Guest Blog Post: Janssen Designs

As we are finalizing details for the 2011 Horseshoe Markets (we promise info coming soon!), we've had a chance to reflect on some things we were really happy about for our first year. One of these aspects was all the first-time vendors we had who took a risk to put themselves and their creations out to the world. One of these vendors, Rachel Janssen of Janssen Designs, was kind enough to write a guest blog post for us today. Check out Rachel's experience below and her awesome "green" tips about creating a booth! Thanks, Rachel!
**** ***** ******
Have you procrastinated participating in a craft fair? I sure did, for about two years. During that time, I sold my upcycled one-of-a-kind children’s clothing periodically on Etsy while attempting to balance the full time day job, being a mom, and selling vintage goodies in my other Etsy shop, RetroLabs. But I felt I was missing out on the connection with customers and the kids who may be enjoying these comfortable creations.
I heard about the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market in early August after becoming a member of the Denver Handmade Alliance and realized it would be the perfect fair to have my first booth. The popular Denver neighborhood, very reasonable booth fee, and promoter Amy Yetman’s enthusiasm were what attracted me to this fair. So off my application went and much to my delight came my acceptance into the fair!

Being a first-time vendor, the hardest part for me was figuring out my booth space. I decided an important aspect of my booth would be to extend my eco-friendly business philosophy into my booth space. I tried to use only recycled and borrowed or owned items for my booth set-up which had the added bonus of keeping booth preparation fees down. Hang tags for my clothing were printed on recycled paper and sewn onto repurposed catalog covers. Two white bed sheets from the thrift store created the back wall of my tent (luckily we already had the tent for our camping trips). My Janssen Designs banner was crafted out of t-shirts and recycled wood for the frame. Paper gift bags from the thrift store were used as shopping bags for customer purchases, which could in turn be used again for gift wrapping. I did end up buying new the materials needed to make the tent weights. These PVC and concrete weights were worth the effort and cost, however, and I know they will be used again and again. Once my booth space was figured out (and inventory made!), I was ready!
Fair day arrived (quite early!) and off my husband and I went with our hot cups of coffee. Once the sun came out and warmed me up, I realized we were going to have perfect weather for the fair. I had such a wonderful day meeting Amy and talking with my fellow vendor neighbors (Joy at Studio Bead and Rebecca at Nana Pat Project), and also market-goers and new customers! I was thrilled when one customer immediately put her daughter into her new Janssen Designs creation-such a pleasure seeing the dress being worn and enjoyed!
The Horseshoe did a superb job organizing this green craft fair and making my first craft fair experience so enjoyable. My only regret is not taking much time to walk around and do a little shopping of my own. I did, however, manage to buy a few bars of fantastic soap from Clean Getaway Soap Company and admire Studio Yoshida’s funky upcycled jackets.

I had so much fun at the Horseshoe that I jumped right in and applied to the Holiday Farmer’s Market and Gift Show and was accepted! It’s Dec. 4 & 5 at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. Keep up to date with Janssen Designs on Facebook!

A big thanks to the Horseshoe Market and all the lovely volunteers! I can’t wait to hear about the Horseshoe Fairs for 2011!

Wednesday Inspiration: Daring to be Courageous

I love the following video by Kelly Corrigan. This video is women-oriented but I do think we all can relate to the message. What are your ideas? Your secret dreams? What is creativity calling you to do? There's so much power in being vulnerable, authentic and creative. As Mary Oliver said, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Holiday Markets!

The question we've heard more than anything since the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market is "when is the next Horseshoe Market?" and "are you doing a holiday market?" We love these questions since it means you all want more!! We will be giving you more Horseshoe Markets starting in the Spring (no holiday market this year), but we wanted to make sure to spread the word about all of the fantastic holiday craft markets happening in the area. Yay for handmade art, crafts and for local markets!

1. Art by Craft presented by the Denver Handmade Alliance
Saturday, October 30th, 10 am-6 pm
MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany, Denver, CO
Featuring the work of 30 plus local crafters. FREE admission as part of the MCA Denver’s Family Free Day. The first 50 people in the door get a swag bag full of goodies from local crafters and crafted based activities for all ages in the Idea Box at MCA Denver. It's going to be fun!

2. Gifts For Yule 13th Annual Holiday Fair
Saturday, November 13th from noon-6 pm and Sunday, November 14th from 11-4 pm
Historic Phipps Tennis Pavillion
3400 Belcaro Drive, Denver, CO
Free admission. Art, antiques, linens, handknits, jewelery, beads, soap, bath, kids, vintage, folk art, glass.

3. Atlas Gallery Winter Art & Craft Show
November 20th, 10 am-6 pm
708 16th Street Greeley, CO
More than 25 local artists and crafters, live music all day, baked goods & hot drinks, chair massage & homeopathic goods. Free admission! This is put on by one awesome artist and Horseshoe vendor, Bluedoor.
4. Fancy Tiger's Holiday Handmade
December 3rd from 5-9 pm
December 4th from 10 am-4 pm
Sherman Events Center, 1770 Sherman St., Denver, CO
Denver's alternative holiday craft fair featuring 65 of Colorado's most amazing handcrafters! Holiday Handmade is not to be missed!!

5. Firefly Handmade Holiday Market
December 10th, 11th, and 12th
1904 Pearl Street Boulder, CO
This is Boulder's brand new, super cool holiday craft market! The brains and creativity behind this one-- BirdDog Press and Dandy Social Club (super vendors who were at the Horseshoe!) Check the website for up to date info!

We can hardly wait. There's nothing better than doing your holiday shopping locally from Colorado makers at some awesome local markets!
Also, if we have forgotten any, please post them in the comment section!

The Recap!

Hey all! We took a couple of weeks off after the Horseshoe from blogging (and I've been sick for almost a week now--hopefully at the end of it) and now we're back. We've had time to take stock of what a great day October 2nd was, and for what the future might hold for the Horseshoe Market!

In our first market, we welcomed over 100 art, craft and vintage vendors, a few fabulous food vendors and some local non-profit organizations. We also had an estimated 3000 customers and visitors! We're proud to say that the Horseshoe Market was a "green" market, courtesy of the Green Wish Foundation who recycled for us!

For those interested in web and media related statistics--from July 15th (website launch) through October 2nd, we had over 2500 unique visitors to our website and over 13,000 page views! The Westword featured us in three articles, the Huffington Post and the Denver Post published an article on the Horseshoe as well! We hope that the activity on our website continues to drive traffic to our Featured Vendors and vendors in general.

In our post-event survey of vendors, over 95 percent said they would like to participate in another Horseshoe Market, and many said it was one of their most successful markets, in terms of sales! Overall, we were thrilled with so much about the day. Customers, visitors and vendors had such good vibes throughout the whole day. We will also make a few needed changes (per your requests and feedback!)--we will definitely have more portable toilets and we will probably start at 9 or 10 am next time around.

All in all it was a fantastic day--thanks to all of you amazing vendors and visitors for coming out to the Berkeley neighborhood, and thanks to our sponsors for supporting this first event. We are in the process of planning our 2011 markets and will keep you posted as soon as we have finalized the details! Thanks again for a superb community day full art, vintage and craft!