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

PAY ATTENTION & SAY HELLO
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.

KEEP YOUR PRICES EVEN
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.

INVITE YOUR FRIENDS, BUT SET BOUNDARIES
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!

BONUS TIP:
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

WEEKLY OBSESSIONS

Natick Lifestyle Photography - Natick Portrait Photographer Stephanie Rita Photo_0222

It’s been just over a year since I started blogging for fun again (affectionately known as fun-blogging 😉 ) and I wanted to celebrate with a Weekly Obsessions post! Here are some of my recent favorite things!

Sparkler Inspiration Shoot – I always have 2-5 photo shoot ideas wandering around in my head and sometimes I actually get to make them come true! This one was based on summer, sparklers and pure best friend fun. Go to my photo blog to see!

STOK cold brew – I discovered this cold brew recently and I can’t get enough! Buy a jug of it at the grocery store (for the price of one Starbucks iced coffee!) and you’ll be in cold brew heaven for at least a week! Bonus, pour some into your ice tray and have coffee ice cubes, too 🙂

salt box kitchen concord ma

Saltbox Kitchen – There are way too many awesome, delicious restaurants in my surrounding area that I haven’t tried yet! Luckily, yesterday I stopped by Saltbox Kitchen for lunch and it was the best place to eat I’ve been to in a while. The best part is they use all their own, locally-grown veggies! Maybe I should set a goal of eating at one new restaurant per week. Metrowest Boston peeps, where else should I go?

The end of July – July has been SO hot and a lot busier than normal, and I’m a little relieved that it’s ending soon. Just being honest. August is bringing a couple weekend trips with friends and hopefully not-constantly-in-the-90s weather, so I’m looking forward to that!

6 Productivity Hacks

I’m a small business owner and any small business owner knows the feeling of ‘busy’. There is always something to do. Even at 11pm when I should be in bed, I could undoubtedly find something else to do. The whole world is busy these days, and it can be hard to differentiate between being busy and being productive. Productive, like… you know… when real, actual work is getting done.

I’ve read a few articles that touch on the topic of being busy versus being productive. Some of them say that replying to emails and sitting in meetings are just busy work, but not productive. Others say that anything related to making progress on a project is productive. I think any task has the potential to be productive, but it’s all in how you do it. If you’re constantly checking your email, but not replying or ‘dealing’ with the emails, I don’t think that’s productive. If you’re in a meeting that bangs out 3 big ideas and 10 ways to execute them, I need to give you all gold medals.

When you think about it, the big difference between being busy and being productive is ACTION. When your actions are goal-oriented, you can pretty much guarantee you will be productive. Busyness is filling our time with anything we can find to fill our time. Productivity is setting a goal and working towards it. I wanted to share a couple ways that help me know my day has been productive:

6 Productivity Hacks Letters from Rita blog

Morning Routine
I wrote about this last week, but I really believe that morning routines are essential for productivity, especially for those of us who work from home! You can read more about my morning routines and a few tips here.

Top 3 ‘Big Things’
I’m a total pen and paper girl. I have a legal pad that I keep by my computer and each day I’ll write my top 3 most important tasks for the day. (Honest truth: Sometimes one of those things is to work out, and I am totally ok with that being a big thing.) If I put my mind to it, I can usually get through my 3 things by the end of the day. If not, though, I put the task I didn’t finish at the top of tomorrow’s list.

Ugliest task first
I learned this from my mentors at Inspire Photo Retreats two years ago. I hate the mundane business-related tasks that come with owning your own business. I know that if I get them done earlier in the day, I have more time at the end of the day to focus on creating, whether that is painting, blogging or taking photos.

Dedicated ‘errand day’
When your office is in your home, you can get caught up in when to do your home-life-stuff (groceries, cleaning, bank, ect). I dedicate one day a week to doing errands. It means I don’t get as many business-y things done, but focusing on the other necessary life things means the other 4 days of the week I can solely focus on the biz.

One Thing at a Time
My brain is a brain that jets around from thing to thing (and over to more things). As much as women pride themselves on being the ultimate multitaskers, when it comes to productivity, I’m not sure it really works like that. Put all of your energy into one task, and only when you finish that should you move onto the next!

Put Your Phone Away
I’m preaching to the choir right now. Not having my phone directly in sight is admittedly my weakest character trait, which means I get distracted by that shiny rectangle fairly often. BUT. I’m learning that when my phone is not near me – tempting me – I can get more real work done and feel more productive!

Here are a couple more reads on productivity / busyness:

Lily Singh’s 5 Ways to Get Real Work Done
Stopping the busyness
27 Ways to Get more Sht Done
Staying productive while working from home

Now! Go get ’em!! <3 <3 Stephanie

p.s. i took this photo, and YOU can download it from my unsplash page!

I’m the King of New York

(Title is from a Newsies song.. it’s the only thing I can think of when I think about New York City. This has also resulted in me listening to the whole soundtrack while I write this post. It’s fine. I’m not a nerd.)

Last weekend I went to New York! And last weekend I ate my way through New York! But I also visited some friends along the way 🙂 My lovely friend lovely Kelsey (of Tickle Me Pink blog) was gracious to let me stay with her in her cute apartment and show me around the city!

I loved exploring the West Village and the Meatpacking district and hitting all the cute spots. I fell deeply and madly in love with the Chelsea Market and all their trendy, healthy, maker-type businesses that fill the old mill building. Of course I didn’t take a photo because I was living in the moment, but one of the stores I found fascinating was Artist and Fleas, a collective of over 30 crafters and makers in the city!

We went to a ton of great food spots so I wanted to share them! I didn’t take photos at every place we ate, because again, trying to live in the moment, slash some of them had bad lighting. Here’s where we ate, what I ate, and my rating out of 5 stars (because I’m obviously a food blogger, not.)

Friday Dinner: Quarter – the quarter burger with fries – 5 stars
Saturday Breakfast: Murray’s Bagels – pumpernickel bagel with maple walnut cream cheese – 4 stars
Saturday Lunch: Meme Mediterranean – chicken chopped salad and hummus with falafel – 5 stars
Saturday Dinner: Blue Ribbon Sushi – shrimp tempura and spicy crab rolls – 4 stars
Sunday Brunch: Bubby’s (High Line) – bubby’s breakfast – 4 stars

So pretty much Kelsey took me to all the best places and now I’m eating salad for 3 weeks to make up for it 😉 😉 jkjk.

TMP_NYC_August15

This trip made me remember why I <3 NY. Did you know, I was dead set on moving there after college graduation, but a silly/cute boy named Nate convinced me to move to Boston instead. 🙂 I wouldn’t change it, but I’m definitely excited to plan another weekend trip to New York in the fall!

<3 S