To Market, To Market – An Unsucessful Experiment

My friends run an awesome business called Upcylced Stories where they take unloved furniture and turn it into something unique and awesome! Each month they attend the Handmade Expo to sell their wares, and this time they decided I must bring my creations to sell at her stall.

Whoa, talk about daunting!! I am really only learning about creating dolls and soft toys and am in experimentation stage trying to figure out what stuff I love to do and what my style will eventually be, so I didn’t have anything definitive I knew I wanted to make. And of course instead of knuckling down, working through some designs and creating something awesome, I procrastinated and avoided thinking about it until about three days before the market. Yay me.

WHAT I DID

I had been experimenting in making small calico dolls that were styled a bit more grown up, so I spent some time making a few dolls with different looks and dress fabric. While I like this type of doll creation, they were quite labour intensive and I only ended up with three finished dolls.

Experimenting with doll design and clothing ideas

Experimenting with doll design and clothing ideas

In a last minute, self inflicted mad panic I decided to make some large ragdolls aimed at children. I double the pattern size I had and they ended up being way more humungous that I had planned! I gunned the sewing machine and created some girls, a boy and a few animal softies, naturally finishing ON THE MORNING of the market and then had a second mad panic about not having any bags to give to people if they bought something. Last minute stressing SUCKS!!!

Some of the ragdolls I made for the market - cute but no creative challenge

Some of the ragdolls I made for the market – cute but no creative challenge

THE OUTCOME

So, I had a lovely day hanging with my friends at the market. I didn’t sell a thing. In fact they were hardly looked at. I had secretly hoped they would be a success (easy money – yea!) but then again I wasn’t really surprised either. But it was a very good learning experience (standard philosophy upon failing!!).

On the plus side my market friend loved the pensive doll in the red satin dress called “Heather”, so I gave it to her as a thank you for having me gift. She took her home and photographed her in her daughters doll house and that made me happy 🙂

Heather in her new home <3

Heather in her new home <3

NOTE TO SELF

It was frustrating, but also eye opening too, so I am glad I did it. Things to take away from the experience:

1. While sewing a basic pattern doll on the sewing machine is relatively easy, it’s also rather boring. I have figured out that I like the creation of a character and experimenting with clothing and other ideas. There are plenty of Chinese factories churning out same-same generic dolls – I need take my time and follow what interests me to discover something unique that I am passionate about making.

2. Fark dolls need a lot of stuffing! They were huge dolls anyway, but I definitely didn’t stuff them firmly enough. They were much more pillow like that a solid doll should be.

3. I need more time to find what I love doing. I have a habit of always thinking about “how viable is this to sell?” before I even start a project and that takes away from the joy of discovery and creation. When I finally get my groove, then I will think about how I can make a living from it.

4. Next market I try a market I will aim for a stall of my own. I think people walking past were confused by the dolls sitting on the furniture, so they didn’t really know what what to think. With a stall of all my creations, hopefully that would peak peoples interest and come and have a closer look at my wares. (And BUY something!)

Have you tried markets before? What was your first market experience like?

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