What if? The Story of the TroubleMAKER Market coming back Sept. 18th
Why in the holy hellfire would I decide that on top of making everything I sell, selling everything I make AND sharing every process on social media, I should create a seasonal art & craft market, A TroubleMAKER Market no less?!? This is an excellent question, and yes, there are times when I too ask myself why I keep taking on more, and more and more.
It boiled down to the fact that what inherently drives me is filling a void in my perceived world. I know not everyone is like me, I mean, you would be exhausted, but I do tend to notice that when I speak up against some element that is missing in the marketplace people around me tend to agree. The difference is that those people go about drinking their coffee or cocktail, and I grab the napkin and start drawing out a business plan.
Yes, almost all my businesses have started on various napkins. I should have saved them all and worked them into a mixed media art piece called “Filling the Void”. Damn. Well, I missed that boat.
To see what I am talking about you need only to look on my FB page at places I have worked. They are all my companies. All born out of something I wanted but could not find.
We can start with Pink House Post. Did you know I was a video editor in San Francisco for 15 years? I worked as an unpaid intern (that’s how you got a job back then people) and then worked for Bank of America, Oracle, PBS, Discovery Channel and A&E. I LOVED telling stories. I did not LOVE working in these testosterones driven competitive editing houses. The misogyny was as rampant as leftover Chinese food cartons. Nobody went outside. Taking a break was a dereliction in duties and you only got a job if you happened to be in the lobby when the producer was desperate for an editor to start tomorrow! We used to literally hang out in production houses even if we didn’t have jobs that day so we could make sure to be the chosen one.
I could not seem to schmooze my way up the hierarchy of editors. Honestly in SF, you were IN if you were male or a lesbian. Don’t throw hate at me. I’m trying to be a documentary editor in SF and I was a minority in my field. I needed male privilege or LGBTQ inclusion and I didn’t really have either. So, I saved, I got a job working on a now cult children’s show called Adventures with KangaRoddy, produced by stars of the 49ers, their wives and Pat Morita??? Look it up.
Crazy, I know but they were paying a fortune for editing time and I saw an opening. I purchased my own AVID editing system and worked out a deal where I would edit from my home studio and share shifts with other editors. I converted the back of my garage that opened out into my garden and over the next 5 years I rented out other studios and became Pink House Post. You can take a wild guess what color my house was my friends.
Editors loved the quiet and the chance to take breaks in the garden and I realized that I loved creating the space for people but I wanted more. I still never got my break into documentary editing, but I did start learning about being an entrepreneur. I was the boss babe and work came to me because I built it. It just wasn't always the want the work I wanted.
Fast Forward a few years and I have babies. 2 babies. 2 beautiful rambunctious babes who could not hold still while mommy had coffee time with her friends at Starbucks. Oh no, I see a void coming…What if there was a place where Momma’s could connect with other mommas, babies could play with other babies and everyone was welcome. I could not stop myself. I turned an old movie rental space into a full-fledged Play Café called Tumble & Tea. Our slogan was “When Momma’s Happy, Everybody’s Happy. Make the World a Happy Place.” My daughter still wears my old t-shirt with that on it. I love it. After a partnership dissolution, I reinvented it as SadieDey’s Cafe and was very proud of the haven I created for the young families of Oakland, CA. Some of whom still reach out and tell me how their grown-up kids are doing
Fast forward again and my new entrepreneurial endeavor had to do with filling my own void. A void of furniture in my new home after a traumatic exodus from my beloved California (insert dot com bust, recession and husband job loss here).
As you know if you follow my journeys, thank you for following my journeys btw, Tanglewood Works was born. 5 years later by a mishap of FB, Tanglewood Sue was born and the rest is history in the making.
Now that my hierarchy of needs were met I had time to see what I was still missing. Inspiration! That’s what was missing. Off to the markets I went. Art on the Avenue, the H Street Festival, the Takoma Park Street Festival, Eastern Market (where I started my biz) and so many more.
I loved all these markets. I patronized and showed my work at many of these markets, but as I got more into my art I got less and less inspired at these events. I would spend the day and find maybe one or two handmade artists who were really pushing boundaries and doing something I had not seen before.
I’m not saying there was not a lot of amazing artistry and there still is, but I started realizing that what is more palatable to the masses is what sells the most. What sells the most gets into the markets. Artists who are what I like to call “Troublemakers” either don’t get accepted into these markets or do get in and spend the whole day getting outsold by the gal next to them selling “Grateful” signs. (ok that was me…)
There is nothing wrong with “Grateful” signs painted on barnwood. We should be grateful for grateful signs but I can see that anywhere and everywhere from Pinterest to TJ Maxx to Michael’s and back again.
Now right about now you might be saying, “But Sue, I mean what about an actual art fair?” Sure. I hear you, but my experience at art fairs is rather similar. What is attainable and understandable and matches the couch sells. So you get 100 booths of art to match your couch.
I know what it’s like to be so proud of all my wildly painted furniture and then pack it all up again in tears at the end of the show while “shades of grey” girl in the booth next door sold out!
(This piece was custom created for a local Client)
So my thought is that the market attracts what the market offers. If the market offers couch matching art then the patrons have a swatch of their couch fabric in their purse.
But WHAT IF? What if we had a market of misfits. We gathered everyone who lost out to ordinary over and over again. We gathered them together to create a new patronage magnet.
What if People like me, turned on by unique and wild and colorful and different, sought this kind of market?
Well we won’t know if we don’t try now will we. Sure, my business sense is that if you gather everyone who does not sell well at mainstream markets, you will have the most abysmal sales day ever.
But my heart said, "NO! Bound together we will attract a new and select following."
Guess what? It worked! Our inaugural “TanglewoodSue TroubleMAKER Market” was a success. It was steady and mighty. We sold naked clown paintings on velvet, chainmail jewelry, crocheted hanging plants, sparkly painted couches, upcycled anime and tons of paint supplies to get you ready to be showcased at our next market.
So now we are at it again. We’ve added wild vintage clothes (cause we used to dress more fun), creative ceramics, painted leather furniture, and tons of upcycled art.
This one is Sept. 18th from 11-4 at 3613 Oak Lane in Mt. Rainier.
We Have 8 Troublemakers lined up for you to enjoy and we are always actively seeking new Troublemakers to join the lineup.
Fill this out if you want to be considered for future markets.
Keep in mind that everything must be made by you, no imported goods and we will want to hear why you are in fact a Troublemaker.
So mark your calendars. Free your mind of all that has come before and come ready to embrace something you've never seen before.
Buy some Local art.
ENjoy and Free Demo by Tanglewood Sue
Grab some new kinds of art supplies
Learn to upcycle
Meet your local artisans
See you there!
Here's a sneak peek at new items that will be for sale!
Neons By Anissa, our whole new paint offering that we will be demo'ing at the market.
as well as new art and furniture that will be available too!
My first Dahlia my Darling 12x12 by Tanglewood Sue $145.00