15 December 2007

Not Waving, Drowning . . . in Festivities

Greeting Christmas maniacs, I'm here, just flat out . . . i have the last 3 markets of the year in the next 8 days (all at Nightcliff if you're Darwin locals, tomorrow Sunday, Thursday evening & next Sunday) then it's finally Christmas!! I also have 4 children on school holidays, heat stroke, a husband interstate for a wedding (congratulations Rob & Lisa, we love you guys!!) & an entire house to pack up for our impending move to Canberra. Of course, as you do all of this, you keep one eye on the weather, just in case a cyclone decides to blow all my packing boxes away!!
All a little crazy, i'm chasing my tail & i only finished our extended family Christmas shopping on Friday, poof, mailed off & in the hands of Australia Post now. We don't do Christmas gifts for our siblings anymore, but those grandparents, 19 nieces & nephews & our own children sure add up, especially with some having birthdays in December & January. We do seperate gifts, but post them all at the same time. I still have 5 more Posie orders PLUS 3 Edna&Alice May orders to complete this week - they're coming, i promise . . . a see a few more very late nights this week. I think our twinnies turned 6 this week?? I baked two birthday cakes in the shape of 6's plus 4 dozen cupcakes for 3 different class parties, it's all a bit of a blur.
I ran some Christmas Specials on the Posie website during the month of November. After emailing about 10% of my customers, the response was so huge, i couldn't alert any more potential customers or cope with more orders. Next year, with trusty Melissa from Peggy-Jean by my side, we will plan for such an explosion & start preparing mid year & offer ready made goods to compliment the custom made, to take the pressure off. Thanks everyone who ordered, it has made for a fantastic end to the year, especially as both Posie & Edna will be shut down for the entire month of January 2008, as we move interstate & are held up in a hotel for 4 weeks. I can relax then, ahhh, deep breath & rest.
Finally & MOST importantly to you blog readers, the competition . . . i will list all the entries, as some ideas were left as comments, some emailed & some mentioned at my market stall - gee you all have excellent imaginations & concepts, love it!! I will announce the winner(s) & see to creating something special for the silly season. There are reasons for & against a few products, like other companies already specialising in that particular range of goods, manufacturing & production issues, postage etc, so i have a lot to analyse. Thank you all for your interest, it's been brilliant!! Love Posie

05 November 2007

Pay It Forward, indeed . . .

Greetings all, look what the wonderful & super clever Jade from My Art Is My Outlet sent as her Pay It Foward goods from a recent competition on her blog. How super lovely, every piece in the parcel was beautifully made & carefully thought out. Adorable, right down to the sweet card. I took the gorgeous wristlet purse to a Tupperware Party (yes, i'm on the cycle) on Saturday & received lots of ooohhhss & aaahhhsss. The detailed pin cushion is my favourite, makes sewing so enjoyable. The children were drawn to it instantly, so i had to fight for it. Thanks Jade!! Now it's my turn to return the favour. I'm thinking of making it into a little competition, so here goes . . . as Posie has always had a strong focus on custom design from the beginning & the product range has grown steadily over 5 years thanks to fantastic customer suggestions. So i put it to you bloggers to please suggest a new product for Posie to launch with the website make over in January 2008. It can be a rehash of a current product - like a different style bag or detailing on a cushion, most importantly, it will be named after you!! So thinking caps on, i do have lots of things on the drawing board, so great minds might think alike?? Please leave your suggestions as comments to this post & my favourite 3 ideas (it might end up being 3 new products??!!) will receive that product(s) made for them in December. My background is patchwork & hand stitching, plus i draft my own patterns, so make the descriptions nice & clear, or just suggest the concept like "i need somewhere to put my potatoes". Posie was created out of frustration of not being able to find what i wanted in stores, so vent away . . . love Posie
EDIT - competition will run during the whole month of November, so feel free to offer more than one idea!! x x J

