Thinking about Fall and Chatting with our Designers

We’re getting closer to our 2018 Fall First Pick Market, and we are very excited about our Designer lineup this season, which we’ll start sharing interviews with over the coming weeks. To kick it all off, we first wanted to share some conversations with designers about the importance of community and connections, created through Markets like ours.

Handmade is a movement, not just an event, so while we aim to showcase high quality, handmade Fashion and Accessories, we also think about creating a space for our designers too: one where they can show the work they want to, within a more intimate space. As makers, we believe small is mighty, so our show is purposely limited to about 30 designers, creating lots of space for conversation, not only about fashion, but also the politics of fashion, design and what we can do to protect this planet we are on for all…

We are proud to host ambassadors of the Slow Fashion movement, providing a connection between the online world and handmade. The rise in online businesses and Made to Order collections make events even more important. Handmade is much more than buying and selling, as our designers explain.

Sara from Revol Girl says “Being a mainly online business, being a vendor at markets such as First Pick, it allows you to meet your new and returning customers face-to-face, really explain the product and give them some insight in the values behind the company. You have the opportunity to share your story. As well I find that despite nearly everything being online, customers still want to feel and hold a product before they make a purchase.”

“Making connections with people is essential” explains Alina from Dogwood Denim.  “Customers really want to get to know you and understand your mission with your product.  I think in general customers want to be more connected to the companies they buy from.  They want a story behind an item that makes them connect with their community and make them feel like they are part of something bigger. Plus as my business is made to measure, having a face-to-face with my customer to measure them myself and to talk about fit and style in person makes a huge difference in how the service is perceived.”

“Customer and creator interaction! Being able to talk about your products and give them the who/what/why in person makes all the difference” says Samantha from Bukuro Bag Company. “It’s gratifying to see that spark of understanding when they hear what your business is all about, and then for them to walk away with something you’ve created with a smile on their face.”


Part of why we love markets is the interaction aspect, but it also feeds into what we make as designers, creating a positive feedback loop not found through other sales avenues.

“Sometimes being an artist, we live in a bubble” explains Frances from Frances Felt. “I get to get out of my studio, see my work on real bodies, get critical feedback from all sorts of people. This keeps me moving forward as a maker. I dream of the easy on-line sale but the reality is, especially with hand crafted work, that people need to see and touch my pieces. It’s often an emotional response that the shopper is looking for when they are considering one-of-a-kind. I need to see that emotional response to keep me engaged with my clients.”

Denise from Bronsino sums it up: “For my product, which is very tactile leather, it is such a bonus for the customer to touch it. As well, I get to meet my customers first hand. They matter to me and this is one way to see them, hear their feedback, what they are doing in their lives, what it is that they are looking for – perhaps I can make a custom bag or belt for them to fit their exact need.” 

We can’t wait to see everyone at our show and chat more about handmade, so make sure you Save the Date for our Fall 2018 First Pick Handmade Market, September 15+16 at Heritage Hall.