There is a lot of work that goes into organizing each CirculateMKE market. We are committed to very specific considerations that minimizes barriers for our vendors to participate including low cost vendor fees, certain amenities and children friendly atmospheres.
We do not pretend that we aren’t a culturally diverse group of bad ass creatives who love music, fun, food and art. We develop relationships with vacant property owners and various local businesses across our city to guarantee a rich experience in mostly untapped venues that they would otherwise not likely attract our audience of entrepreneurs or shoppers or be simply closed in general.
We go through many negotiations, site visits, marketing meetings, securing necessities for business productivity and more on a long list of variables that help us to determine if a venue or collaboration fits our needs and can be welcoming to our community.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that quickly shut down the world in slow motion, small business owners and entrepreneurs were impacted differently than corporate companies who had a rush of business overwhelm them while the rest of goods and resources became inaccessible. Circulate typically has April and May markets and we know our vendors depend on our seasonal schedule to maintain consistent visibility and an opportunity to jump back in and out of marketing due to “REAL LIFE” shit!
Much like the first market, the idea came and we immediately, in a quick quick hurry, began to flush out the details. We as organizers, knew that we had to map it out for our own understanding so we could be sure to be great communicators to our vendors. Our ‘typical’ list of considerations just didn’t apply. Charting a brand new pilgrimage into the digital world for the collective good of the CirculateMKE Creative Community would take a different kind of innovation and the list started with personal phone calls, initially 5.
We are known for a well detailed layout of instructions, what to expect and marketing materials. We didn’t fail for this either. Part of the difference now is that we are asking a bit more from our vendors to participate in this virtual process. We needed a strong headshot, a quote, a confirmation for a practice round and for them to prepare for a 6-8 minute product presentation. We provided a draft script and a list of considerations as homework.
Once we got our confirmations, we sent our detailed market emails out….And there was no initial response…Crickets…. We can’t help but to think that once that email went out the whole conversation got really real for everyone.
No getting little or letting CirculateMKE work its magic and with the click of two heels a market would appear. We couldn’t do this without them being ALL IN! I get it though, it’s a big ongoing responsibility. Then… We had one of the vendors drop out. She wasn’t ready- NO WORRIES! Then I called a few more who were NOT READY! Cool, understood.
Our practice round had 2 vendors in attendance but damn was it necessary for us all and it lent a lot of insight that we were able to record and share with other 2 vendors who couldn’t make it that day. I won’t even get into how hard it was to schedule the practice round to begin with. Once this was over it was on everyone to practice and get themselves confident for our big performance day!
Thursday, April 30th comes and we lost yet ANOTHER vendor……So I’m thinking , we have three for sure strong presentations and if we as hosts stepped into the conversations a bit more than we initially planned we could probably manage any issues around flow and time.
This was only round one of an ongoing series.
We spent the morning troubleshooting technical issues learning the zoom details and refining our intentions. Followed by an exchange of texts of encouragement with the vendors; 2:50pm was here and it was show time!
My response……… complete gratitude and love. The vendors crushed it! They were awesome storytellers, educators and great product pitchers. We had an engaged audience and although there is nothing like the vibrations and synergy in a physical gathering of a CircualteMKE Market, I think we gave and received a dose of a currency that is more valuable than money.
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See you all on May 14th for the next CirculateMKE Virtual Market!
Amor y paz,