Atherton Booth Evolution

We’ve been proudly peddling our wares at Atherton Mill and Market in Charlotte for just over a year now.  We started there in a small tent outside and graduated over time to a regular booth inside the building.  As the market grew, our little soap company has grown right along with it.

Recently it has become quite obvious that we had just a few too many products for our relatively tight space.  Things were getting a bit squishy and we literally did not have room to introduce any new products.  So, when the opportunity presented itself to build out a booth, we jumped on it.

Atherton Market - Old Booth Space

We spent the better part of today in the very quiet market deciding how we wanted to present ourselves.  The first step was to move in all the pieces that we had accumulated for this very purpose.  Below you can see a gorgeous dresser we picked up at Warehouse 2120 sometime ago as well as a table made of old boat wood, and two work benches that Frank and Shelli from Freshly were kind enough to build for us.

Booth Build out - The Beginning

Additionally, we pulled our potting bench out of the garage and brought it in.  It’s a lovely little piece that Wayne built for me over five years ago.

Booth Build out - Potting Bench

We spent several hours thinking, talking, and shifting furniture.  It was a painful process, but we wanted to be as happy as possible with it before starting to add any product.  Thankfully,  all our large pieces are on casters, so most of it was an easy move.

Booth Build out - Thinking

The first thing we decided to do was to find a way to hide the storage under our work benches.  After a quick trip to Mary-Jo’s (gotta love that place), we started stapling burlap into a skirt around the bottom.  Thanks goes out again to Shelli at Freshly for the recommendation.

Booth Build out - Stapling Burlap

Here’s our first skirted piece.  Not too bad for two folks who weren’t quite sure what they were doing and were making it up as they went.  🙂  The plan is to stain/paint/distress the exposed wood in the next few weeks when we have some additional time.

Booth Build out - Finished Storage

Next up was dealing with the exposed wall on the right side of the booth.  It was painted white, but screws were visible and it just didn’t make my heart sing.  Since at this point Wayne was a pro at stapling, we decided that more fabric solved that problem (at least for now).

Booth Build out - The Wall

As he moved along the wall things became a bit tight and  there was a bit of this going on (providing no end of entertainment for me):

Booth Build out - Under the Curtain

After we added the product and our price sign, here’s the end result.  Although I’m still not 100% sold on the fabric choice, I am quite happy with the overall result.

Booth Build out - Right Side

Just to the left of the bar soap station we added the dresser and put gift-related goodies on it.

Booth Build out - Dresser

To the left of that is an antique wash basin stand courtesy of a friend of ours.  Back in the day it probably lived in a bedroom and held a pitcher and basin.  For us, the plans is for it to hold our laundry detergent, sachets, and dryer balls.

Booth Build out - Wash Basin

To the left of that is the other workbench to which we added bath salts, scrubs, body wash, and lip balm.

Booth Build out - Left Side

Right before calling it a day, we took a minute to add our liquid soap and refills on the potting bench and hang our chalkboard sign in front of the booth.

Booth Build out - Finished

Over the next four to six weeks we expect the booth to continue to evolve.  We’re waiting for one more custom piece, and will tinker around with the product layout.  Even with that in mind, we are ecstatic with the progress we’ve made and look forward to feedback from all our market friends – vendors & customers alike.

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Wrap-up: Chatty Crafty

In mid April I (Wayne)  made my first trip to the city of Chattanooga, TN.  Julia, had participated in Chatty Crafty the previous fall and told me I would love Chattanooga; she was right!  Chatty Crafty was part of HATCH CHATT, a ten day showcase of creative culture in Chattanooga.     The vibe in the town was very cool and funky and there was immense support for all things local & creative.  I joined the festivities on Friday evening where Chatty Crafty was taking part in a local craft and food market.  After five or six hours in the car I was very glad to see this right across from the Chatty Crafty tent.

Good Dog is a local eatery that provides hot dogs (and veggie dogs) with house made sauces and buns that are baked fresh daily at local bakery.  My Hawaiian veggie dog was yummy!  There were lots of other vendors and crafters as well as some large scale art installations like this one:

On Saturday Chatty Crafty got started in earnest!  The space was incredible.  It was a nice  green lawn across from the Tennessee River.  Here is a shot of the river just across the street from our booth.  There was a temporary art installation here as well.

 

The layout was great.  There was lots of space between the aisles  so we vendors weren’t packed like sardines.  There was also a large square in the middle that made a great space for visitors to hang out.

There were a wide variety of vendors, some we met at other shows, and some were new acquaintances.   Beth, from Quill & Arrow Press,  had a wonderful collection of creative letterpress items.  From envelopes and journals to postcards everything was funky and fun.

Sew Few was our neighbor at the Handmade market last summer.  Her bags are absolutely beautiful.  Julia actually wanted to get an iPad just to have a reason to get one of her iPad covers.  🙂

Talia from Conduit Press was really nice and was one of the vendors who participated in the Friday night shindig mentioned above.  She makes wonderful notebooks and journals from re-purposed goods.  She also makes hollow books which are super cool for house decor.

 

There was also some really neat pallet furniture.  This lamp was almost six feet tall and looked like a cross between Woody from Toy Story and the lamp from Pixar movies.

Seven Feathers Tribe had the coolest booth.  I saw soooo many kids with these masks on I had to come check it out.

The biggest treat of the weekend was meeting Magar, an absolutely beautiful Irish Wolfhound.  Her demeanor was so kind and gentle and the picture does not do justice to her size; she was GINORMOUS!

So while festivals are always tons of work this one was a blast.  The organization was great, the location was perfect and Chattanooga was very cool.  I can’t wait to go back for the next Chatty Crafty!

Wrap-Up: Burnt Creative

In early April Sara and I headed to Blacksburg, VA for Burnt Creative Market.  How much did I know about Blacksburg before going?  Nada.  Sara’s friend Colleen lives there, so instead of doing my typical internet research before heading to a new city, I just let Sara guide me.

We arrived and after checking into the hotel, we headed to The River Company for dinner.  The restaurant is charming with high ceilings and wooden beams.  There’s also a brewery in the building which you can see from the second floor.

The River Company - Blacksburg, VA

Colleen was due with her first when we visited.    She’s since delivered a healthy baby girl named Carolyn – congrats Colleen!  Here she is with my sis.

Colleen

While we were waiting for dinner, I wandered onto the deck and discovered that the restaurant was appropriately named.  The view was gorgeous.

The River

After dinner we wandered a bit, had frozen yoghurt, and got to see Colleen’s nursery.  Sara and I crashed after that – we had to be up early to head to the market.

Burnt Creative was held in downtown Blacksburg on a street that was partially blocked off for the event.  At the top of the street was the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market.

Blacksburg Farmer's Market

After Sara and I set up, I wandered up the farmer’s market to walk around and I must say, I was quite impressed.  The setup was nice  with covered walkways (great to avoid rain and sun), and there was a great mix of vendors present.

Blacksburg Farmer's Market

I loved Stonecrop Farm‘s setup.  Simple and attractive.

Blacksburg Farmer's Market

I spent a minute or two gazing at the wares of Green Star Farm.  They sell produce as well as breads, lotions, soap, and massage oils.  For whatever reason, I loved this sign.

Blacksburg Farmer's Market

In the middle of the market was a tent with folks cooking.  It’s hard to read on the sign, but the menu is broken down with all the farm inputs listed (ex: bread from farm A, beef from farm B).  Very cool.

Blacksburg Farmer's Market

In the middle of the market is a large open area.  There was a kid’s craft table and several people had bubbles.  I immediately started giggling after seeing the dog below.  He would wait oh so patiently while someone was holding the large bubble wand.

Dog Waiting Patiently

And when someone created a large bubble?  He would jump.  Straight up sometimes.  And pop it with his mouth.  I can’t imagine it tasted good, but it definitely was humorous to watch.  🙂

Dog & Bubbles

As I was heading back down I saw this gentleman sitting with his dog.  She was absolutely beautiful, so I had to take a quick picture.  He said she was an Australian Shepherd.  Believe it or not, she had gorgeous blue/grey eyes.

Puppy

Heading back to Burnt Creative….Here’s the entrance to the market.   Lots of traffic seemed to filter down from the Farmer’s Market.

Burnt Creative Market

Here is Tracy’s booth from Patina South.  It doesn’t matter where I see her, her booth always looks gorgeous.

Patina South

I also quite admired Mountain Light Jewelry‘s booth.  The layout was adorable – all in vintage suitcases (briefcases?).

Jewelry at the Burnt Creative Market

DeSoriaDeSign was displaying gorgeous jewelry.  My picture is not great, so I high recommend checking out her Etsy shop.  I believe I shall need to own a pair of her earrings soon.

Jewelry at the Burnt Creative Market

Jessica, the owner of Burnt Creative and the producer of the market, had charming desk accessories all wrapped in fabric.

Burnt Creative

More jewelry I liked (of course).  A Little Twisted‘s display incorporated rustic wood and stone.

A Little Twisted at the Burnt Creative Market

Our neighbor on one side, Bimbur Books, had an eclectic mix of books that she binds herself.  Little tiny pieces of art.  She was also selling hula hoops.  Yep – our second time beside a hooper at an event!  Her books are truly amazing.

Book Binding

Across from us was Dashing Dog Studio.  They were wonderfully nice folks and single handedly protected us from certain death at the hand of our tent.  Really.  I promise.

Dashing Dog Studio

Just a few booths down from us was a set of vintage sellers that had a fantastic booth. Salvaged Threads and Salvage Girl shared a booth and did an amazing job!  I could have spent an hour in there wandering around and checking out all the little goodies they had.  See the owls in the basket?  Adorable.

Owls

Our neighbor to the other side, Marshfluff, made ingenious little boo boo bunnies from kid’s socks.  They were filled with plastic balls.  You store them in the freezer and in the case of a boo boo, they are available to lend a helping hand (or tail?).

boo boo bunnies

And the required picture of Whispering Willow’s booth.  We were under a big tree and the product definitely benefited from the extra shade.

Whispering Willow at the Burnt Creative Market

Here’s a shot of our new gift baskets.  We put these together as easy options for mother’s day, but we may keep offering them at upcoming events.

Whispering Willow at the Burnt Creative Market

Here’s a quick shot I took when I ducked out the tent.  The market stayed fairly busy like this all day.

Burnt Creative Market - Blacksburg, VA

It was such fun to meet new folks and get a quick intro to Blacksburg.  We’re definitely looking forward to our return visit in June.  We might even be able to share a photo of Carolyn.  🙂