After 10 years of designing custom jewelry, last fall I launched my signature brand, Rhea Kulcsar NYC. Stepping out from years working for other fashion brands in NYC, I know how difficult it is to start a brand. But supporting myself with my line of unique handmade jewelry has always been my dream.
Determined to build my brand grassroots-style through trunk shows and art shows, Artists & Fleas was exactly the opportunity I needed to meet new customers outside of my circle. I showcased my work at the Williamsburg location during the holidays as well as in the spring. That, combined with other shows, helped me streamline my displays and product offering and perfect my sales pitch. With so many shopping options from around the world at their fingertips, I learned quickly what customers were looking for. In Williamsburg, I noticed that customers were more attracted to the permanent booths, partly due to their great displays. This makes it hard to compete as a temporary vendor, so I spent more time visualizing my display for the Chelsea Market location, sketching it out and visiting the location several times. I strategically visited during different days and hours to assess foot traffic and properly plan my staff shifts and level of inventory. Because the A&F team and fellow vendors are so amazing, I made friends and got advice on what works.
I worked at the booth for the entire two-week tenure (exhausting, I know), but it was well worth it, because I had the opportunity to physically meet 500+ potential customers and spread the word about my brand. Customers love meeting the creator and hearing their story. Customers get behind it, and that is the best thing about the Artists & Fleas shopping experience.
At Chelsea Market, it is especially busy on the weekends, as a lot of visitors are tourists. I met people from all over the world who come to snag something to show off to their friends back home or buy gifts for their loved ones. New Yorkers come out to see who is new, and truly want to shop local.
On the other hand, the Williamsburg location attracts a lot of local shoppers who are drawn to items that are made in Brooklyn and have a Brooklyn aesthetic.
My best advice:
- Stock up on everything, as you have no idea what people will buy.
- Have at least 500+ business cards, and plenty of boxes/bags.
- Hire friendly, engaging staff, because that alone will change the outcome of each day.
- Make friends with your neighbors and have fun. A good vibe always translates to success.