24 October 2007

Round & Round the Merry Go Round of Life

Greetings, i hope it's sunny & shining in your life where you are, we're waiting for rain . . . hello Monsoons, where are you?? It's certainly hot & humid, the frogs are croaking & ready for the down pour.
I've finally got all the chicken pox children back to school, that was a fun month with a 4 child relay. Thanks to the vaccinations, they all got varying cases from very mild/ princess pox, to pretty dreadful. That's when we realised our son wasn't vaccinated, you know, we were busy. Sorry baby boy, we do love you & you have been very brave for a 3 1/2 year old, not to scratch.
In the mean time, i've done some new products for super fabulous Pip of Meet Me At Mike's new store in Fitzroy.
NEW fabric packs - ones making up a yard & smaller fabrix fix packs with story book panels
3 panel breakfast cushion covers in lots of Summery goodness
Then sewing up a storm for the lovely Tanya, of Lily&Agathe fame in France, with sweet French product translations, by my darling friend Ines on the reverse of the removable tags. Lots of rattle cubes & tote bags. Have a look at their on line store for extra special Christmas gifts, with genuine vintage fabrics & lots of love.
original Bonne Nuit Les Petites & Noddy fabric
we were already MASSIVE Noddy fans, thanks to my English Mummy
I've always loved fabric covered & trimmed lampshades, these went with a cowboy, gingham & denim patchwork quilt order earlier this year. I will be adding lampshades to Posie in the new year.
all ironed & glued in place, then hand stitched, for a lucky little cowboy
Have fabulous weeks everybody!! Mydarling husband is home after a nice round trip of the Northern Territory (yes, they hit a kangeroo, actually it was already road kill & there was no damage to the car) so we're having a lovely family weekend with happy, healthy children again. Keeping it simple staying at home, except for a Tupperware Party, preschool learning day & open day at the local Steiner School on Saturday & i will do the local Sunday markets. Hey, we've quit ballet!! Love Posie

13 October 2007

Something to do in Melbourne today

A lovely Melbourne mummy named Susan has a message for you about a great craft fair today . . .
Susan is dabbling with a new business named Suby Designs, in between parenting & physiotherapy. The blog link is on the right, click there for more details & enticing product images.
So go along to . . . Brunswick Kindergarten, Glenlyon Road, Brunswick VIC Australia Saturday 13th October, from 10am-4pm.
I met Susan at my market stall in Nightcliff NT when she was holidaying with her husband & little girls, we hit it off & i sent some fabric to her to make some goodies for the Kindergarten Craft Fair. Sounds like lots of fun, so please get out there. I just knew Susan was a fellow scientist, lots of us frustrated geeks let loose with fabric & get creative, especially with patchworking.
Sorry for the late notice about the craft fair, this week's distraction - we've had 3 more children struck down with chicken pox, all vaccinated, so hoping it's another light dose like patient zero 2 weeks ago. Yes, a fun fun fun week ahead of me. Love Posie

30 September 2007


Greetings all, this post is coming to you live from the school holidays in the Northern Territory, we only get 6 working days, but that will do to revive us, even with a chicken pox outbreak (the children are vaccinated, i am a pharmacologist at heart, so it should be mild & so far, number 2 has the most glamorous pox you can imagine, so neat & well . . . perfect, just like her). Bring on 4th term i say & let's wrap up the year!!

Well i have been tagged a few times in the past weeks, so as i struggle to create new posts, i am combining them here. I'm not passing on the tags, as i'm so new to blogging & i think all the blogs i like have already accepted such awards. I hope that doesn't offend anyone, i love you all & think you're all fabulous & being tagged is fun . . . anyway, my nominators & i all have a twins theme in common, strange but true.

