Trunk Show Gypsy
Growing up in the world of craft fairs, artisan markets and trunk shows, I couldn’t say no to visiting one of the 1st trade shows I had ever been to…The Arden Fair in Wilmington, DE.
Before my mom, the Ultimate Business Gypsy, opened up her small business in Delaware, she worked out of her home and sold her fresh and freeze-dried floral arrangements out of the back of the truck at fairs and trunk shows across Delaware. The Arden Fair was one of her first trade shows. I remember walking around the fair with my sisters and my dad while my mom worked her booth. We would listen to music, look at the hand-made merchandise and eat bratwurst and funnel cake! When my dad would give my mom a break, she would take us to get ice cream and our very own princess crowns made of glitter and ribbon. What else could an 8-year-old little girl want!?
The trade shows and craft fairs were fun and all, but it was also a lot of work! We would have to get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, help pack the truck full of merchandise and floral arrangements, drive, unload the truck and set up the displays in the booth. You would then have to sit there, for over 8 hours in the blistering heat, while consumers walk past your booth, hoping someone would buy a product and help pay for the cost of just being at the trunk show. We helped with displays, marketing, gift wrapping…you name it! Anything to help the small, family business succeed!
Another part of the artisan fairs and trunk shows that we took advantage of and I always looked forward to, were the antiques. The first thing I remember doing with my mother while I growing up is going to flea and farmers markets to buy antiques. We would walk up and down the isles, meeting some very interesting people, and haggling prices on certain antiques she wanted to buy. She would try to find antiques that she knew would be a great addition to one of her hand-made arrangements or even just to add to the store. The history of each antique was unique and no two antiques were the same. That is what makes antiques so special. They are one of a kind.
In addition to the trunk shows being very hard work and a lot of fun, it was also a huge learning experience. I learned so much growing up in this environment. I learned to accept other people for who they were. I learned the importance of grass-roots marketing and face-to-face interaction with your consumers. I also learned the craft of creating fresh floral arrangements and the art of putting together beautiful displays that catch the consumers eye. I soaked up as much information as I could and I still use what I learned to this day!
I have always valued going to artisan and trade shows, and I still go today. The life of a Trunk Show Gypsy is etched into my soul. Even though it was and still is hard work, it is also fun and still a learning experience. I wouldn’t trade in this Trade Show Gypsy life for anything.