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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Local Flea Market

I spent yesterday as a vendor at the local flea market.

Setup was a bit pricey, but it was a covered outdoor market with a local police officer on duty all day.

The flea market gives you one table with the option of renting additional tables for your area at a nominal fee. You also have a good parking space just behind your stall.

There is good foot traffic and a hot food concession stand. A drawing for vendors is also available.

I set up with three small jewelry display cases and some neatly folded jeans I had outgrown thanks to the excellent cuisine in the delta area.

Customers were greeted with a smile and an invitation to view native american jewelry I had purchased from an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation online.

People were genuinely interested in knowing about the jewelry, the artisans, and in the challenges that tribes face in maintaining a quality life bettering those members of their tribe while keeping their values intact.

I quickly made it clear that I was not raising money for a reservation but I purchased directly from people on reservations so that I could assure myself of authenticity as well as supporting people who are doing for themselves. I positively enjoyed calling a friend in Michigan on the My Pleasant reservation and arranging to have small dreamcatchers made. The dreamcatchers will each come with a card from the artist for the customer. This will assure my customers that they are buying something handmade on the reservation and the members of the tribe appreciate the care I take to comply with federal laws that protect native goods from cheaper counterfeit goods.

When people go to a flea market, they are often sold cheap goods, but I know many vendors who retail quality items that are not knockoffs. I know only one person who was put in prison for selling fake Nikes. He served five years.

I feel that people are willing to pay for genuine goods that last. I also feel that running a business honestly and representing what you sell honestly pays off in increased sales and repeat customers. You don't have to hard sell a quality item. The beauty of a flea market is lower overhead resulting in lower prices for the customer while ensuring profit for the vendors.