Every winter, Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape hosts the National Arts Festival for ten days.
And this year, Jam Tarts will be trading on the Village Green. I’m very very excited about getting accepted for this: everyone I know has told me what a brilliant market it is, and how many people attend from all over the country, and how cold it gets in July. (The colder it gets, the more people will want hats, right!?)
It will take us at least 9 hours to drive there, and we’ll be renting a trailer to carry all my stock. I have worked out how much money I need to make to cover the costs of the trip, the market fee (not insubstantial!), and miscellaneous expenses, before any income even goes directly into the bank account. To generate this amount, I need to sell 800 hats. Eight hundred. That’s a lot of hats.
But I’m top of this. Last night I finished off 3 pixies, all they need are some beads and pompoms. Three down, 797 to go.
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!?
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….
Today was approval day for the annual Plaasfees (Farm Festival) in the northern suburbs in March. Usually it’s only the bigger and longer markets that one has to get approved for, but it’s no bad thing to review one’s offerings and think about quality control and labelling, etc.
You don’t have to do a whole set-up, the organisers really just want to see your range, and also want to make sure there isn’t too much duplication. I am happy to say that no other hats were in evidence this morning, but that doesn’t automatically mean they will accept me.
I made sure I took quite a few different styles of ladies’ caps, not just newsboys, and also kiddies’ sunhats – generally those are always popular (especially on a hot sunny day in Cape Town!) Fingers crossed, please.
Only in the world’s best city, according to The Telegraph !
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.
from yesterday’s market in Edgemead…
Woman [who’d just bought a hat from me to her friend after I’d taken her photo]: My face looks fine in it but look at my boobs, they’re down to my waist.
Friend: They are a bit. Better ask this woman if she’ll crochet you a bra as well.
Woman [to husband after spraying her arm with fake Chanel No 5]: This is quite nice, what do you think?
Husband: I think you should shower.
Woman [to me]: None of your hats stand up enough in the front. I need height.
Me: …you mean, like a top hat?
Woman: No, just up more. These are too flat. If I bought one I’d have to do a lot of work to it.
Me: Yes, you’d probably have to starch it.
Woman: How much are they?
Me: R100 each.
Woman: Well, they’re all wrong for me. When are you having a sale?
Woman [to me]: I’d like to get one of these fish hats for my niece’s birthday. Could you make one in autumny colours with some blues in?
Woman: But I don’t like the fins. Could you leave off the fins?
Woman: And I don’t like the tail, it’s too long and pointy.
Me: Tails are like that, really.
Woman: Yes but she won’t like it. And the eyes, they look funny.
Me: Okay, a fish hat with no fins, no tail, and no eyes. No problem.
Prerequisite for dealing with the public: ability to keep a straight face. At all times.