I have now had three Sundays as a vendor at Eastern Market and I'm really enjoying it. Here's what I have learned so far.
1. It's not Fenton Street. Eastern Market has been around a long time; Fenton Street only for a few years. As a result, everyone is sort of new at Fenton Street, but the Eastern Market vendors tend to be long-timers, with some of them vending regularly for 10 or even 20 years. It's kind of like being the new kid in school, where people have to size you up before they decide whether you can play with them at recess. So far, though, the playground has been a pretty friendly place.
2. People expect you to be there regularly. This follows on to #1. People don't want to hear about your fantastic newsletter -- they expect you to be out there on a regular basis with the stuff they want. I can do regular, but don't look for me in cold January and colder February.
3. You can eat your earnings very quickly. I'm looking at you, Pie Lady, and you, Indigo, in particular.
4. Half-spaces are fantastic. One table of dolls doesn't have to take up a whole 10x10 space. Eastern Market allows you to share a traditional space with another vendor, which cuts costs with little impact on display.
5. Lots of little girls are out with their parents, and they have doll radar. I can hear them coming before I see them. "Mommy, there's dolls!" "Daddy, let's look at the dolls!" I always feel a little guilty at first, like I actively enticed them to my table, but then the feeling passes.
6. Barry Margeson and Katrina Cuffey are doing a great job. Since the market is run by the city, city employees are responsible for its smooth operation. City government doesn't always work so well here, but I appreciate Barry and Katrina's efforts to maintain the high quality everyone expects from Eastern Market.