Category Archives: Jam Tarts

day of rest

Carnival over. A most enjoyable and successful event for Jam Tarts, ably assisted by Senior Co-Manager Rob. Not much stock left, and many orders taken. I believe a day of rest with some chocolate thrown in is on the cards.



Have a great Sunday, everyone :)

growing up

I’m starting to feel very grown up. Not me Jill but me Jam Tarts:

  • The big order for the preschool went off well and full payment has been received (they were also going to put in an order for winter hats so I’m still hoping on that one)
  • I’ve been accepted for the Durbanville Plaasfees (thanks for all your finger-crossings)
  • I’ve been invited to trade at the annual Community Carnival in February (now in it’s 63rd year and with 80,000 feet expected over 4 days)
  • I have customers who can’t get to my markets trying to organise coffee dates with me so that I can show them new hats
  • I have engaged a lovely lady called Berenice who will be knitting hats for me (like Eunice who still crochets for me), and…………………….
  • I am now the proud owner of a tagging gun. How retail is that!?

tag gun    tag

There are going to be a lot of late nights and early mornings spent sewing, but I have to say I’m really happy about all this. I won’t be competing with Kangol any time soon, but I never wanted to be big anyway, I just want to be busy and generate income and not have to work in a corporate environment until honourable retirement age.

And speaking of markets, Rob and I are off to Sedgefield for a few days soon (it’s near Knysna on the Garden Route, for those of you who aren’t local). One of the main attractions for us always taking our holidays there are the two really amazing markets on the Saturday morning called Wild Oats (the food part) and the Scarab (arts and crafts). We usually spend all our money there, in one extravagant frenzy. So Rob says, Why don’t you see if you can trade at Scarab when we’re there? I say, Oh sure like they’re waiting for an out-of-towner to just pitch up and grab a spot? Rob says, No harm in trying. I say, No man, it’s supposed to be a holiday, remember? Rob says, Just try. So I do. And they say, Lovely products, love to have you. See you on the 14th. So there we are then, in for a penny in for a pound….

Olive in the sun

Meet Olive, Megan and Jeremy’s little girl, and Anne’s granddaughter.


At 7 months, Olive already has a natural sense of style. The duck-egg blue leggings work perfectly with a loose but crisp white smock, which she’s teamed with two accessories that clinch the “modern-baby-about-town” look , an oversized cotton collar* and a handmade patchwork sunhat**.  Trendy babies know that this winning fashion combo can take you through from morning mommy-and-me group to afternoon shopping trip, and is guaranteed to draw plenty of attention.

* model’s own

** by Jam Tarts

where I live

Only in the world’s best city, according to The Telegraph !

cape town

Just thought I’d share that with you all :-)

This afternoon I’m taking Carol and Grommit to the incredibly beautiful winelands of Franschhoek, (about 45 mins away) to set up at the La Paris wine farm for three days of Festival in the Valley.  I’m excited and nervous (what if no-one likes my hats? what if no-one even comes? what if thousands of people come and like my hats and I’m understocked? what if they run out of wine?) so please hold thumbs.

Ah, the joys of being an informal trader.


other end of the spectrum

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you sometimes get such amazingly wonderful customers at markets that you almost want to give your stuff away to them for free. Saturday brought me one of these people:

tara 1

Tara has dreads so the bigger newsboy look is perfect. She found me through her friend Danny**, who owns six of my hats, and they both came to the Edgemead market to check out the new stock. She sent me some photos of herself later that afternoon, wearing one of her two new hats.

Tara 11 tara 22

I know, right?!  Anyone who looks this good in a Jam Tarts hat should be the one getting paid (and she’s beautiful on the inside, too).

** and this is Danny, whose face could also launch a thousand ships:

danny crimson newsboy


Darling 2014

Darling is a tiny little town about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, up the West Coast. There are two main festivals there every year, one based on the amazing spring flower display in late September (here) and the other in early September around theatre, music and food. In other words, Voorkamerfest!!!

Rob and I went up there this year, to see what it would be like to trade at a 3-day party event in a slightly different part of the world. It was like this:


Packed! Mostly sunshine-y weather (could have sold more sunhats!) during the day, and at night…


well, at night lots of people have had lots to drink enjoyed sampling the wide variety of locally produced beer and wine on offer, so they’re easy customers. Gordon, above, got caught by a Stinky Fish on the Friday night, but he was still wearing it 24 hours later – he must have either genuinely loved it or still been drunk. Great guy, Gordon. Quite a party animal.


