After a winter spent working on the Me Granny Rocks’s website, creating posts on Facebook, tweeting and pinning up some pictures on Pinterest, along came Springtime with the need for more outside times. Well, don’t get me wrong here, I am not complaining. The sweet thing about modern technology, I think, is that there are no real boundaries of time or geography. I am so delighted to work online when it suits me, and yet someone on the other side of the planet can still like my Irish hand-knitted accessories. But, winter had me hibernating, now it is time to get out.
A whole new experience: craft fairs
My first big step in the real world has been to become a member of the Chapel Lane Market. This craft fair is located in the heart of Ennis, Co. Clare and happens every Saturday from 10am to 5pm. You can find a wide range of high quality products hand-made by crafters mostly from Clare… and lovely cakes as well (dangerously good!). I would recommend to anyone visiting Clare or going through the Wild Atlantic Way to stop by.
The excitement always starts with the selection of beanies, scarves, gloves and headbands. Since everything has to fit in so few boxes, I obviously can not bring the whole stock from Me Granny Rocks headquarters. And choosing among all the ready-made products is sometimes a bit of a struggle. There is always the last-minute hat I stuff in a box just before leaving. Then, there is the setting-up of the stall. Here again, picking the right accessories to put on the mannequin heads can be a long process some days. But I am often inspired by the weather, my own mood, or some events. For instance, I could not avoid the Irish colours for St Patrick’s day.
Meeting the customers
The excitement continues then with the first visitors coming in. The direct exchanges with the people is really what makes my days on the craft fairs. I can tell them my story, about the name Me Granny Rocks, why I chose to enter the knitting business, share my love for Ireland, and so on. But most importantly, I get to know them, even only for a brief moment, where they are from, why they are choosing this beanie or headband, or who the present is for. Some customers give me feedback on the products, the designs, the wool… Sometimes, they are knitters themselves, or I learn about their knitting grandmas or mammies. Often, my local knitters call in to say hello and catch up. I really enjoy those chats. This is why I have recently added a chat button to the website in order to get the same kind of experience online. But there is one thing that the internet can not substitute for unfortunately, that is the touching! Most of the visitors, even those just passing the stall, first look at the products and then touch them. They need to feel the merino wool under their fingers, and after that they might opt for trying some of the hats or scarves.
At the end of the day, comes the packing and the satisfaction of having spent a nice time again! And since this is Ireland, I sometimes end up in the pub for a well-deserved pint!
Happy with my experience at the Chapel Lane Market, I am currently looking for some other craft fairs I could go to now before spending another hectic winter online.