First up was the delightful Samantha in the US, from The Handmade Dress blog/ Little Dresses, who has the best motto i've ever heard "she who dies with the most fabric wins". As a patient & loving serviceman's wife (to a fire fighter) & mother of 3 so far, plus auntie to potentially zillions, including brand new twins Iris & Lily, i simply adore her - we have so much in common. She nominated me as a . . .
i think every blog i look at his this badge already, so just consider yourselves all rockers!!
Next, the darling Fiona from Dragonfly Crafts in Australia, tagged me to do the letters of my name, with some meaning. Fiona is a fraternal twin & she's nothing like her sister, although they're great pals. I love the name of her blog as dragon flies are a huge symbol of the change of seasons in the Northern Territory. So here goes J E N N I E, yes that is my full name . . .
J is for jovial, i'm pretty happy, quick to smile & even quicker to giggle, especially at myself
E is for energy, i work out every day to make it through every day & to lose the baby blubber
N is for nice, i try to be nice & only surround myself with nice people
N is for numbers, i did pure maths at Uni & love numbers, spatial maths & geometry, N for nerd??
I is for invention, love necessity being the mother of it, otherwise i would never have started sewing
E is for everything, i have a long list of things to achieve each day & love it when 'everything' is done
Finally, the gorgeous Angelique, currently based in Noumea with her husband & 6y.o. twins (the sensible boy/ girl type) with the blog No Life Without Wife, tagged me with the 8 things/ facts/ habits about you . . . so here are 8 things you never needed to know about moi. I thought i'd do more about where i came from, as my blog is pretty current & reveals who i am now, with my children, habits & quirks.
1. I always knew i wanted to be a wife, mother & have 4 children, but i was academic & wanted a career in pharmacology or forensics (long before CSI thank you, i tried to get school work experience with the Sydney Coroner). I hadn't thought out how to have both, the finer details like funding this life etc. I was caught up in the mid 90's mix of feminism, independence, money & girl power, yet was an auntie & loved my neices & nephews - so much more fun & uncomplicated than office politics!!
2. I grew up on Sydney's leafy North Shore, in a beautiful big home, with great parents, 2 brothers & a sister. It was a beautiful childhood, strict, safe & sheltered, full of homemade goodness, as my mother was the original 1950's housewife. All our food was cooked from scratch with lots of home grown vegetables & herbs. Mum handmade our clothes, often matching (Von Trapp style) which we considered at the time, was the height of daggyness.
3. I come from a family of very focused & determined people. We all have 3-4 children each & run our own businesses. My eldest brother is rocket scientist, next brother is a doctor & anesthetist, my sister a ballerina (retired) so our big family get togethers are very interesting & diverse with our chosen paths in life, plus 14 children. Dad was a naval commander, so perhaps the discipline in all it's different forms, rubbed off on us.
4. My husband is the most important person in my life. I think you can say that out loud & let your children know. My husband was here first & my love for him is different for the love we have for our children. My mother made that clear to us & would support Dad in his decisions, which were always pretty fair - we'd have to put reasons for & against if we wanted to go to a party & waste valuable study time. My parents have been married for 50 years & still hold hands & run errands together. I can certainly see the value in keeping a marriage alive as once the children have grown up & left home, it's just the two of you again.
5. I'm a workaholic. I pretend i'm not by finding time for school duties and making my husband feel like he has my full attention in the evenings, then work for hours after he's asleep. I have been in paid employment since i was 12. First job was as a kitchen hand & ironing/ pressing table clothes for a catering firm, which i did all through high school. So no silver spoon after all!!
6. Silver Spoon comment aside, my family loves to travel. I was lucky enough to go around the world 12 times before i started Uni, with my 13th trip being the honeymoon. My mum was a farm girl from England, so she's travelled a long way since marrying an Australian sailor on Christmas Eve in 1955. Europe is my favourite place, the history, architecture, culture, food, hotel room treats, I love it all. I do have a thing for Disneyland though, all of them.
7. I never believed in love at first sight until i laid my eyes on my husband. I was 19 & trying to get out of an 18month relationship the coward's way - meeting someone else. I did what most girls that age do - fall in love with someone at work. I had joined the Army Reserve at Uni, a clueless officer cadet, i was a tom boy at heart & it was a great balance to my other super girlie part time job. Plus it was fun running around the bush in boy's clothes learning about what makes men tick, guns truly do nothing for me. So dating my instructor was a 'fling' & 13 years later, i still say to him, "if you didn't ask me out, i would have had such a crush on you". He was so charismatic, tall, handsome & excellent at his job. It was a natural progression for him to finally join the regular Army a year later, aged 24.
8. I love anyone is who is fabulous at what they do. You know, world championship sports, business leaders, world changing politians, amazing artists, obviously clever crafters & parents who do a fantastic job. All my best friends are in those categories, be it brilliant stylists, mothers, dentists or bank directors. I know it's a luxury to truly love what you do for a living, however, under the right circumstances, you can make it happen. I love my life, it's dynamic with growing children & personalities, my husband's career & deployments to war zones, where Posie & Edna&AliceMay are going, our next interstate move. It's very interesting & so far from where i ever imagined i would be. With plenty of hard work, experience & positivity, i'd like to teach our 4 children to be open to where life might take you. To know what you want, but sometimes you don't know what you want until you have it, then run with it.
Love Posie

