We have just completed another craft market this weekend, this time the yearly Benalla 'Day in the gardens' located around the oval and rose garden, adjacent to the Benalla Art Gallery. This is the fourth year of attendance and was the first maket we started at in North East Victoria.
Always popular, following the week long Benalla festival, it was a large and well attended day enjoyed by all. It is not only a day for us to display and sell our products to customers, it is a point of social contact, and a chance to talk to other stallholders, speak with customers and possible future customers. Our conversations and discussions also inform us of how our product range is regarded, and what else we could add that complements our business.
When we started our business, our product range was small, and of necessity we had to guess somewhat the tastes of people and what they would be interested in. Now in our fourth year we have refined our range, added some new items and developed a customer base for repeat orders and custom designed wood work.
We should add at this part of our story, we have consistently attended two or three markets a month in and around Benalla, Corowa and Yarrawonga. