First Market

Hello Everyone: 

It has been a while since I have updated my blog because I have been super busy, but I have finally carved out a bit of time tonight to do so. 

I grossed a total of $332 on my first outing, which is pretty good, though not as much as I had hoped, but a five-hour window is not a lot of time to work with.

Yesterday, I literally grinded for seventeen hours, up until 2:00am my time, and I needed to be up at 6:00am, but I knew I needed some sleep, because it was going to be an unprecedented day for me. Even still, I was not caught up to where I needed to be in preparation for the market.

Let me tell you, I haven't had a day off in over a month. When I am done spending time in the kitchen working on making kimchi, I go home and there is more strategic work to accomplish. There always seems to be something to do with my business, and its never-ending. I am not really complaining, just sharing what a life of a bOss is really like, and because I signed up for this. 

Okay, so I showed up at the market to setup a lot later than I wanted to - again, due to a lack of time. And I showed up like a complete lost puppy. I didn't even know how to set up my canopy, and I bought new and left it in the bag because I didn't want to mess with that hot mess, and because I just merely did not have the time. Luckily for me, the neighbor to my left was a lady with a lot of experience with these types of markets.

So as I was struggling to figure out how to set up my canopy, and stressing out because I was running out of time, she comes over and helps me set it up. Then the guy to my right shows up and lends a helping hand. And I am thinking to myself, is there hope for humanity? I was very grateful to say the least. 

So then things get under way, and its hitting about 10:30, and still no sales. And I'm like, great! Then a few people start to trickle in, and I sell a few jars by 12:00pm, and I'm thinking, at this rate, I won't even be able to pay my market fee. so I kind of sat there and thought to myself, maybe this whole stupid idea wasn't going to work, anyways. Maybe all that time you spent in the kitchen, and an innumerable amount of time spent strategizing for your business was a waste of time? Are you stupid, John? Did you really think this would work? 

So i was pretty depressed. I had only made like $80 up until 12:30pm, already halfway through the market event. Then, the market started to pick up. I started having a lot more curious glances, so I would always ask, would you like to taste a sample? And as it turns out, if I had not entreated the people that passed by whom would have not tried my kimchi to begin with, I would have lost out on a lot of sales. Those that stop to try my kimchi, most ended up purchasing my product, which was like a 65% conversation rate, and I was having so much fun! 

Also, the guy to my right, his name is Anthony, and he's Vietnamese - he sells macaroons. His partner shows up a bit later, and she is a girl I used to work with at the Veterans Affair hospital. Such a small world. So we all started chatting, and I made some new friends.

Ohhhhhhh, and I was not going to accept credit card payments, even though I signed up for Square and all that good stuff. I just read so many horror stories that I just did not want to use them, even though I already paid $50 for their payment processor. So, one customer came up to me and just kind of stood there, and I was like, would you like to try a sample? And he was like, no, I just want to buy a jar. And he asked if I accepted credit, and I responded no - lost my first sale. The neighbor to my left, she likes to listen into my conversations and interactions, asked me if I had the Square credit card reader, and I responded, I do, actually, but I do not use them. And she insisted I use them. She mentioned that she had an extra card reader. So she talked me into using Square, and it accounted for 33% percent of my sales. 

So when I first arrived on scene, Ryan, the market manager, said to me, I featured your site on our website, so you could gain some increased exposure. And I kind of brushed it off. Then there came a point when there was this girl and her boyfriend/husband - I asked them if they wanted to try a sample, and they said yes, spicy. So I gave it to them, and they tasted it and talked between themselves, and the girl was like, it is good. And she decided to purchase a jar. Then the bag was out of the cat, and she was like, we saw your featured website, and I read your blog, and that is why we are here to try your kimchi. And I was thinking to myself, people read my blog? Awesome! 

So sales were just coming in, and let me tell you, I was having so much fun, and I abhor the heat. But there was something about the farmers market that was so attractive to me. 

So at about 2:30pm, about half an hour until closing, I noticed that my cooler bag was leaking, and I noticed it was leaking into my Ball jar box containers, so I decided to pick up a box and move it. And it was like everything in slow motion - all the people in the booth next to me were like, OHHHHH, NO!!!!! The next thing I knew, the bottom of the box gave out, and a few jars broke and kimchi splattered all over me. But the cool thing was, everyone was so kind and helpful. They helped me clean up, and they recounted what happened, and it was kind of funny.

At that point, my 10x10 feet space started smelling like kimchi, and my face and body was riddled in kimchi and you could smell kimchi from a mile a way. If there was ever a time and place that I ever wanted to eat myself, that was not the time! Anyways, I took it like a champ, and I kept on receiving customers. 

All in all, it was such a wonderful experience, and I wish I could do it more than once a week.

There was a lot more I wanted to talk about, but "i've been sipping so its moving kind of slow" 

-The Kimchi Whisperer-