Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Urban Farm Girl's Main Street Market, Rockford, IL - Fall 2017

I don't know what to say....can NOT say enough good things about this's just amazing!

I always get asked, "why would you drive all the way down there to sell what you sell up here?"  The answer - for inspiration and rejuvenation.   Sometimes it's nice to go somewhere, where the customers don't know you.  I am always intrigued to see the customer's reaction or rather, reception of my goods and art.  

Many of you know that in Ringle, I'm the "go to gal" for our event, and  keep in mind - I'm kinda a "one woman show."  Anyway, if anyone knows the amount of time and energy it takes to pull off an event of any size, it's me.  Mary, and is amazing!  One of her volunteers told me that they sold out of wristbands (6,000) the crowd was HUGE!  

I left Ringle for Rockford with no single available spot in my van.  I even had a ladder over my head.  I came home with only 3 tubs, the rest were empty.  I could not believe how how much I sold!  I've been doing this for a L O N G time and this was almost as good as the "good old days" when we sold out!  

I didn't see any single thing I thought the customer's had in their bags or wagons that would be the "next big thing."  I do know what they bought from me - something I wasn't even going to take.  I wouldn't have even been able to get to it had I not had hired a "summer intern."  Shannon helped me organize my studio and I found tubs of stuff I forgot about.  Dried goods, the mini pumpkins were a HIT!  I had a huge jar full of them.  I found these cute little paper coffee bags (I bought from a rummage, they were extras, unopened from a coffee wedding favor) and it was $1 for a cup/scoop.  The crowd was honest in telling me..."I have 3 scoops or I have 1 scoop."  Like I said before, I'm going back to what I use to do.  What worked years ago, is now coming back.  

I took time to paint, I enjoyed it and the customers said "did you paint these?"  When I said yes, EVERY one of them said, "I love that you actually made them."  It's coming back around, original, hand-made things....too many of the same old is getting old!  Even my creepy art - dolls and parts in a jar - SOLD.  One young mother, shopping with her mother said, "why would someone put a baby in a jar?"  I piped up, "honey, when you are my age and your children are grown and gone, you will wish you could preserve your babies in a jar!"  Other women in the booth said "yes!" "she's right" "that is so true!"  One mother said, "or, keep them from becoming a teenager!" LOL

So, I sit here today, looking forward to...not next event.  I have a few new ideas, gained insight into what to focus my energy on and feel I have a new grip on the "heart beat" of the market.  Thanks Main Street Market!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wise & Harmless

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  Do any of you feel this way?  Oh, I use it, it has become an invaluable tool for my business.  However, for well over a all know what I's too MUCH!  For my friends "across the pond" - I'm sure you have your own political and social issues - but, Americans tend to be over the top....can I get an AMEN!  I've even stopped watching the news...I can't wipes me out emotionally...ALL of it!

Don't be fooled, I'm not uninformed - to the contrary - I am, what I like to call "awake."  Are you?  Awake to what is really going on, not only in my country, but the world.  I would love to share some of my thoughts, but like Alice, you can't just "jump down the rabbit hole," it's too much to hear these things all at once.  I recently told one of my friends, "I want to share some stuff with you, but I can't tell it to you all at once, I will feed you little bites every now and again."  She recently sent me a text..."I just saw a (...) and heard  (....)"  Yep, those are signs. 

I have had years of a slow "awakening" influenced by scripture that has guided me, especially this past year, to this very conclusion:  Matthew 10:16  "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves."  This, Jesus' words, says it all, not only for that dispensation of time - but ours!  There is only 1 truth in this old world - ONE - and that is Jesus - God manifest in the flesh!  1 Timothy 3:16 "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."  People this is our hope through salvation.  

So, I try not to comment on my face book page about the current topic, even LIKE other's posts or get caught up in any controversy - not because I don't want to, trust me I have strong opinions - it's because we are to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." 

Why harmless as doves?  A dove is the universal symbol of peace.  Peace:  "freedom from disturbance, quiet and tranquility, mental calm, serenity, freedom from war and violence, freedom from civil order"  Do I need to say more?  No, I don't think so.  

So, I will try hard to "hold my peace," on issues, not click LIKE or leave offensive comments that may stir up more problems.  I will however, remain "awake" and pray.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"How Is the Clean Out Going?"

I mentioned earlier that I hired a Summer Intern, Shannon.  We have spent many days this Summer shuffling, boxing, stacking, moving, hauling, loading....needles to say.....she has been a big help to me! 

I've had some interesting business prospects over the past 3 months and Shannon said something that had me laughing.  As we loaded and I tried to shut the door on an...ahem...I hate to unit...(ya, ya, I know it!! will only be until Ringle Harvest was a buy out I couldn't pass on)...anyway...Shannon said..."what happened to the clean out...?!?"  I said, "ya, you're not doing a good job...LOL..."  She said...."this isn't on me....I'm only doing what you tell me to do!  This is all you!"   