23 September 2007

My Little World

As seen in Meet Me At Mike's "hello hooters"
check out the owl in the tree on this fabric swatch singletGreetings all, just a little filler inner post today as I'm not at the markets & have been super busy. I only ever planned to do 3 posts a month, but geesh, i'm struggling to keep up with that tall order. I'll let the images do the talking, a lot of sweet ideas from my customers, taking advantage of the custom design option at Posie. There are some very clever ladies out there who either can't sew or fear they won't wear or use something they made themselves. Then there are the mummies after the dream baby bag & soft furnishings, they give me the measurements or colour scheme & away i sew.
Sonia's Play Mat (patchwork top in Oriental pink, green & white) it looked super gorgeous once it was all hand quilted & edged. It's now on holidays with a very lucky little girl. Finished product image is trapped in the camera, maybe next post??
Anthea's pram satchel - with perfect strap length
The super stylish Tina from Sweet Pea Collection makes herself gorgeous clothes (it also helps that she looks like a super model) but she's always wondering what people are really thinking when they ask if she made the clothes she is wearing herself. I can assure you, they are thinking "that looks amazing". I'm not kidding, Tina can make something new to wear to school - BEFORE she takes her children to school that morning.
My gorgeous customer Jean requested i make her a black top with Penny Wheels, so i made her a matching wristlet for fun. I was telling Tina, & she giggled saying she had just made something similar for a new store in Sydney. Great minds hey!! Or is it "fools never differ??"
What else has happened in the past couple of weeks - i've moved my studio from the small sewing room to the empty space in the lounge, for the impending interstate move & Christmas rush, revealing i have way too much fabric; i started back with my personal trainer, Sophie Hawken, who is fresh back from the World Championships with a silver medal in the Triathalon (she's very kind to us mummy types who are obviously not professional athletes); still doing markets when my husband is home to babysit on Sundays & constantly building up/ replacing stock; it was our 3 daughters' school concert - so cute - everything from ball room dancing to 60's hippy music; i shipped lots of new products down to Meet Me At Mike's for their current & future store - opening in October; plus parcels of love to Singapore & France.
new Edna&Alice May body suits
more market cosmetic purses
Viva la France
new studio, table top envy girls & yes, i use all 3 sewing machines every day
too much fabric, non?? But wait, there is more . . .
We have a moving date for our relocation from Darwin to Canberra, between Christmas & New Year, as you do with 4 young children, "let's drive right down the red centre in the middle of a desert Summer", good times. I love Darwin but really looking forward to starting over again, moving with as little as possible, older children & checking out the market scene in Canberra (the Old Bus Depot markets are first on my list). This week, Peggy-Jean's Melissa will start helping me with product & order preparation, oh to share ideas & work & giggle all day (well during preschool hours) will be so fun. We had a date night last week, sooo many new concept coming Posie's way, delicious Chinese for dinner & whoopps, a 2a.m. finish. Then it's school holidays (usual blur or swimming). I think you'll forgive me for being tardy in my posts. Lots to do, enjoy, love Posie neglected child - i found my son like this after i moved the studio in a 6 hour marathon, bless him

05 September 2007

National Reading Day Book Parade

Some mothers dread this, but to me, this is what motherhood is all about - making costumes for book week, fancy dress parties, theme days at school, you name it, i have a ball creating something for every event. Today was National Reading Day & this week is Literacy Week in Australia. So my little girls decided to go as Kim Possible (cheerleader come crime fighting cartoon character on Saturday Disney, not sure she's featured in a book??); Jesse the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story (we have the book so it's true) & our super creative one, choose to go as a vintage mermaid from a Lucie Attwell book (said book was a gift from my dearest customer Jean, a Transition teacher here in the NT). Due to the nature of girl child number 3's rather risque bikini clad ensemble, we won't be posting close ups on this post. Instead i have taken some arty shots of the mermaid tail detail, encrusted with $2 brooches. Now i can boast, i won, er, i mean, she won BEST COSTUME!! Personally i thought the Jesse costume was pretty fabulous, 101 ways with cowboy print fabric & faux large yellow buttons, a $2 skivvy & fusible web. I said to my husband, "maybe the judges thought it was shop bought" to which he replied "you keep telling yourself that Jen." Special mention to said husband for painting the straw hat red last night, but i stayed up until midnight adding the white stitching detail. Their hair looked better before we left the house, so try to picture that in your mind, like the Jesse hair was pulled back into a plait, which has kind of gone all wrong here . . .
Now more about the delightful Jean - she designed this top with a little touch of Cath Kidston, & the idea of the ribbon bow. As a washing maniac, i made her bow detachable, with a press stud, so it's removeable for washing (nasty stud is hidden under the pretty vintage button).
Last week was a Solar Eclipse, so my husband dragged a couple of children who were still awake, to show them this spectacle & take some snaps. This is taken with the high power lens (or as i refer to it "the penis" as it's seriously phallic). I have a head cold so can't even think if that is the correct spelling.
Finally, my mother's new bag. My poor Mummy is in London & Dad sent me an urgent SMS saying her Posie Tote had been stolen. Now i have had customers email me before saying "my car was stolen & used in a ram raid, but fear not, my Posie Tote was OK" before, but for my mother to have her bag stolen - it's more than just the bag. It's her whole life. Dad's SMS read something like this, remember they are on the other side of the world & supposedly travelling light . . . "disaster, Mum's bag stolen, with purses, assorted pens that don't work, hankies, pills, car keys, house keys, garage controls, gate controls, driver's license & all credit cards". What?? My parents travel around Europe with all the keys & controls for their home in Sydney?? They even get a hire car to the airport?? I laughed harder than my shock. Plus, Dad has a thing about Mum's bag being full of pens that don't work, drives him nuts. So this is the replacement, a Melanie size tote with a zip & assorted purses. I shipped it to Hong Kong, their next destination on their way home. Oh, if you see anyone carrying a bag just like this in London, they might be the theif!! Love Posie

