Facet welcomes back Juli McCarthy, the owner of Mockingbird Studio, to share with us her experience as a vendor selling jewelry at a Renaissance Faire. Be sure to check out Part One, 16th Century Business in the 21st Century, where she explains the ins and outs of actually becoming a vendor.
As I mentioned, for patrons, a day at the Renaissance Faire is a day of fantasy and escape from the mundane; a chance to go back in time and explore the history of the era without having to actually contract the plague. They can enjoy the music, comedy, adventure, and theater; the food and drink; and shop 'til they drop. But before the opening day cannons go off, the bells start ringing, and the shout of "OPEN WIDE THE GATES" echoes through the faire site, a cast and crew of several hundred people has been hard at work for months. For those of us who make and sell handcrafted items at faires, it can be a full-time, year-round job.
Renaissance Faire patrons come from all walks of life, but they are all looking for a day of fun. As a merchant, you can go one of two ways: you can simply run your business and sell your work, or you can jump in to the spirit of things. When a patron enters your shop, they are essentially turning their backs on the entertainment. If you can help them to continue the fun within the confines of your shop, you keep the boundary between fun and business blurry, and become part of the show. In my experience, patrons prefer this approach. They paid a lot of money to come to the faire today, and they came to play. So play!