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!
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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!


  1. thanks again for having me as guest blogger and for such a wonderful market!

  2. Thanks Rachel for sharing; I think I might make the next Horseshoe show my first as well...I'm so nervous to make the leap, but know it is a wise investment and have started to purchase used/thrifte/vintage items to use for merchandising at my booth, so it's only a matter of time! Though nervous, I'm excited!

    :) Jenn @ GEG
    (fellow EcoEtsian!)

  3. What a fun booth and pretty pretty clothes!! I love the quilts that are covering the tables. Did you make those too? And the sweater you are wearing is so pretty too. So glad you had fun. Thanks for sharing your experience. Have fun in December at the Farmers Market and Gift Show! I'm sure it'll be a sell out!

  4. Love it! Looks amazing! Can't wait to have coffee in person and hear all about it.

  5. Thank YOU, Rachel, for guest blogging :) Your booth was great, your work is awesome, and thanks for taking a leap and taking part in the Horseshoe! @Jenn at greenearthgoodies--would love to have you apply!! We're getting very close to having our market dates set for 2011! Be checking the blog and website!

  6. Yay! thanks for the great wrap! & congrats on your first show!