This first blog is about Pike Place Market and my business. I am a hat-maker, crafts-person, milliner of men's and women's hats. The majority of my selling is at Pike Place Market whereby I have a stand located in the North Arcade, and am part of what is considered the daystall community. It's been 25 years that I've been there since the winter of 1995 though I've been in business since 1990.
Pike Place Market is a sprawling nine acres of merchants, farmers, produce, fishmongers, craftspeople, coffee shops, restaurants, a burlesque club, a magic shop, various ethnic grocers, herbal shops, tea shops, rummage hall, senior center and housing, childcare center, food bank, clinics, low income housing, etc. etc. New things come some old things go though many of above mentioned have made the market their home for many years, for decades. It's an amazing maze of a place, it must be, it is one of the oldest operating markets in the U.S. opening August of 1907. It is a must come, see, and experience when visiting Seattle, an absolute must!!!
My personal feeling being engrossed in the market with my business is that it is a small but a very dense village. I originally come from, born and bred, Washington, D.C. Moving to Seattle felt like moving to a small town back in the late 70's. Pike Place Market is what I imagine a small town would be like. Though the visitors coming from all parts of the country as well as the world making it hugely diverse. I've often said I'd go crazy living here if I didn't have the market! On the other hand, I sometimes think I've gone crazy being at the market!
It's a joy coming to work in the morning walking from Pike going North towards the roll call board to get my space for the day. The first thing I see is the flower stall on the corner of Pike and 1st. Then the first produce stand, rounding the corner, the second produce stand, both working hard to get their produce out and put into attractive displays, The smells of sweet things baking and coffee brewing. Depending on the time of year a sea of the most beautiful flowers and the Mung people busily organizing their buckets and getting them filled with water. Old timer crafts people setting up their stands. The craft community runs on a seniority system so #1 has been there the longest and there are at the moment I believe a bit over 200 of us. The lowest 10 or so get to set-up way earlier then the rest of us. They work out their spaces before roll call, most of them have been there for at least 30 years. I reach the roll call board where we sign in and craft-people are chatting away with one another waiting for the bell indicating roll call has begun. We are called by our names to pick our spaces by our seniority status. I sign in and go downstairs to get my cart out from the locker and join the chatting. I love the excitement and anticipation, and smells of the day beginning as I make my way through the market to my destination. The entrepreneurial spirit at work!
It's a complex place that is always going through changes: physical, political, leaderships, emotional, rules (lot's of rules), it is ever-changing and constant. New lives being born and old, sometimes not so old dying, celebrations, memorials, fund raisers, demonstrations, buskers, art, food, it's all encompassing!
Visitors from every part of the country and world! This is my comfort zone, growing up in an extremely diverse environment, the homogenized city of Seattle when I first came here was very disconcerting for me. The market felt right, somewhat what I'd grown up knowing.
I have been able to build up a customer base at the market. This is priceless to making a living, though modest, a living making a product. What I enjoy the most about my business is the connection my product has produced with my customers. I have been blessed with a gift of designing and making things people appreciate and purchase.
I started my business when my son was 2 almost 3 and needed to find something to take care of us. I was a single Mom, not a co-parenting Mom, a single Mom. Having a small daycare it was getting near time for the children to go to preschool. We were out on one of our jaunt's and while at a market it dawned on me that perhaps I could make things and make some money, that is how it all started. I started at a local market, Fremont Sunday Market in 1990, which is when this market began and is still going strong. The wonderful people who started this market started many if not most of the local markets all over the city of Seattle. If you get a chance to check it out, it's worth it!
If you are interested in seeing some of what I do you can go to my web-site at www.lidwear.com where there is a store, go to the slide tab to see some of the variety of styles. Or better yet come visit at the Pike Place Market, (check on Lid Wear facebook page for when we are there. Days vary with the seasons, less days in winter. You can like us on fb and am also on Instagram under the same name. Thank you for reading this, it is my first blog, I hope you enjoyed it.