Market Monday: Makers Arcade San Diego

Sharing our experiences about where we sell can give others some really helpful information. Even if you don't live near the show, hearing how someone strategized and tackled the show can give you lots of insight into how you choose shows near you. For this Market Monday we venture down to sunny San Diego for the Makers Arcade show. Enjoy!

Q: Tell us about your shop.
A: Stacy Wong is authentic, wood goodness. I design and create modern, wood gift keepsakes, décor, and accessories.

Q: How did you hear about Makers Arcade?
A: I heard about the show through a tweet from a vendor/customer I follow. She is based in San Diego. I also thought the name of the show was unique and different so I just had to check it out.

Q: Why did you decide to do this show and have you done it before?
A: I have wanted to broaden my customer based outside of the greater Los Angeles/OC area and was actually looking for show opportunities in San Diego. One of my hard and fast rules is that I typically do not do shows unless I have attended them at least once as a customer. But in looking at the organizers Jen Byard and Rebecca Chase, I could tell they were actively involved in the local San Diego handmade scene. They had one other Makers Arcade event earlier in 2014 have experience organizing events through Urban Craft Camp (which offers workshops all throughout the year for people to tap into the maker within them) and their branding vibe on social media seemed very indie and hip. I also emailed the organizers directly with several questions and they were quick to respond and seemed very enthusiastic.

Q: What's the application process like?
A: The application process was online, and the application intake for vendors was very short – about two weeks. There was no application fee and no money required upfront – only once accepted did you need to submit payment through PayPal.

Q: What was the atmosphere like? 
A: Jen and Rebecca collaborated with many local, San Diego businesses to design, create, and style the Moniker warehouse venue. A Snow Chalet and Ski Lodge theme was carried out throughout the venue and décor was accented with vintage sleds, fresh greenery, and wool flannel to keep the rustic theme warm and cozy. I was really impressed with their attention to detail in terms of the décor and authenticity for the theme presentation and staging.

Customers for the most part were from greater San Diego area and I was impressed how they supported this new event and their appreciation of the maker/craft community. There were families, singles, young and old happy to spend their day at the event. I suspect the majority of them do not venture outside of San Diego to go to shows in Orange County or Los Angeles.

Q: What was the set-up like? 
A: The show was held at the Moniker Warehouse, a multipurpose arts and creative center located in the upper east village district of downtown San Diego. The set-up was easy - you could pull-up directly in front of the warehouse, unload your things and then find parking on nearby streets. There were two main sections of the warehouse for the show and vendors. One side was called the “Snow Chalet” and it had a welcoming bar and seating area where customers could purchase beverages and s’mores. Towards the back of the chalet there was a stage where live music was played throughout the show. I had a spot on the other side of the warehouse named the “Ski Lodge.” This side had a photo booth, seating area, hot chocolate station, and diy tables for make-n-takes (decorating muslin bags and planting cute mini spruce trees).

Q: What kind of vendor would do well here or not do well here?
A: I think a vendor who has a handmade business and has sold previously at indie shows such as Renegade Craft or Unique LA and who wants exposure to the San Diego market could do well. The organizers selectively curate their vendors and purposely limit the same type of vendors in order not over-saturate the show with similar makers. While the majority of vendors were from the San Diego area, the show is open to considering vendors in the greater LA/OC areas. I would recommend looking at their previous vendors list on their website in order to see if your business might be a fit or not.

Q: What should people know when considering Makers Arcade?
A: All vendors were asked to donate a minimum of 10 items (valued at least $40) to be used as part of swag bag giveaway for the first 125 customers. When I was loading in at 9am, there were already a handful of customers waiting in line to score some swag for the show which did not open until 11am!

Q: Anything else?
A: Jen & Rebecca also hosted a vendor “Cocktails & Conversation” happy hour about one month before the show at a local San Diego venue. Although I was unable to attend, I thought it was a nice gesture and opportunity to meet other vendors and receive show marketing materials. They are already planning their spring 2015 show and are so excited about what’s ahead for Makers Arcade!

Images courtesy of Jasmine Fitzwilliam and Stacy Wong

Q: Where can people find your stuff?