Thursday, May 14, 2009

Creative Shows: An Inside Look

Confession: when I chose this section of the blog I was perhaps being a bit selfish…craft fairs and shows are somewhat of a mystery to me. I figured there is no better way to get an inside look than interviewing show-goers and writing about it!

I also, of course, hope this can help others. Whether you’ve shown at shows before or have never been to one, there are tips, tricks, set ups, and everything in between to give a hand to everyone!

This week I’ve interviewed Jen Clark from Rochester, MN about Thursdays on First, an open air market in downtown Rochester. The market is a great place to grab a bite to eat at lunch time, browse some handmade goods, listen to homegrown music and even pick up some fresh veggies for dinner!

This will be a 2 part piece, look for part 2 next week!

1. What is your name, where are you from, etsy shop address, and what do you make?

My name is Jen Clark, from the Rochester, MN area most of my life. My Etsy shop address is and I make hemp jewelry. Our shop is a collective. My mother (Carlene Roberson) makes beaded jewelry, my uncle (Brian Jungers) makes stained glass mosaics, and my fiance' (Dennis Senn) also makes hemp jewelry. Also available in our shop are my son's drawings.

2. Tell us a little bit about Thursdays on First. The environment, who can sell there, who runs the show, etc.

Thursdays on First and Third Market and Music Festival (or TOF) is a juried show open to all crafters and artists as well as musicians and food vendors who are interested. The market has expanded from meager beginnings a few years ago and now takes up 3 blocks of space and has over 150 vendors. There are at least 2 shows/bands per week and several food vendors. There are also farmer's market goods, plants, and vendors and artists representing a wide variety of local talents. The show is run by the Rochester Downtown Alliance: which is headed by Mette Burkhalter.

3. What were some of your favorite booths at Thursdays on First last year?

My overall favorite booth has to be our cookie vendor friend, Kristen. She makes bite-sized cookies in a cup and has 3 different varieties. The ginger ones were my favorite, but she also has peanut butter or sugar cookies. She was also interviewed by the Rochester Post Bulletin, as she was usually sold out of her cookies before 2:00 p.m., sometimes sooner. Kristen paired up with a popcorn vendor who has a shop in the subway area. She literally couldn't bake enough cookies to keep up with her demand, so she was taking pre-orders for the following week from customers. Her cookies are the best!

We also loved Dave the glass blower (his stuff works great in our hemp designs), Dave Edens who made wonderful wooden shelves and other wood creations, and probably tons of others whose names escape me!

(how to prepare for a craft show, tips for first timers, and successful, customer-friendly set-ups!)


Sue Pariseau Pottery said...

Great post! I've shopped the Thursdays on First and Third show many times. Always love the vendors and the musical acts are a fun addition. My favorite vendor there is Bubbles by Brooks.