100+ local San Diego makers come together for one day of holiday goodness. Shopping, music, food, drinks, crafts, and community.
I'm happy to report another Maker Arcade under my belt! Even though I was under the weather and ran the booth by myself, it was a great day. A long day, but great. I look forward to this market, because the crowd that comes out just gets it. They appreciate creativity and have a sense of humor. My kind of people.
Even though I’ve been exhibiting at shows for a few years, it still feels weird to promote my work. “Selling” does not come naturally to me. I do enjoy chatting with new people, so that’s how I think of it. Just a friendly chat with fellow San Diegans. It takes the pressure off me a little.
I’m always surprised with the amount of conversations I have about letterpress with shoppers. It’s such a treat for me, I love to talk shop! On one of the tables in my booth, I have an iPad on display with a short film showing me printing on my press. Seeing the old school machinery in action, often catches the eye of uninterested husbands or boyfriends while their partner shops for greeting cards. They ask questions about the press while their wife or girlfriend purchases a few cards. Win win.
I’ve learned it’s much easier to show the printing process than explain it. There’s always a few people who are genuinely shocked when I say I do the printing myself, so it’s nice to have some visuals handy. I try not to take their shock as condescending. I realize I’m not the “printer” stereotype they envisioned. I’m the new generation of letterpress printers - a female business owner, cranking out fine ass stationery her own way.
I attend these kinds of markets myself, and I hate feeling pressured to buy or hovered over. I think the work should speak for itself, but I know connecting with customers and sharing my unique story makes a more memorable experience. I push past my shyness and try to be approachable and engaging. All I can do is be myself. I know my products aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. But there’s no better feeling than when someone laughs out loud at one of my humorous cards, or their face lights up when they realize they’ve bought one of my cards at a local shop, or when they buy a card and say they can’t wait to give it to so-and-so.
I enjoy talking to customers and observing them interact with my products. Since I don’t have a brick and mortar shop, markets and fairs are the only time I get to see people react to my products in the wild. It helps me see what people are connecting with, what they’re looking for, and what’s selling.
Some of my favorite comments from shoppers are…
Wait, you made these?!
Yup, I do all the design and printing myself.
Who taught you letterpress?
I’m self taught. It’s an ongoing journey.
Who comes up with the ideas and phrasings?
These are actually really good.
Thanks, I'm glad you like them. (You gotta love an unintentional backhanded compliment.)
Thanks to everyone who came out to the event and a special thank you to everyone who stopped by the Harken Press booth. Your kind words and purchases mean more to me and my family than you know.
Event photos by Briana Nolan Photography