If you are on the outside looking into my line of work, you must keep in mind, just like it takes money to make money - it takes junk to sell junk.  My friend's husband asked me yesterday..."how's the clean out going?"  I said..."1 step forward, 2 steps back!"  So, If I can get rid of some actual garbage and replace that space with actually good junk, I'm ahead of the game!  Let's not fool ourselves, my building should never be empty, if it was, I wouldn't have any inventory to sell.  

Yesterday was one of those days, that if I would have been alone here, I would have QUIT and went in the house and took a nap!  My goal was to have Shannon and I each take 2 garbage bags to my pole building and fill them.  I opened the big sliding doors and we started there....we couldn't turn around...but, we started there.  In fact, we actually filled about 8 or 9 garbage bags and had over 2 dozen old weathered boxes for the burn pile.  Yes, I did toss many things I maybe could have sold at a flea or even crafted with, but it wasn't the "best" stuff I had.  We did fill many boxes for a future barn sale here too - it wasn't all garbage.  The dirty, holy rags or broken, chipped glass - they went bye, bye.  Oh, if you ask Shannon she might say I did a wee bit of whining - I wanted to quit and do something "fun."  She said, "boy, you sure get distracted easily..." (really??? ya think!)  I've been laughing about this since she left.  

But, honestly, for real...I'm pleased with the progress we have made....she might turn into the "Fall Intern" as well!  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

What's What? I Don't Know Anymore?

A crazy title, I know.  I could write many a post about "what's what" however, this one is on my recent buying trip to Minnesota.  I was hoping, to gain a bit of perspective on the up and coming new!  We spent 3 days shopping from here to there and I still have no idea what people want to buy.  

In addition to the thrift and antique shops we visited we went to 2 flea markets in 2 different cities - a total of over 2,500 booths of 96% vintage/antiques/junk.  It was truly amazing to see all the different booths.  Other than gaining a few new ideas for how to set up the Ringle Harvest Day: I didn't see one thing I thought was going to be the next big thing.  

As much of a writer's block that I mentioned I had in my previous post...I've had that same "I don't know anymore" block for my resell business.  I have the inventory...we all know that...but, I don't know what to dig out anymore that people would want to buy.  Oh, I've sold over the summer - yes, I've done that, just not my "best work" - so to speak.  I've sold to many dealers and pickers over the past few months and that's fine, I'm thankful for their business.  

One thing I overheard 2 dealers talking about, is the very thing I was suspicious of myself.  Here is the quote..."I never thought I would see this day...." my ears perked up..."I guess it's here"....(what? what is he talking about?)....he then says; "people just aren't buying - we have the stuff - now what?"  BINGO - I thought to myself.  He nailed it!  

As I walked around these 2 flea markets, I mentioned to my friend that I thought the average age of shopper was around 50...or older....where are the millennials?  (IKEA or Target I guess....).  If we, as dealers, can NOT inspire the next generation to buy antiques....we are in trouble.  

The one saving grace...Pyrex!  Yes, to the bright colorful dishes that grandma used - Pyrex just might save us, just like Martha Stewart did to Jadite.  The Pyrex booths were packed!  
I saw very little painted furniture....yikes...
I saw very little galvanized being carried around....yikes...
I saw lots of farm stuff....still there at end of day....yikes...
I saw many pieces of cheap furniture, quality, real wood, dove tail drawers kinda one buying....(IKEA really?!?)...

I don't want to sound pessimistic as that is contradictory to my core.  I have reinvented or rather, evolved my business before and I will do it again.  I know some of you who read this are dealers as well and maybe you don't see this coming, but I can assure you it is.  Just like the solar eclipse we will see today, changes in the business, happen every few years.  

So, I will keep plugging away, picking from my stash what my "gut" feelings are telling me to pick and go with that for the rest of the year.  It will be interesting to see what the new season of Fixer Upper will start as a trend...I am betting on 1970's macrame', brown furniture, glass and brass and pottery....just my "gut" but, If I'm right...I "called it."  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Posts in "Unpublished Blog Heaven"

Do you know how many posts I've written this summer and not published?  Let me tell you - it's dozens...

I guess I have hit a writer's block.  That is the only way I can describe it.  I've written many posts, just to finish, proof and read them - they just weren't good - delete!

I have noticed a trend in the blog world - lack of posts!  

Maybe other's are feeling the same - how many posts about food, crafts, kids can one read?!?  Now, as I've always said "I write this blog for me" - thank goodness I do/did post recipes on here - as I've had to look them up!  It's just that too much is too much!

I follow some "up and coming" junkers.  I see their daily vlog, photos and posts - it's all too much!  How many pics of "pickin" can one see?!?   I know social media is the way - but, wow - it's overwhelming!  I personally think customers are getting tired of it all too.

Anyway, I write all this to explain why I haven't posted.  

Just when I lose my blog incentive - I had several people come up to me at the fair and say..."I love your blog."  I didn't even know some of them read it!  They don't follow it... 

Anyway, it was so nice to hear.  Then, that same week, I received an email from a company that wants me to do a product review for them.  O.K. - blog world what are you telling me?  

Thanks for reading and following along.  More meaningful content on it's way!  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.