Sunday, April 11, 2010

"i heart denton!" or: "how i learned to stop freaking out and just go for it"

i don't know if i've mentioned this to you before, but i really do heart my town. seriously.

i think one of the things i love most about denton is how SURPRISING it is. you really wouldn't think that a north-texas town would be so full of crunchy earth-loving hippies riding bikes and voting for obama, but there really are a LOT of us here. denton is progressive, optimistic, creative, dynamic, somewhat liberal, and full of people with big hearts and good ideas. here's yet another example:

my cool friend, kati, had this great idea about how to bring the best of denton together once a month, to really showcase all that we are and all that we create. so she and a bunch of really amazing people got together, held fundraisers, got local businesses involved, advertised, set up a website, and made it happen.

yesterday was the first day ever of the extremely awesome and very inspiring denton community market. (note: the market will be held every 2nd saturday, april through november, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm in the parking lot where the farmers' market is currently located: the corner of carroll and sycamore.) two dozen very diverse vendors met in a parking lot at 7:30 on a gorgeous april morning, and set up shop. there was a woman next to me who made these really cool headbands (she said she started out making sculptures, then thought smaller...) and she was totally cleaning up. i wouldn't be surprised if i saw a hundred people this week wearing her stuff... the woman behind me melted wine bottles and turned them into serving plates, and made earrings out of beer bottle caps. she also sold out of her homemade jams, jellies, and pickles (and her art was featured in this morning's sunday paper)! the two booths across from me were all-natural pest control (the dude there seemed pretty intense -- he knows just about everything you could know about bugs!) and an edible, organic landscaping business (the dude there mostly jammed on his guitar all day and then answered questions of folks stopped by). there was a booth selling bracelets to raise money to stop human trafficking, and another booth for education/fun for the kids, teaching them about bugs and worms and dirt and solar power with all sorts of activities and games. there were live musicians (not just the guy with his guitar at the landscaping booth), and people dancing, and people selling and playing cool drums and bells, and a local organic farm sold out of their chard and kale and beets within an hour (good thing i was there to set up early or i would have missed out too! i think most of the vendors bought their stuff before the locals could even get there to shop! ha!).

and there was me! yay, me! i had my very own chair massage booth, complete with a canopy and an information table and a poster and everything. (i was also the only person there with a canopy who thought to tie it down to cinder blocks. and there were several gusts of wind yesterday which knocked over people's stands! and so folks were all like, "that's so smart to tie yours down to cinder blocks! what made you think of that?" and i was all, "um... it's common sense?" lol! i fully expect everyone to run to lowe's and buy up all the cinder blocks and rope -- so if anyone out there has a home-improvement project where you need cinder blocks and rope, you better get down there soon cuz they'll be selling out before may's market!)

i was totally and utterly nervous for this market. (those of you who follow me on facebook are well aware of this! status update: "freaking out! market tomorrow! wtf?!") several reasons for my nerves: 1. adam is out of town and i had to find a sitter for gracie. and literally EVERYONE i know was going to the market and so couldn't watch her. i finally found someone, the neighbor across the street who's been bugging me for MONTHS to watch gracie, so i approached her and said "here's your chance!" 2. how was gracie going to handle a new babysitter? i had to leave very early to set up for the market, so mom wouldn't even be there when she woke up, and dad has been out of town for several days now. is she going to freak, or will she be okay? 3. how the hell do i set up my canopy by myself? (ps: i did a practice run in my driveway a few days before and it was a good thing i did, too: the first canopy i bought was completely busted so i had to exchange it. and our good neighbor, cal, came over and taught me how to tie a knot so i could securely tie my canopy to the cinder blocks. that was something i actually DIDN'T learn in girl scouts!) 4. where was i going to set up? 5. where was i going to park? 6. what happens if i need to leave the market cuz gracie is freaking out with the babysitter? and perhaps scariest of all: 7. i am at the market to represent ME and MY BUSINESS. not a spa that i work for. not a health club that i'm promoting. not a chiropractic clinic that i'm associated with. ME. so if i screw it up somehow, or don't come across as being professional, it's MY name and MY reputation which will suffer. and it's a small enough town that people will remember. ugh...



i showed up at 7:30, completely nervous but open-minded and adventurous about it all... and several people offered their help immediately. (including my dear friend, pauline, who got up early and drove down there to help me set up, and then even went to the fancy bakery in town and got me a croissant since i didn't have any breakfast yet! thanks, p!) and by 8:00 or so, i was ready to go.

the market started out slowly, with a few people trickling in here and there, but by 10:00 it was in full swing. and it stayed busy for the rest of the day! and *I* stayed busy for the rest of the day! i was talking with adam the other day about how i would define "success" for me at the market. i said, if i could make $100, get 10 people to sign up for my mailing list, hand out 50 cards, and get someone to sign up for an appointment in my home office, i will consider it a huge success.

well. i met or surpassed ALL those goals! and even more exciting, i learned that i CAN do it! i CAN set a goal, i CAN get it done, and i CAN do it well!

i've also been thinking about how i can improve on this for next time. for example, tying my framed poster to my canopy so it doesn't blow away/fall down regularly. put my clock on the ground where i can see it and where the wind won't knock it down. get bricks to hold my signs in place. and, more importantly, team up with the other chair-massage lady (emily, who is awesome, by the way) so that we can support each other. cuz let's face it, 6 hours of chair massage in a hot parking lot in the texas summer is NOT good for you. i have a canopy (she doesn't), she has a great massage chair (mine is crap), and we're not trying to be competitive about this. so i think next time, and going forward in general, we'll share a booth: one person do the morning and one the afternoon, and we'll BOTH promote our businesses, and it'll be great.

i totally totally totally and utterly heart my new town. it's so inspiring to see so many amazing people showcasing their passions and the fruits of their labors. it's so inspiring to see a small group of people and a good idea have so much success on their very first try. it's so inspiring to feel so much love for my town (especially since we're going to be here a while...). i heart denton!

(thanks to joe for taking all these candid photos at the market -- i was too busy to walk around so it was good to be able to see what was going on! you're the best, joe!)

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