25 August 2007

Creative Mothers in Business . . .

Well you might have seen a little feature about Posie in the current issue of Shop 4 Kids magazine. What a neat little article & business spinner, for lots of patchwork quilt orders in particular & new stores after the Edna&Alice May label. Yippee!! I thought the article read well & the children looked charming. Oh, must ask for the cot quilt back, as it's kind of silly to have it featured in a magazine & not on the website??
For the more discerning readers, you may have spied this gorgeous necklace, by Sweet Pea Collection. Melissa of Peggy-Jean Cards & i are very lucky to be gal pals with Tina, the very modest, yet effortlessly glamorous mummy & designer behind Sweet Pea Collection, with weekly giggles & sewing chats. I was saying to Stacey from Sheeps Clothing, that very few of my old school or Uni friends sew, or understand the passion, so it has been a revolution to make friends with Melissa & Tina during our husbands' posting to Darwin Not only was Tina's gorgeous necklace the main attraction of the Button Trend page in Shop 4 Kids, it was also worn by a little girl in the Stylish Mum article. This particular necklace is for a fantastic lady named Jean, who is a teacher & Posie regular. I'm the necklace mule for Tina on this occaision for tomorrow's markets. You can contact Tina via her website or mobile, she's adorable & so kind. They are currently babysitting Ruby the bunny for school, making Tina a tad anxious having a her in the apartment all weekend. Tina also makes super stylish & divine bloomer & top sets for infants & babies. That's http://www.sweetpeacollection.com.au/. Here is a fabulous selection of cards made by Peggy-Jean, shipped off to the Strangely Familiar store in Wellington NZ, plus some E&AM coin purses. Note the sheep card at the front, baaa.
A dear friend's son was having a 5y.o. birthday party, pirate theme of course, so i whipped this up, as a token gift (we weren't attendees, it's my eldest daughter's best friend's little brother's birthday kind of deal). FYI this counts as pyjamas all year round in Darwin!!
Finally, it was school photos this week & as a very proud mother to be blessed with twinnies, i thought you might like these 'home' shots of our girls, sensible & silly. I'm not into formal photos, i order the big pack to send shots to the grandparents & for their memory boxes, but i much prefer to see their beaming smiles looking at someone they know & love behind the camera. See, fraternal twins & the least alike of our 4 children. The lefty is an artist/ designer & the righty hopes to marry money, we're so proud!!
Have fabulous weeks, love Posie

22 August 2007

I Dream A Highway - new store opening

Greetings all, a little note to share the love, a new store named I Dream A Highway is opening in
High Street Nortcote VIC this Friday/ weekend, & here are a few of the sweet goodies from Edna&Alice May
that are on their way. Also in the mix are cards, tags, tote bags & bibs, plus 2 of each of the cushions.
Enjoy & do pop by to see Rhiannon & her team. Love Posie

07 August 2007

Patchwork is my PASSION!!