Saturday evening – I’m with Mercia, the event organiser, who was finally able to relax and enjoy the festival herself and try on hats in an unhurried fashion.

We had brilliant accommodation with the lovely Anneline, who made us feel like we were at home (but in a good way). We shared info with other traders, made new friends, and caught the sun on our faces. We sold LOTS of hats…and on Sunday night, I slept for 12 hours straight.

Already looking forward to next year :-)

some thoughts on being a market trader #2

As a follow-on to an earlier post, here are some more things to think about if you’re wanting to start selling at markets.  If you google “trading at craft markets”, you’ll find a thousand more opinions and ideas. This is just my small contribution (based on personal experience, and many mistakes and oversights!), and interspersed with random pics taken at various markets over the last couple of years.

The lovely carpet lady at Rondebosch Market

The lovely carpet lady at Rondebosch Market

1.  Tell people that you’re going to be trading at a market. Yes, I know, you’re thinking doh , but you really need to do this systematically to make the most of your trading window.

  •  Send out a newsletter a week in advance, to all your subscribers. (You don’t do a newsletter yet? See #2 below, get yourself a free account with Mailchimp and get cracking).
  • Post about the upcoming market on your facebook page, also about a week in advance. Keep it short and sweet, and include an image of one of the products you’ll be selling.
  • If you tweet, do that too.  I have a twitter account but the bug hasn’t actually bitten yet, and all I’m really doing with it is following Tom Jones and Alan Rickman. 
  • Post again on your facebook page on the morning of the market : people have so much going on in their lives, this is a gentle reminder that it’s today.
  • If you blog, give the upcoming market a mention there as well.  Include a link to the market’s fb page and site.
  • Ditto for your website, if you have one.
Barry the wooden spoon man, at Rondebosch Market

Barry the wooden spoon man, at Rondebosch Market

2.  Take a pad of paper and pen with you to the market so you can write down the email addresses of people who say they would like to receive your newsletter, when you tell them you have one.  If the person has just bought something from you, then you’ve already got a connection to build on, and even if they haven’t bought from you, they’ve shown interest.  Everyone is a potential customer.

Laura from Fabulaura with her gifts and jewellery, setting up on a cold morning in Rondebosch

Laura from Fabulaura with her gifts and jewellery, setting up on a cold morning in Rondebosch

3.  Take a stack of business cards; give them to customers , window-shoppers and also other vendors.  I can’t stress that last group enough — it’s really vital to connect with the other vendors because it’s how you start networking and hearing about other markets and opportunities.  I ended up at the V&A Waterfront for a month because I’d once started chatting to a lady who knits baby caps and booties. I heard about the review date for new crafters at the Somerset West market because of a connection with Steve, the guy who makes hangy things from wood, whom I’d met at the Rondebosch market. Honestly, you never know where things can lead…

crochet and button accessories at the Nazareth House Family Fun Day

crochet/button rings at the Nazareth House Family Fun Day (and yes, of couse I bought some!)

4.  Once you’ve set up your stall and had a well-deserved cup of coffee (take your own flask, by the way, it’s cheaper and quicker), don’t think you can collapse onto your camping chair and get lost in your crochet for the duration of the market.   Some people will indeed come beetling over to you when something catches their eye, and you can take it from there. But many people won’t see you at all (because there a hundred other things to look at, or they urgently need the loo and are in search of the nearest one, or because the vendor across the way has a MORE eye-catching display than you do) and will walk past…. Try not to think What ignorant fools are here today, can’t they see how awesome my products are, how professionally made, how lovingly displayed…. Instead, show initiative and be ready to interact:

  • As someone walks nearby, say hello or good morning and smile (at least they’ll turn their head).
  • Do your crocheting where you’re visible – it’s a great way to get people to come over and connect with you; they’ll say things like Oh my god my gran used to crochet or I wish I could learn, and bam you’re chatting.
  • Get up and rearrange some of your products from time to time.  Shake out and refold a blanket, swop the red hats with the blue ones, etc. The action alone may catch someone’s eye.
market pic

someone’s mom bought her a new hat (made by Anne)

Having said all this, remember that the most important thing of all is to be natural. Don’t force yourself to be something you aren’t comfortable with. If you feel weird calling out some Good mornings, rather just smile instead. If you aren’t a naturally talkative or overly-extrovert person, don’t try to act like one, but be ready to talk about your products and how you make them in a way that feels right for you.

Gosh, how I can rabbit on! Looking at the notes I’ve jotted down, turns out I have more things to say on this topic than I’d anticipated, but don’t worry – I’ll keep them for another post.  

Wishing you all an excellent and productive day xxx