Sidenote: I opened a new little shop if you are interested click here.
I really enjoyed my first craft show*, I met so many talented creatives. It was great to see how people responded to my jewelry. One trending thing in my life that I really enjoyed at the show was BARTERING! At the end of Art Shop I got to run around and trade goods with a bunch of the vendors. I swapped jewelry for hand screen printed linen napkins from Lauren Rossi’s Boutique Textiles, ceramic Christmas ornaments from Lauren Stichter, reclaimed wood candle holders from Jenna and Jeremy Avellino of Bright Common, the most amazing calendar from Will Stichter, and soaps and things from a couple more lovely ladies. It allowed me to cross some presents off my Christmas list with items made by wonderful artisans.
I’ve been bartering in other areas of my life too! I just made my first trade on instagram with another ceramicist. We are swapping hand made necklaces, I mailed her package out today and I can not wait to receive the necklace from her.
I am most excited about a trade that I am working on with a close friend. I am making a bunch of little ceramic creations that she will be giving as a gift in exchange for a hand woven rug!
I remember reading a story a couple years ago about the coolest woman ever and her bartering idea. Her name is Malin Elmlid from Berlin and she started something called The Bread Exchange. Basically she started by baking bread with high quality ingredients and wild fermented starter that took a really long time to make. She had more bread than she needed so she ended up giving it away, and naturally people started giving her things in return. She then started a facebook group and would trade this special bread for things like fresh eggs from someone’s back yard, a good book, or a guitar lesson. Things that people have, that might not be super valuable to them, but could be very valuable to someone else. She doesn’t use money because her bread would end up being too expensive to sell. The starter can take days to make, her ingredients are of the highest quality, and she even sets her alarm to keep her vigilant throughout the whole process. Malin was more curious about the project than the profit. I love the subtitle of The Bread Exchange, “some things cannot be bought”.
I hope to continue these little trades with my work, and I hope to figure out a way to get more people involved the way that Malin did.
Do you have any experience with bartering? I would love to hear your story.
*The only other craft show that I have participated in was when I was 12 in a trailer park in rural Delaware, and I don’t think I sold anything so we’ll say that this was my first craft show.