A few weekends ago, I had a chance to sell at the Art market of the yearly IBMA Bluegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh again.
In 2016 I had gotten a chance to participate in this show for the first time, and it instantly became one of my favorites. I wanted to be a part of it for every year to come. There was something about the attendees that I had never experienced before at any of the MANY shows I sold at.
The Bluegrass crowd was simply one of the happiest! They were more in tune with buying handmade goods directly from the maker, than I had ever experienced before. Not a single customer attempted to haggle on prices. So many were eager to hear the story behind pieces, collections, and my business. Many seemed to genuinely appreciative of the artist present so they could participate in the mutually beneficial experience of buying from us. It blew my mind, and I came home giddy after, vowing that if I had to pick one, Bluegrass was the only show I would want to come back to year after year.
Unfortunately for me, I live in a city where I am surrounded with so much talent (really that fact not unfortunate at ALL, but in this context it is). Also the bluegrass market really limits the quantity of artists and vendors at each market, so I didn't manage to get accepted back into the market for the following few years. I was bummed for me- but excited for the artists that did get to experience all the Bluegrass goodness. Especially considering that for the subsequent years, my business was officially on the back burner until our youngest started elementary school. I really wasn't putting my best effort forward. Add to that the pandemic, and cancelled events and time flies by.
This year, as I emerged a tiny bit out of the cloud of pandemic, and my kids went back to in person school, I started working though my extremely out-dated spreadsheet of shows again, and I noticed the Bluegrass Market was accepting applications for this fall. I fell hand over foot to submit my application, and sooner than I had expected, I got the email that I was accepted!
I prepped for the show hoping for more of the goodness I had fallen in love with the first time around, but also hesitant & weary in case it was all just a big fluke in 2016, and what had happened the first time was to be no more.
Well. It happened again and then some! I had a blast for two long days, and as far as I could tell, so did my friend Sarah who I had hired to help me out. As I was driving home after having packed the whole kit and kaboodle up again, it dawned on me what an incredibly confirming event this had been, especially marking this moment of being back to full time creating and selling. After my prolonged pause, of course self doubt is part of the journey to return to what I once did. But for my first big show to be such an overwhelming positive experience was the boost and confirmation that I craved.
I am back, and I am here to stay. Thank you to the Bluegrass crowd to help me see this bright and clear. My part on this incredible planet is to bring you beautiful things, and I will continue to like my life is depended on it.
Because, it turns out, metaphorically it kind of is.
And I'll leave you with a fun time lapse of me adding product to the displays at the start of the day.
To see my show calendar, click here.