Turning CassidyMade into a business has been a lot of work - but I got to experience some of the best parts of owning my own business at our first ever market.
If you follow me on Instagram (@cassidymadeco) you may have seen that we attended our very first market event as vendors over the weekend. And in the breathtaking city of Asheville of all places!
Bridget, my studio assistant, and I drove over 4 hours to the inaugural Pups and Pints event at Pack Square Collection, to benefit the Asheville Humane Society.
With a grand view of the sun setting behind the mountains in the distance, it was truly magical.... after the stress, anxiety, and a dash of car sickness subsided, that is.
The stars really aligned to allow us to make the trip to the event, and I'm so grateful that they did. There was a bit of time along the way that I had written the event off completely, due to multiple factors (like the drive itself, the fact that I would be pup-sitting 3 pups at my house that weekend, the fact that I primarily sell custom digital portraits, and a few more but I'll spare you the rest of the excuses I created at the time).
I recall a specifically enlightening moment in the weeks prior: I was sitting in my car right after having sent an email, feeling so bummed that I was letting this amazing, arguably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass me by. Then, it dawned on me that if I was this sad over not taking advantage of this opportunity, then I should just go for it and try to make it happen, even if the odds appeared to be against me. Then I could at least say that I tried, and if I wasn't able to go then it wasn't meant to happen. But, like my 9th grade teacher once said to me, if there is a will there is a way, and slowly things began to fall into place to allow us to go on this adventure.
Once our plans were fully solidified, Bridget and I wasted no time preparing. We gathered all that we could in items we already had (the hoarder in me was thrilled to finally put my excessive number of unused baskets to use), but we still lacked some of the main components to a smooth operating booth. Thankfully,we have other small business friends with market experience who helped make sure we had the essentials. (S/O PetPaintingsByNicole who came in clutch with the tent and tables for us to borrow)
Some of the market essentials are:
- Tent (to shield you from the elements)
- Tent Weights (to keep said tent from blowing away due to said elements)
- Table(s) (for products)
- Business cards (so people can have a way to contact you and follow up after the market)
- Products to display and/or products to sell
Then the not-so-essentials:
- Table cover(s)
- Baskets/bins/tubs/shelves/pegboards to hold items
- Table decor - this part is really fun!
- Plastic frames to display important information
- Email signup sheet or QR code to a signup page (shoutout VictoriaLowryArt for this genius suggestion)
- QR codes for alll the things ^
- Lighting (in case it gets dark, which it did, for us)
And the list goes on, all depending on how you want your setup to look.
The cool thing is that you can really make it your own and let your creativity run wild.
The event itself was a big success.
It was held at the top of a parking deck and there were multiple other small business vendors in attendance, as well as live music, pet photography, and a pup who was adopted by the end of the event!
There was a great turnout, lots of cute pups - even some in sweaters and in costumes, and we made some sales, got some leads, and made some great connections along the way.
I even got the once in a lifetime chance to meet one of my IG friends/supporters/muses @rocky.theaussiedood and his amazing mom, Angie who I adore. Thanks to her, I was able to take the sweetest photo with him and the sticker of his digital portrait I made. (I'm not crying..you are..)
It was truly amazing.
But, with all that said, as with most firsts, minor mistakes were made. The first, and most comical, was a magnet we made specifically for the event. It had a mountain view of the sun setting and the name of the city - Asheville. After we made about 10, we realized we spelled Asheville wrong LOL. But it was a happy accident and they ended up being freebies, and hardly anyone noticed until it was pointed out.
The other rookie mistake I made was not documenting all of it, and not taking a picture of our booth after it was all set up LOL. But as much as I would've liked to have more video of it, being fully present and off of my devices allowed me to fully embrace this first experience at a market.
I'm so happy to have had our first event be such a great and successful experience, with kind people and cute doggos all around. And a stellar view.
It excited me so much (more) for the future of this biz and I cannot wait to see what is in store for CassidyMade, and the markets to come :)