When Emilie Shapiro sold at our Williamsburg market many years ago, her jewelry business was just starting out. You can now find her collections at Anthropologie, Uncommon Goods, and countless retailers in the US and beyond. She recently returned to the market to launch her new book "How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line" and share advice with other jewelry entrepreneurs. We sat down with Emilie to hear about her experience at the market then and now.
In what ways was Artists & Fleas a beneficial experience when you were starting your jewelry business?
Artists & Fleas was a huge springboard for my business and me. Selling at a retail market is basically market research - you get tons of feedback from customers as they are touching and trying on your pieces, and hear what else they wish you had. The biggest benefit I gained from my first weekend at A&F was a deadline. I gave myself the deadline to get a certain number of pieces made, a website updated and running, business cards printed, etc. A business without a deadline is just a dream.
Did you meet any notable people when you sold at the market?
I've made some lifelong friends from my early days at A&F. You meet a ton of vendors who are a huge support systems and give you great feedback about aspects to try out in your business. I also have customers who still buy jewelry from me that I met there.
Any specific recommendations for first-timers thinking of selling at A&F?
Do your homework! Go walk the market to see who else is selling and if you could see your stuff being a good fit. Display is really important - walk the market to see how other people are displaying their work. Make sure you have business cards, postcards, price tags on your pieces, packaging, etc.
How did it feel to be back at the market years later?
A little trippy! It felt familiar and comforting to be back. I don't do many retail markets now as I focus mainly on wholesale to other stores. It was great to see people look at my full collection and get feedback on things. I will definitely be back soon.