Greetings everyone, feeling fit as a fiddle again. Great gym session this morning, happy children at school & lots of Posie parcels of love shipped out to excited customers in the mail. Great feeling.
On Thursday, Peggy-Jean herself popped by with this beautiful bunch of flowers, which was such a lovely treat. Please have a look at her blog, which is all innocent & new, listed on the right. Melissa is her real name & she's just as lovely as these flowers. She also brought over a whole new range of stunning cards for shops & the markets.
Our son went to his first girlfriend's birthday party on the weekend. It was really sweet & he was the only boy invited. I made this patchwork cushion for a very pretty little 3y.o. Irish girl, with princessy double satin ribbon side ties as her gift. The little man chose all the fabrics himself, in red and pink Vintage children's prints, mixed in with a dose of Cath Kidston.
I thought a little keepsake of initials on the back would complete the gift, with the Heart to Heart print meaning 'loves'. Sewing is my passion, but it's also my profession, so while i put lots of love into my customer gifts, i get so much pleasure from knowing who i am sewing for. Patchwork is my favourite medium.
I'll just add the images & get back to some more sewing, the night is young . . . enjoy, love Posie

05 August 2007

Feeling Poorly . . .

While i have lots of exciting new fabrics, concepts & recent handmade gifts to share with you all, AND i really only wanted to add a meaningful new post every 10 days or so, i just have to ask if anyone else out there suffers migraines?? Coming off a 3 day bender (oh, i don't drink, i get migraines & if you know a migraine, it's like the WORSE hang over ever) i am now completely deaf with blocked ears. Said ears are now bubbling from whatever my husband dripped into them, one single Japanese water torture drop at a time, . . . so i've decided to not even try to talk to him tonight, as i kind of sound like i should be in a geriatric nursing home "what did you say, who, yes please, why not, i can't hear you" has been repeated over & over very loudly tonight . . .
So i thought, i know, if i can't read a story book, talk, sew in a straight line, or listen to Grey's Anatomy (don't worry, i'm taping it for when my hearing resumes) i might calmly while the evening away on the laptop. Don't do anything silly like update your business websites with giddy information or delete them altogether, so i'll destroy my blog instead. I've changed the colours & layout, as i was never really a brown & orange girl anyway. I've settled on this template & colour scheme - why do so many free templates look like banking brochures??
It's yet another public holiday in the Territory tomorrow - having serious doubts how my children will be educated with 3 public holidays in the past 2 weeks!! Now, time to rest my giddy head, in the knowledge my husband will still be here in the morning, not at work. Yippee!! That said, he will duck off to the gym for a couple of hours, & then so will i, ah bliss, i might just leave my iPod headphones at home!! Love Jennie

24 July 2007

So you want to do a market stall??

