This is my second week at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It’s one of the biggest and most popular in LA. I arrived around 10:00 am. Because of Carmageddon (the 405 one of the busiest freeways in theUnited States was shut down for the entire weekend to tear down part of the Mulholland Bridge. Certain bus lines and metro trains were free all weekend. Well the ones, I used were free “YEAH”! Every little bit helps.
Shoshana was already there setting up. In my previous blog (CLICK HERE) I met her last week on my first day of vending at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. I received a lot of congrats from some of the vendors who are regulars. Most people only come out once and don’t come back. They give up to easily because of their unrealistic expectations. Believing with all the traffic that comes through they will sell out. It doesn’t always work out that way.
A woman rode up on a bicycle attached to a frozen Popsicle cart. Her name is Michelle Sallah. Her friend John Cassidy came thirty minutes later. Their company Popcycletreats goes all around LA selling organic, frozen popsicles, they make themselves. John said the idea just came to him one day. They did everything they could to make the idea into a reality. The popsicles were heavenly.
The “Cookie Lady” as she is affectionately called makes the best cookies, they are soft and tasty. I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes but her sweet potato cookies were delicious. She gave me some advice. “It takes time to build up your clientele but if you’re genuine, show passion that you love what you do and don’t pressure them to make a sale. Have a conversation, get to know them. If they are interested, your customers will buy. No need to pressure or brow beat.”
Because its summer and I’m vending in the heat, I forgot my hat to cover my hair. Luckily someone was kind enough to offer me sunscreen to spray on my head. Even though I’m African American I can still get sunburn. When you are vending outside, make sure to be safe. Have plenty of water, sunscreen, hat and if possible a tent or be in the cool shade.
My nervousness is turning into excitement now. I’m more confident because it’s my third week but I’m not cocky about. I look forward to meeting customer and potential customers. I never know what I’m going to see passing by Wild Beauty’s floating pop up store.
What did I learn this week?
Don’t look at your potential customers as dollar signs. Yes, you want to make money but don’t show your desperation. It’s a complete turnoff. Try to make a connection, finding some common ground. You have it already because they are interested in what you’re selling.
Here’s what I do. “I see you like body oils. They are made from my family’s century old beauty recipes. They come from my great, great grandmother who was Cherokee Indian.” Then we start talking about that and have something to build on.
Be grateful for every sale. No one has to make a purchase from you because you are there. I talked to a lot of people last week who came by the store. Many said, “I would like to buy but I ran out of money. I spent everything I had at the market.”
Instead of being disappointed, I smiled catching people off guard and said, “Then I have completed my mission.” They were definitely caught off guard. I explained. “Five minutes ago you had no idea of who I was or what I made. You browsed through my store. Now you do.”
Everyone smiled. Three people came back from last week and each bought 2 aroma-therapeutic body oils. My words stayed with them and told people they knew about me. They were looking forward to seeing me this week and hoping I would be there.
I enjoy being part of this growing community of pop up stores. Just because we don’t have a traditional store doesn’t devalue who we are or what we do. Our business is just like any other.
Felecia Scott / Founder Wild Beauty