July was a busy month for me as I started selling my photo note cards and framed photos at a market table in front of our historic St Lawrence Market, conveniently located across the intersection from my condo building. All I need to do is push my cart across the street and I am there. The table is divided in two with one half flowers and nature subjects, and the other half city streets and the Toronto skyline. It is interesting what people want to buy. My swans have been selling for wedding cards, flower photos do well, and especially the city views bought by tourists and locals alike.
I do a lot of standing which is not easy on my arthritic knees but I bought a padded folding chair and that helps when I have a chance to sit down. I go out once a week Wednesday or Thursday 9am-4pm whenever it is not too hot and no rain predicted. My best day I sold 40 cards and cleared $100 after supply expenses and the $22 table rental. My average a day so far of the five days I have done this is $65 take home, selling mostly cards but twice I sold framed photos for $45 of this city view from my condo roof.
On Friday and Saturday it is hard to get a table as most are booked for the season and are at a higher daily rate of $55, not worth it. I tried a Saturday once and the earnings came out about the same. Lots of people there on a Saturday as there is an additional farmers’ market on the north side of the street. More people are around but most just want to buy their food and go home, not stop at the vendor tables. It is quieter during the week but people have more time to stop and look and a lot of tourists are on the hop on-hop off double-decker red tourist buses. People from Denmark, Spain, Australia, France, and various U.S. states and other Canadian provinces have bought cards from me.
My worst day was this past Wednesday. It was slow in the morning and I only sold 3 cards, 3 more in the afternoon and by then the wind started to gust and my cards started flying off the table and passersby reluctantly picked them up for me. Thank goodness for the plastic sleeves protecting the cards. I gave up and packed up at 3pm. I guess I was lucky on previous days that the breeze was not strong enough to pick up my cards which I display flat on the table, some in wire plate holders, and my framed prints in larger stands or tied with bungee cord to the poles of the canvas top of the table. It was even more frustrating to me about my small earnings selling cards when I heard a vendor tell another that she made "a grand" the day before. She makes beautiful chunky necklaces with shells and semi-precious stones and pearls and other objects strung with crochet wire netting over them so they look like flotsam washed up at a beach. Gorgeous and she sell them for $85 to $135 each. I am selling the wrong product!! Oh well, hers look very fiddly and time consuming. I spend hours on the computer with my photos, but so easy to put the cards together.
No point in trying to chase cards in a wind so I looked on the Internet and found a store fixture place that sells an acrylic 3 tier table display, perfect for cards. It is 21 inches wide so I can display my cards 3 across and 3 up. That is 9 sections of cards. I ordered two of them, one for the nature side of the table and the other for my city views. Now I can group them by subject - white flowers, tulips, boats, black and white, etc. and people can see them and flip through them like they are at a Hallmark store. I can even label the sections. I will still display some of my best ones out flat in front but now I can pick them up in a wind and still have a display. I am hoping this increases my sales as it will look more professional and people going by will say “oh look, what pretty cards, and a big selection too”! That is what I hope anyway. I know I will never make a lot selling $5 cards outside at the market once a week, but it adds up and that is extra grocery and cat food money to supplement my pension. Also gets me out taking more and better photos which I do enjoy. I am planning to take more day trips in the next few months and find more subjects, like this gray jay in Algonquin Park.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I am not liking the humidity so cannot stay outside on very hot days. I am still struggling with my good intentions but continuing inaction about cleaning up my messy condo. I know one of these days I will have a breakthrough and decide this is a priorty in my life and and get it done. My weight is about the same but I am eating more fresh veggies and organics so that is something healthy.