posie children's aprons blowing in the breeze
Greetings. I have been asked by a couple of ladies, you know who you are Jade & Belinda, who are planning to do a stall at their local markets . . . for some tips. I've really only been doing markets on a regular basis this year, as 4 young children & a war in the Middle East haven't allowed me the freedom on Sundays to 'work' outside the home. Trust me, a Posie stall 'lemonade for sale' style, on the nature strip outside the house was looking like my only hope for a while. So I've jotted down some ideas & things to think about for the day which might assist you.
I've added in some some snaps of how Posie looks at the markets. I'm no expert, but I am confident in my product, my set up seems to work, I'm very chatty but not in a used car salesman kind of way & find it's the BEST market research you can ever hope to do, in the flesh, face to face with your customers. I am probably on the same page as lots of crafty mummies out there, who work really late into the night, alone, wondering if anyone will buy their handmade goods & setting up a craft stall for an 8a.m. start could leave you trembling. I have taken some random close up images of my set up, as of course, the ONE day I take a camera to the markets, I leave the back wall of the marquee at home . . . so the overall stall just didn't look photo or blog worthy. See, be prepared as you will probably forget something, minor or major. Please keep in mind I have been doing Posie for almost 5 years, I have lots of different tried & tested products, over 1000 different fabrics from the US, so if you're a first timer, please don't be overwhelmed, it took me years to get to a market stall stage with a neat display, variety & gentle pitch to customres.
Stock Sells Stock - my father, a naval commander gave me this advice, how he would know?? Anyway, he is sooo right. I rarely sell a product where there are only 2 or 3 of them in different fabrics to choose from, but if I have 20 products in different fabrics, I'll sell tonnes. It also looks 'shop like' without being mass produced, to have sections of the same product. You can also say "wow, I've sold lots of them today, good choice".
handmade rattles by my girlfriend Geneen &
some hand knitted Lark donuts, ice creams & vegetables from Allison
I Made It Myself - nearly every single person asks me if I make the products myself, it makes a huge difference to them to know they are speaking to the designer & craftsman. I sell a few products (noted above) made by friends, who I tag as 'local mummies who are at home today', plus some Lark products, who I tell each customer are hand knitted from a lovely lady in Victoria, & they love it. Apart from the craft fairs I attend, which are strictly handmade only, I do Nightcliff Markets, which is primarily an Asian food & Tropical smoothie type market, with lots of imported Jewellery stalls. It's very alternative, hippie & grungy, with local live music acts, massage tents, organic produce & plants. There was an obvious niche for me there, but it did take people a while to get used to me.
a swatch of fabric goes a long wayVariety of Products & Prices - so I set up Posie because I loved fabric & handmade quilts, seemed like a good tax deduction & child friendly enterprise. I soon had people asking for other products & realised, I'd have to diversify with a range of products at different prices, for cash flow. Same for markets, sure sell your beautiful bags or clothes, but while people might love what you do, it might be a small swatch of fabric that they need to start off as a repeat customer. So make up baskets of smaller products, in the same style or fabrics, for people who just want a 'piece of the action'.
Layout & Set Up - I'll confess now, I hated markets. I never had any interest in them at all. I never liked what I saw, found them too hot, too cold, too muddy, my husband pushing me past or saying "you have 5 minutes", too overcrowded, too grandmotherly . . . hmmm . . . my taste & expectations of course have changed. I was 24 when I became a mummy, so my shopaholic ways turned from me to my daughter. I started loving wooden & handmade toys, but still never saw anything eye catching like a bib or outfit I loved. So that was 1999. My point is, I never paid any attention to how people set up their stalls or displayed their products, neverlone, what they were selling. So when I attempted my first market, I had big IKEA bags of products, but how to display them?? I'll fast forward to now, where I have 2 or 3 trestle tables, pretty Cath Kidston tablecloths, a string of bunting pennants in some of my favourite fabrics around the top of the marquee. It's eye catching for sure. I display most of my products in pretty fabric lined baskets with clear neat little tags or signs, with a description & price for each basket of products. It saves you having to repeat 100 times "that's for little girls, it's $15".
a basket of posie coin pursesChit Chat & Customer Service - this is certainly something you have to gauge, I'm chatty so can talk to anyone about anything, but try not to at the cost of making a quieter customer wait to ask a question or make a purchase. People understand you're 'at work' & looking around while you talk, but sometimes they will drill you about the ins & outs of a product, not let anyone else get your attention, & other potential customers walk away. Being polite & friendly, with a cheery "excuse me while I just fix this lady up" usually works.
Admin - I set up a card table & chair in the back corner of my marquee, with the cash box, mobile EFTPOS machine & carry bags, business cards, plus pen & paper for notes or orders. This has just opened up a can of worms for other points to mention.
a posie tiny tote in story book fabricMarquee/ Shelter - in Darwin, we have 2 seasons, Wet/ Monsoon (hot, wet & humid, every day for 6 months) & Dry (hot, dry & glorious for 6 months). I stick to Dry Season markets (April to October) as I know it won't rain!! So all I need is shelter from the sun, a good camping marquee does the trick & I can set it up solo. I'm only 5'6" tall, but very strong, so a 35kg marquee is no problem. I also get a 3x3m stall space, which is the right size for my marquee. I find the metal frame the perfect place to display my bags & aprons, using lovely wooden coat hangers, which are easy to access & customers can help themselves to trying on a bag etc. You must consider wind of course, but I rarely have to peg my marquee down or stop products from flying away. For the heat, just take plenty of water with you & remember to take the back wall if you have a marquee, prevents heat stroke!! A wall is well worth the investment as it gives you a display wall, plus privacy & security if you back onto someone else's stall or the car park. I drape the sides back, like curtains, which helps indicate to customers, they are not meant to come behind the tables!!

a basket of drawer doves
Carry Bags - definately take bags for people to carry their goodies home in. I stole the gorgeous packaging ideas from Meet Me At Mikes with pretty decorated paper bags (thanks Pip). That way people WILL recycle & reuse them, so put your label or shop details on the bag too. If what they have bought is a gift, all they need to do is add a ribbon & card. I just think beautifully handmade crafts, shouldn't been plonked in a grey grocery bag next to their organic bananas.

