3 Tips for your First Market

Hey makers!! This blog post is specifically for you! If you’ve been here for a bit, you know I was a vendor at my local farmer’s market three times this summer. I had a blast sharing my lettering work, and each time I learned something new and helpful. I wanted to share these tips with you in case you are about to embark on your first market appearance soon!

MARKET TIPS letters from rita

This seems like a no brainer, but I saw so many other vendors on their phones or reading a book while potential paying customers walked right by their table! I definitely noticed a difference in interest between when I said hello versus just smiling at the person walking by. I think that when you reach out and say hello it engages the person right away and makes them slow down a bit. It’s not guaranteed they’ll buy something, but at least they are taking a closer look.

Most market-goers bring cash, because they assume vendors only take cash. This means you’re dealing with change! Keep your prices even, so you aren’t rifling through pennies and dimes, which takes a long time and can be frustrating if you can’t find or don’t have what you need.

On the day of my first market, there were no less than 12 people there to support me, which was amazing and fun! BUT! I had to make it clear that I was there to reach out to new customers, not to talk to my friends for hours. If you have a squad taking up all the space in front of your table, it will be intimidating for others to make their way to your products, so set those boundaries. You can all talk when you go out for ice cream after!

Have a sign up sheet for your email list on your table and tell anyone who is remotely interested in your product to add their name! Give them a good incentive: sale codes or freebies do the trick 🙂

Hopefully these pointers got you thinking about your market in the not-usual-market-tips kind of way! Good luck!

tips for your first market - letters from rita blog

My First Market!

natick farmers market - letters from rita

Last Saturday morning I was a vendor at my very first market! I’ve been a long time attendee of the Natick Farmer’s Market, so it was extra special to actually be a vendor at it! I honestly went in with no expectations; I knew I would probably give away a lot of business cards, and was OK if that was it. But luckily 4 sweet souls found pieces of art that they loved! I was so surprised! I had a lot of good feedback on my work, and quite a bit of interest in custom work, which I am praying will pan out in the future. I loved being part of the local action and getting to meet a variety of people from my town. One observation I made was that teenagers were particularly interested in my art. I am wondering if that is because hand-lettering is so prevalent on social media these days… or if they were just really cool teenagers 🙂

I also had a personal squad who came to support me! Nate was key is helping me set up the tent and tables, and bringing me coffee 🙂 My parents, my in-laws AND two of my four siblings-in-laws came to hang out (my mom was the principal photo-taker). A few different friends from bible study and my running group stopped by, and my sweet friend Amy surprised me with a visit as well! Thank you to all who made time in your day to say hi!

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I will be back at the Natick Farmer’s Market on July 30th and August 6th and I’d love to see you there!


Best Art Supply Stores

I’m an art supply hoarder. There I said it. If it’s on sale and I could potentially use it in the next 8 months, I’m probably going to purchase it. This mostly goes for pens, canvas, acrylic paint, paint brushes, notebooks and more pens. You should see my office, or more like, room of random piles. I do end up using it all, (eventually)! I want to share a couple of stores from where I like to get my supplies!

I’ve found that if I really need something that is “high-quality artsy” (say, an obscure pen brand or a specific size of canvas or specialty paper) I go to Blick and it will be there. They are my go-to for legit art supplies. They have everything. Plus, they have different versions and brands of everything. They also have great sales, and you can get a member card to save even more.

The only problem is, it takes me about an hour to get to the closest Blick in my area. So if I don’t have the time for that, I go to A.C.Moore. It’s closer to home, and it carries most of the same major art supply brands. It doesn’t have as much of a variety, but it definitely works. A.C.Moore also has a member card and I end up saving a lot with that!

Now, if I am looking for home decor or craft-specific items, like a chalk or oil pen or a variety of chalkboards, I go to Michael’s. They also have a fair amount of scrapbook / paper supplies. Michael’s is like the more homey, crafty version of A.C.Moore. A.C.Moore is the more basic version of Blick. Blick is the bomb.com. They are all important in their own way and I need them all in my life.

That being said, I have stumbled upon some other awesome local art stores with smaller selections of more high-quality products. I try to visit these places every so often because A) I love supporting local and B) I love art stores.

Artist Craftsman in Cambridge – They have a few locations around the US. This one is in a basement and it smells like oil paint when you walk in. If you know oil paint, you know that’s a good smell.
Johnson Paint Company on Newbury – The first floor is an interior/home paint store, but if you go to the top floor you’ll find the art supplies!

All Time Faves: Pens

I’ve done the research for you. Here are my favorite brands and types of pens for all different lettering situations!

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– ArtWin – The ArtWin double-sided pens are what I use when I am doing a larger piece and need to fill in more space in the letters. The tips are thicker and more flowy, so you get better coverage and spend less time coloring the letters in. These pens are also what I use if I’m lettering over watercolor!

– Sharpie Pen (Fine) – I use these pens when I’m doing loose lettering. The tip is thin and the ink flows well, but I don’t use these for precision, more just for fun or experimenting. They are also my go-to pen for writing in general. So smooth!

– Micron – Micron is my go-to. Their precision can’t be beat and they have all different size pen tips. I tend to buy a range starting from really thick (08) to really, impossibly thin (01), just so I have any type of size I may need while I letter a piece. If we’re keeping track, I do typically stick with the 03 because it’s versatile and usually just what I need.

  • EDIT 2/2/16 – Faber-Castell PITT artists pen and Tombow N15 have recently made their way up into the ranks of my favorite pens! F-C might even top Micron for me!


– Bistro – I have used MANY a chalk pen and Bistro is definitely my favorite for it’s quality, life-span and price. A lot of chalk pens are like $12, but I can find Bistro at Michaels or A.C.Moore for in the $4 range. And they last a lot longer than other chalk pens, too!


– Sharpie Oil Pen – These are actually the only oil pens I can find, so I’ve had to adapt. They get clogged if I forget to regularly clean them while I’m working, but overall the ink flows pretty well and the coverage is good. The reason I need the oil pens is to write over acrylic paint on canvas.


– Galaxy Marker – I spent months researching and trying to find a good white-on-dark pen. I finally came across the Galaxy Marker. The tip isn’t the most precise, but it definitely shows up on the dark paper (some of the white pens I found just seeped right into it).

– Gelly Roll 08 – Seriously just a white gel pen like we used in 8th grade. This one has a finer tip so it’s good for smaller lettering pieces and details. (not pictured)

– White Gouache – You need to use a brush with this, so it takes a little practice, but know that white gouache is also an option for over dark paper!

So there you go! Try these pens and let me know what you think! OR even better, let me know all your favorite brands on pens to work with!

(none of this is sponsored. I’m just a pen nerd.)