Monday morning and I’m still in awe of the beautiful displays, creative talent, and the goodhearted helpfulness of the vendors at this year’s Queen Bee French Flea Market. A year ago I attended as a shopper. It was the first year of the event that was sponsored by The Queen Bee Art Cottage and Courtyard Antiques of Olympia, Washington. I was smitten with everything I saw that day and longed to be a part of it all! When I saw a sign up sheet to participate in the next year’s market I thought, “Why not?” It couldn’t hurt to sign up for the information.
As the year went on I plugged away at my projects, blogging about them along the way. I pushed the thought of being a market vendor to the back of my mind because I didn’t know if I would really get to the point of being brave enough to actually do it. But months later, when I received my first email about the upcoming event I decided to go for it. I asked my beautiful and talented friend Linda if she’d be interested in sharing booth space with me (I’m SO thankful I did) and we got to work.
So last Saturday was the one-day market and it was a whirlwind experience! I love being creative. It is my release. To slip away to my garage and lovingly work on a piece of old furniture, bringing out new beauty, fills me with joy. The two weeks leading up to the market though were CRRR . . . AZY!!! Working night and day trying to finish my projects, attempting to figure out in my head how we would set things up, what props would be needed, how we would place them in our 12 x 12 space, what tools we’d need to bring along, the lighting, who was going to lift the heavy stuff for us, etc., etc., etc. For those of you who’ve done this before you know what I mean. More on how all of that worked out later. Let me take you in to The Queen Bee French Flea Market for a peek at the AMAZING shopping experience it was . . . just like walking into a Paris Market . . . (FYI, I kinda rushed through these pictures because I couldn’t leave my booth for very long, so I’m sorry for the less than stellar quality).
I can’t possibly show you every vendor so here are a few pictures of each of my market “neighbors”. Poppy & Co. has a wonderful storefront shop in Tacoma, Washington. This is only a peek of what you’ll find there.
If you’ve never been shopping in Snohomish, Washington you’ve gotta go! That’s where Faded Elegance is located. We’re talking a girl’s overnight there soon.
Forget Me Not is a local Olympia, Washington store and one of my favorite places to browse on a dreary Washington day. The warmth of their store is reflected in their booth at the market.
Next is Flippin’ Cute Stuff. This was Lisa’s first market experience also and she is hoping to begin selling in the retail market soon. I definitely think she’s ready, don’t you?
Her entire store was set up to look like you were walking into a bedroom. The “bed” was two tables covered in bedding. Everything she has created is so lovely.
One more local Olympia shop you’ll love is Tattered Treasures.
Last of all, here are some pictures of our booth. To be completely honest, during the set up on Friday I felt a bit overwhelmed by of the quality of merchandise I saw coming into this market. There were a lot of dealers with “real” stores and real experience. My workshop is my kitchen counter and almost everything in our shop was handmade. In spite of that I don’t think it turned out too badly.
My banner above . . . and some close ups of our shop’s wares below . . .
That’s Linda on the left and Moi on the right, all dressed up in our Frenchy finery so that we could haul boxes, lift heavy furniture, scuttle under tables with extension cords . . . and look pretty for the shoppers! I think my hair is sticking to my head with sweat here!
At the end of the day my body was exhausted but my spirit soared. It wasn’t because I made a pile of money, although we did do well, but because of the goodness of people who supported this dream of mine. During the months leading up to the market I had friends who would stop by just to see what I was working on and cheer me on. I had fellow bloggers sending encouraging words. The week before market two friends of mine (a husband and wife duo) offered a whole day out of their own very busy lives to help with anything I needed. You better bet I took them up on their offer while at the same time thinking, “Who does that?”
I’m a wife and a mom who has always served my family, I’ve run a daycare out of my home when my kids were small and then I worked in the health care field for years. I serve, but I’m not used to being served, and I must admit that it is a little hard for me to accept . . . but I’m learning. The day before the event I had friends texting me, one even offering to bring over a nutritious lunch! My husband had to work so he wasn’t available to help (oh, but he did help because he encouraged me all year long and provided the funds needed to fund this creativity of mine). Linda’s family (Rob, Josh & Autumn) really stepped up to the plate, loading trucks, hauling the heavy stuff, climbing up into precarious places to hang lighting, banners, etc. By the time our set up was complete I couldn’t even look at our booth anymore without being totally critical. That’s when my friend Deanna came to do some fine tuning. That’s what she does professionally and she is really good at it. During the event many friends came by to visit and show their support, even offering helping hands as they saw the need.
As I shared this story yesterday two people said to me, “That’s what family does.” But my family lives far away . . . and my husband works a job with long hours, and that isn’t at all flexible . . . so much of the time I really am on my own. So what family??? This is the family that God has put into my life. We all go to different churches but we hear the same message to encourage, serve and help others in need. Need? I’m not impoverished or ill. I didn’t really NEED to be involved in this market . . . but I really, really wanted to be. So was this really a need? I guess it appeared that way to my friends. It was a dream and they wanted to help me see my dream fulfilled. Even as I write this there are tears in my eyes. There are many lessons for me to ponder here. I know for certain that I am BLESSED.
So what’s next? Do I want to start doing the market circuit? Oh no, not me. We begin teaching Freedom Session again at the end of the month and that is the biggest priority in my life, as my husband and I get to be a part of seeing people’s lives renewed. Old Things New, is not just for furniture you know! So for now I will continue blogging, creating, and doing a show here and there as I’m able. I do hope I can be a part of The Queen Bee’s French Flea again next year. It was a blast!
Blessings to you my dear readers,
VMG206, Hickory Trail, BeBetsy,TuesdaysAtOurHome, ADiamondInTheStuff