Orders - while it's really exciting to take orders, which you can post, deliver mid week or have collected next market . . . seriously consider the time it makes something to order, versus you whipping up 10 products in the fabrics you want to use, production line style for a market, versus making a 'one off'. Think about adding a premium for orders or delivery & make them pay now. It's very unlikely they will call you, check your website, etsy store or email you when they get home, dizzy with market day overload. That said, do have some business cards or pretty notes with your contact details INCLUDING what you actually do, as they might have picked up 20 cards on the day, so ensure you stand out. Also add a personal note like "pinafore in blue corduroy with fabric trim' as I am sure Jade will be doing 100 times over on Saturday!!
posie feeding bibs displayed on a paper towel holder
Money, Money, Money - I use a cash box with approx float of $60 in small notes & gold coins. You will have people using a $50 to purchase a $5 item, DO ask them for something smaller, TRY NOT TO give out all your change to one customer, as if you don't have change, some people will say 'forget about it'. What a waste. As I have products priced from $3 to $80 (no, I don't take patchwork quilts to the markets) . . . I find my EFTPOS machine invaluable. It's a mobile one from ANZ, costs $50 rent plus small % per transaction, it is what I use for the Posie plus Edna&Alice May businesses for on line & phone orders. In short, brilliant!! It pays for itself every weekend, as people say "oh, you take EFTPOS, right, I'll grab this & this & this too".
Discounts - think about some specials like $5 each or 6 for $25, everyone loves a bargain!! Plan in advance if you would be willing to sell 2 x $35 products for $60, so you're not thinking on your feet, face to face with the keen purchaser waiting for you to have a maths break down and say "sure, why not $50??" You'll regret it. I do 90% of my markets on my own, only selling my products, so if you are in a group, ensure you know what your partners are willing to do so far as taking ORDERS & offering DISCOUNTS. People are impatient & if you are saying "um, it's not my work, I don't know if she would, um" they will walk away as it's all too difficult.
a selection of cushions
Visitors - it's great that your friends, neighbours, family & school mummies have come to support you, but really, you are at work & like when you're in a retail shop being ignored by the sales assistant on the phone, talking to a colleague or having a personal conversation with another customer, it's something to be careful about. Also think up what you are prepared to charge that lovely teacher at school, a friendly discount so she's still nice to your son in class, or can they appreciate the investment of time & materials that has created such a beautiful product?? Personally, I find it very difficult when my husband brings the children to visit me, as a) they want to help themselves to products, b) he has usually brought them for lunch as well so they have food fingers, c) for well adjusted school aged children, they suddenly have a bout of separation anxiety & don't want to leave me, I also dread this for when I can finally participate at Canteen for Tuck Shop Duty at school, d) it's not 'bring your children to work' day is it?? Do I take them to his barracks for a visit, hardly!!
some Cath Kidston oilcloth purses, these sold in the first few minutes
Now that's about all I could think up while actually doing a market on Sunday. There are lots of other tips like 'wear sensible shoes', appropriate clothing for the weather, try to look fresh & happy, not like you were up until 3a.m. finishing off the trim on this & that. I know, even I still do that one & confess to a customer "oh, so glad I stayed up to make that one". Take snacks if you can't escape to eat a proper meal, & before you ask, yes, there are plenty of markets where I don't find time to even use the toilets. Follow the basic rules, like 'no packing up before 2p.m.' as you really will get customers at 1.55p.m. coming back to make that final purchase. Thank hard about spending your hard earned money at other people's stalls, try for a product swap instead. Oh, if I could swap a bag for 10 containers of Thai Beef Salad, I'd be so happy!!
I hope this helps, happy to answer any questions - perhaps as a blog comment, as I'm sure I've left major points out. Our Darwin markets are all very relaxed, no tape measures from the organisers or 'you are in my spot' dramas. Plus my regular spot is against the car park, so I can reverse RIGHT UP TO my site. That has saved my arms falling off & making for a much faster get away. You might be new & a threat to other stalls, they will check you & your products out to suss out the competition. It's just part of life. Just be friendly. Say hello & introduce yourself, say it's your first time, they might help you!! Then ask if you are in their way, car spot, pathway etc, better to check than to set up & them have a hissy fit & bring the coordinator over to you, then you have to move everything over 20cm. Deep breath ladies, you can do it!! Really, enjoy it, take notes on what customers suggest, what sells, a tally of the total & so many new ideas will come from the experience.
Also, if you only sell a few things, people who are regulars, do take time to warm up to your new concept, style & presence at the market. So don't be put off if you do have a slow day, or first few weeks are a lot of foot traffic only. Good luck!! Please let me know of your success. As for me, I'll be back at Nightcliff on Sunday 8a.m. to 2p.m., then a Craft Fair on the Esplanade on Sunday 5th August 9a.m. to 3p.m. in Darwin City, a beautiful setting with lots of tourists. Love Jennie
PS sorry for the haywire spacing & text not being centred, I'll still learning . . .