Observations of My First Market in NYC

I'm part of the Brooklyn Indie Market, which started as a Yahoo group and recently emerged into a forum and then a new showcase-website. They are market-happy people, and have it down pat. Displays, credit card things, tables, all of it. So when Elaine Perlov put an offer out to share her table at The Market NYC, I took a leap and grabbed the spot.

market nyc

I made a banner the night before to hang (at Elaine's near insistence, although it would have been fine with her if I'd xeroxed something, but we just don't have one in the neighborhood, so I sewed something). I used my godmother's copper pots to display the jewelry bags and Chow Chows, and sparkly FashionMistas were all over the table.

It was pretty cold in the gymnasium of the church on Mulberry street where this is housed, so our table was missing fuzzy wool hats and gloves. But to my surprise, the sleep mask got the most traffic, especially by men! It was fascinating watching people pick up, turn over, open, close, show to friends in foreign languages, Katie James products. Here are some of our observations on the traffic around the table:

  • Men liked the sleep masks, which do have a lingerie quality...(silk taffeta, sexy black strap around the head)
  • If a boyfriend told his girlfriend to say, buy a new sleep mask (while holding up the Katie James sleep mask), she not only refused, but turned her head in a huff and went to look at ugly over-ruffled purses. Each time a man suggested to a woman that she like something, she nearly hissed. We soon learned to telepathically send couples away.
  • When one person comes to look, they are a magnet for other people.
  • People don't really like to be talked to. They barely tolerated smiling. And by tolerate I mean stay at the table. There's a balance between acknowledging them, talking to them, and pitching to them. There's just no trust anymore in the world.
  • Reading works. Read a magazine and be really into it, and before you know it, you won't have noticed someone touching your products who'd been there for 30seconds. And she'll stick around when you look up from your magazine and will be ready to hear the wonderfullness of your products.
  • Being on the phone can also work. Gives the person time to be anonymous at your table.
  • Push your website. Suggest they can buy online at their convenience. Elaine says that she's had sales years later from the markets she's been in.

I'm not a shark sales person, which may not be a good thing, and I've got a lot to learn about closing the sale (I was actually afraid to get a sale and calculate tax). But it was super fun talking shop with a designer who's been doing this for 14 years. And fun to see what tricks work (picking up the jewelry bag and playing with it attracted eyeballs and bodies), and what flop (displaying the jewelry bag inside out to show off the pockets...only caused confusion). Feel free to chime in if you've had market observations!

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