Etsy: Made in Canada 2015

Last weekend, it was finally showtime for Etsy: Made in Canada 2015.

Myself and my two co-organizers, Hilda & Lindy, have been working on this show since February. Though we’re volunteers, we’ve put a lot of work into this project. I can safely say I’ve spent an average of 12 to 16 hours per week on this show, equivalent to a part-time job.

This year, we had the privilege of working with Golden Acre Garden Sentre – a beautiful greenhouse with an outstanding staff. A huge part of the success of the day is due to their staff members. It’s rare to come across a business these days where employees clearly feel a sense of loyalty to their companies. Everyone loves working there and is happy to be a part of the company. It was so refreshing to see!

The day started off with a huge lineup. We knew a lot of people would be enticed by the swag bags, but we didn’t expect that many people to show up early. The crowds got a little crazy before our wonderful Golden Acre staff stepped in and implemented an orderly crowd control. It worked really well, and things got a lot more relaxed after that initial rush.

There were, of course, lots of complaints about the lineup on Facebook. I did my best not to read all of them, but it’s hard not to, and it’s also important to take the opinions of our patrons in mind. I think the majority of people don’t realize we’re volunteers, not Etsy staff.

Our budget is small, and though we do receive a small bursary from Etsy, it makes up only about 10% of our entire budget. The rest of the money is raised through selling tables. Larger venues like the Telus Convention Centre and the BMO Centre start at $14,000 a day to rent, and don’t come with the outstanding support we received from the Golden Acre staff.

We’re on the hook for everything we spend, and if we weren’t able to sell enough tables at a larger venue, it could easily cause a disaster in our personal finances. There’s just no way we’d be able to afford a larger venue without charging our sellers several hundred dollars a piece for their tables. This is hard for most handmade businesses, something that can sometimes be hard to convey in Calgary, where big companies rule the roost.

Lineup issues aside, the day was a great success. It’s always so heartening to see such a huge support of the handmade community. We are small, but the demand is there! We heard from lots of vendors that it was one of their best days for sales ever, and that alone makes all the time spent planning this market worth it.

If you missed the show, you can shop directly from our vendors online here.

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