I am an entrepreneur!

Friday, August 03, 2012

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This news about your photography is so exciting! Congratulations, it sounds like you not only make money, you also share your art with the world - so cool!
    1890 days ago
    Cleaning house is not one of my priorities, either. It's still on the back burner as one of my "someday" projects.

    Congratulations on your new business -- and stay healthy!

    emoticon emoticon
    1936 days ago
    2050 days ago
    Lovely to see you blogging again. Although I live in BC, I have visited St Lawrence market - so I can picture you there. Your cards are the kind of thing I buy when on vacation to bring home. And your photos look lovely. I also like the photo of you beside your table. :-)

    As for the decluttering (why I started reading your blog years ago) don't give up. But here's an idea. I have started doing a zenhabits thing (zenhabits is a blog) - and it is change a habit a month. But he is very definite about starting small. It has worked for me for many things. The one I am working on this month is decluttering. I am doing 10 minutes a day- doesn't sound like much, bur over a month that is 300 minutes. Just a thought.

    Anyway, this blog was about your entrepreneurship - good for you! What a great thing to do in your retirement. :-)

    Irene in BC
    2050 days ago
    Good for you. emoticon

    Judy emoticon
    2051 days ago
    ALLIE I am so happy to hear from you. PENNYAN45 has a really good suggestion there with the website. I have an artist friend who sells drawings to people who use them with screen prints I will ask her for all of the details She was talking to my GD about it and I was not paying attention, I would love to buy your cards too I am sure they are mjuch more original than Hall mark HUGS ,
    Have you thought about calendars etc too? Pat
    Take care HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2051 days ago
    Congrats. I make my own cards, but they are stamped or writen on. I don't think they are good enough for a table but then we are often our own worse critic... my family think they are. lol
    So glad for you. I will have to ask my cousin who lives downtown if she has gone to that market.
    2051 days ago

    It's great to hear from you again - and to see you doing so well.

    It is not at all surprising that you are successful selling your beautiful photos.

    Now you just need to set up a website so you can sell them year-round - no matter what the weather.

    If we could buy your cards online, I'm sure your sales would triple.

    emoticon emoticon
    2051 days ago
    I live north-east to Toronto, and recognize some of your photos. I come to the market occasionally, and will look for you the next time I'm there. Good luck with your sales.
    2051 days ago
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