In Conversation: The Shoppers

One of our favorite market signs saying "keep calm and cookie on."

One of our favorite market signs.

In our first conversation post, we wanted to talk about the visitors to the markets. Below you will see both our takes on what we see at different markets, what we’ve learned from them (and about them), and more!

Mom/Laurie:  Considering the fact that I never really liked to go these types of events, or markets, pretty ironic right? it has definitely been an eye-opening experience.  My primary dislike has always been the vendors that want to seriously engage anyone that comes within 15 perimeter feet of their stand.  I want to be able to covertly look at their wares, not be told what to purchase.

Daughter/ Haley: I am the same! I am definitely a shopper who doesn’t want to be sold to, I like to look around at the options but as soon as someone starts to sell to me or try and up-sale me, I immediately am in panic ‘flight’ mode. So I think that has definitely translated over to my selling style- I like to let people see what is there, uninterrupted. But I have noticed that this really isn’t possible with some customers. Just like they have needs for our cookies, customers also have needs from the vendors- some like to be told what you have, rather than reading the signs, others are like us and just want to peruse the goodies.

Mom:  Yes I agree on the fact that you have to be a bit intuitive to our customers; some need that little incentive to see what we have and they will respond immediately.  Just like me, a little information goes a long way.  I will steer clear and only give a smile and “thank-you, no” and move along to anyone that is yelling at me to come take a look.

Daughter: What I think is funny is that the name for this blog came from our first market together. I remember unpacking everything and when the flow of shoppers started, there was always one customer who tended to linger. It would start as a conversation about the cookies, and then immediately unfold to a conversation about their lives. But it kept happening!

Mom: Oh my gosh yes! and our fellow vendor, our Polish guy (named after his product! and if you’re out there we definitely owe you) nicknamed our tent because we (or perhaps just me) would just converse trying to be friendly and it would just keep on going and going… about everything!  Recent health issues, family struggles and how can you not be empathetic?

Daughter: That’s right- and it was NOT happening to other tents nearly at the rate as at ours. As an introvert, the first market was definitely a dive into the deep end- I was in one of those ‘what have I gotten myself into’ moments. Don’t get me wrong, I can be incredibly social- but it takes so much energy from me, and this was a wake up call on how anti-social I had been letting myself become.

Mom:  Well for me as well.  Although, I tend to over-do everything, and I tend to think that we need to be friends with everyone.  Before our first market, I really thought we would just set-up, sell cookies, and go home.  What was I thinking?  This is relationship selling to the core. People want to know who, what and why we do “simple” cookies, and I was totally not expecting that.

Daughter: Exactly. This whole thing is not just about selling your product, it’s about talking and getting to know the customer, ideally so they aren’t only the customer, but someone you know and ask about their life over the week since you’ve last seen them. While some vendors find ways to get around this conversation, and they’re just going through the motions- I think we both have realized that the culture of a farmer’s market is no where near going into a store or market, it is really about the people you meet, even if it is only that one time only.

Mom:  Yes, and again, totally unexpected for me for some reason.  Now, it gives us so much joy when someone comes back and we recognize them, plus remember what they tried! because we realize that this is really fun and so much more than just selling cookies.  We truly do care about people and hope, ultimately – selfishly, that they might care about us and what we are trying to start.

Daughter: I couldn’t say it better myself. This has not just been a huge learning curve in how to organize the different markets and how to sell, but also how to have a real conversation with people, which is something I’ve always been bad at, but I’m excited (and a bit scared) to be practicing.

Mom:  You’re definitely not bad at it!  but I have seen a big transition.  At first it was a necessary evil, especially to those repeat customers.  Now you are far more open and will be the first to say hello to passers’ by or someone coming to purchase.  It’s always been fun, but it is more so now because I think you’re beginning to enjoy it and even realize what an impact you can have on people.  Then when our customers want to know where you are and they have only me to deal with …  not good!

Daughter: Okay okay I think that was a bit of an overstatement… People aren’t ‘dealing’ with you Mom. Growing up, and still today, everyone I know has always loved talking with you and asks about you. But I think that this has been a learning experience for both us.

Mom:  That’s funny, really.  Thank you, but I just think that it’s so cool that people must be connecting with us, one or both, and that makes me feel really good.  Of course, I love that it’s a family thing, and am ready to continue this learning experience daughter-dear!