Selling Local

I know we’ve all heard, “Buy local!”

I love that concept.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to benefit their neighbors or their own local community.  It’s just plain good for everyone.

But as a producer of goods, I also love to be able to “sell local.”

Thanks to The Merchant Company, I can do just that!

As with all my Monday Maine-ia contacts, I came across The Merchant Company (TMC) through Etsy.  A chat thread on our Etsy Maine Team to be specific (see why I love my Maine team!?)

It was about this time last year when TMC opened their doors.  In their own words, they describe themselves as ” a unique handmade arts, crafts and vintage store with over 80 selected vendors, offering the best in local housewares, clothing, paper goods, jewelry & accessories.”

I share a rented booth space with my pal, Shanna Tice (I know I promised to do a feature on her…I haven’t forgotten!).

I love the shop set up.  All the vendors are hand picked through a jury process, so you know you’re getting great stuff!  And, as vendors, we’ve got the choice to sell purely commission based, or rent a booth space.

There is such a great mix of items there.  Here, let me show you…

Photos from TMC's Facebook album

And here’s a peek at Shanna’s and my booth:

So, if you’re in the Portland, Maine, area, come visit The Merchant Company.  It’s right on Congress Street, #656.  You’ll be glad you did!

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The BIG THAW

Good morning!  Did you have a good weekend?  Mine was too short.  Oh well, that’s life!

Anyway…it’s Monday morning, time for the next installment of Monday Maine-ia, yay!

Today I’m featuring an event, and I have to say, it’s probably one of my favorites.  It’s a bi-annual craft fair…spring edition called The BIG THAW, and holiday edition called The Big Chill.

This craft fair is very near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons.  First of all, I was part of the initial spark that got the whole idea rolling in the first place.  As I recall, the conversation went something like this…

(Etsy Maine Team Discussion Thread, January 2011)

Team member #1:  “Boy, sales are sure slow right now.  Anyone else feeling the same?”

Team member #2:  “Yup!  It’s that time of year!”

Me:  “I was thinking might be fun to have team craft fair, something like “Cabin Fever Craft Fair” or some such thing.”

Audrey of Littleeye Designs:  “That sounds like a fun idea.”

…end of discussion.

…later, in an e-mail…

Audrey:  “You got my planning gears turning and I think a craft fair would be a great idea.  Wanna help?”

Me:  “Sure!  Whatever you need!”

And so the first ever BIG THAW was conceived.  Thanks Audrey!

Audrey is amazing…she’s so creative, and she lives right in town on the edge of the arts district, practically in the middle of the action as far as the creative crowd is concerned.  She found this amazing space to hold our fair in, an old church converted into an arts center and she enlisted the skills of a couple of designer/printer  friends of hers to make us some stunning posters…

Gorgeous artwork by Meagan Anderson and Kris Johnsen.

The space we were renting was small, and we had a LOT of interested artisans, so we had to go through all the applicants and choose the very best (SOOO hard to do!  So many talented folks here!).

The end result…and AMAZING craft fair, cram-packed with unique arts, crafts, vintage goods, and, best of all, customers!  It was such a huge success that before the day was even over there was talk of a sister fair during holiday craft fair time!

I’m sad to say that I wasn’t able to continue being a part of the process, but, come late summer, Audrey was sufficiently recovered from all the hard work she put into the spring event and announced the 1st Annual Big Chill!  Same great location, same quality promoting, same fantastic showing!  Here’s the poster from that fair:

same great artists responsible for the first poster!

And now it’s spring again.  You probably know what that means…time for The BIG THAW #2!  And I expect it’s going to be as fantastic as ever!

and they've done it, once again!

If you’re going to be in the Portland, Maine area on May 12th (that’s the day before Mother’s Day…just a friendly reminder), then this is a must-see!  This is the first one I’m going to have to miss (kids are graduation from high school and college, kinda can’t skip that!), and I truly am sad to be missing out.

Audrey, you’ve pulled off an amazing event more that once, I just KNOW this one is going to be great, too!

Good Golly, Miss Mollie!

In the spirit of connecting Etsy-world and the real world, I thought it would be fun to share some people and places from Maine that I first found on Etsy but have met or experienced in person.  Introducing a new weekly series called Monday Maine-ia!

My first feature is about a person who, appropriately, is a self-proclaimed “Monday” person, always eager and ready to jump into the new week…my dear, sweet friend, Mollie Meserve of Rough Magic Creations (and Rough Magic Holidays, and  Rough Magicals).

I first “met” Mollie on the Etsy Maine Team, but I got to know her better when we decided to partner up during Etsy’s Holiday Boot Camp.  Mollie is the kind of person who, regardless of age, is young at heart.  When she’s in the room (even the virtual room), everyone feels a little happier!

And she’s an amazing copper-smith and jeweler.  With Etsy so full of great jewelry, it takes a true artist to be able to stand out in the crowd, and Miss Mollie, in my humble opinion, stands head and shoulders above the crowd.  I love how she combines the colors and textures of various metals and stones.  And I’m pretty sure she makes all of her own findings.  Now that’s one-of-a-kind!

The first time I met her in person was at a team-sponsored craft fair.  Mollie didn’t participate as a vendor, but she made the long trip from Down East just to meet the rest of us.  The minute I saw her I ran over and gave her a big hug, and got an even BIGGER hug in return!

Oh, and Mollie is the creator of my most favorite pair of earrings:

I wear these almost every day…they go great with all my outfits!

Mollie is also a super star at creating Etsy Treasuries.  She’s challenged herself to make at least one treasury for every day of this year.  Wow!  That’s a lot of treasuries!  And she’s so good at it, too!  You can find all of Mollie’s treasuries here.  I hope you take the time to check them out; they are works of art in and of themselves!

So, there you have it, my first feature of the beauty of Maine on Etsy.  There is so much more to share…hope you’ll join me next time!

How’s Your Team Spirit?

Courtesy of SheenaEsque

I’m not big into sports, but I do love my teams…Etsy Maine Team, CAST, Etsy Success, Handmadeology, just to name a few.

O.K., it’s not the same as a sports team, but Etsy teams really are great.  Why?  Two words…support, and community.

When I first joined Etsy I had no idea what I was doing.  Sure, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to sign up for a shop, upload a few photos, and post a listing.  But getting that listing found, making it look good, figuring out the extra details of navigating Etsy-world…that I needed help with.  Where did I turn?

Etsy teams.

Not only is Etsy a great marketplace, but it has a really fantastic community, too.  You can find a team for just about anything you can imagine, and if there isn’t one that fits what you’re look for, you can start your own!

The very first team I joined was Etsian Newbie, created especially for us newbies!  I learned a lot from that group.  We were all starting up and all had the same questions, so, when we asked them, there was always someone who had just figured out the answer, or, if not, someone who was willing to find it.

My very most favorite team was, and still is, my Etsy Maine Team.  Being from Maine, I wanted to connect with other Etsy folks who I might actually have the opportunity to meet in person.  We’ve got a great discussion thread where we just chat and get to know each other for real, and then there are other threads where we share resources and information with each other…like where the next craft fair is, or the inside scoop on a new boutique that’s opening up down town and is looking for vendors.  We even do a Secret Santa gift swap at Christmas!  These folks have become my Etsy family, a place where I can go and vent, or celebrate, or just plain ‘hang out’ with.

We’re also really great about giving each other’s new items lots of “love,” or giving each other the heads up when one of us finds out about a change coming to Etsy, or….you get the picture.  Support and community.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Etsy-world is a BIG place, and it can get pretty lonely and discouraging if you’re trying to go it alone.  Take the plunge, find a team that fits your needs, and jump in!  And don’t just be a bump on a log, or a fly on the wall, participate…join conversations, share your thoughts, encourage another seller who’s struggling.  Support your team, and they are sure to support you back!

Go, team, go!