats. Perhaps that was a factor in this Saturday being slower than others, and maybe a game ending gave us that afternoon rush. There was that one guy who ran through the tent wa-hoo-ing with a hand drum, and that other guy who was admiring my work with ‘I’ve been drinking all day,’ glazed over eyes.

I’ve only shown at one-day art/craft fairs in the past, never a weekly market. The Brooklyn Indie Market does not seem to be a destination for anyone, other than my mom and my friends who came. The customers were mainly people who were walking by anyway and decided to stroll through. The rotation of vendors and groovy tunes does help the market stay fresh and interesting, and there is ample foot traffic in the neighborhood. I think the key at this market is to know the audience and offer what they want, and to have a display that will grab the passer-byers, and force them to stop and shop.

Towards the end of the day Kathy came around with champagne for the vendors as we were anxiously waiting the end, but still hoping for one more sale. Amanda and I were very excited to buy a print by Rebecca Sherman, a very talented artist, and in the end I made a decent amount of sales, and hope all of the artists did as well.

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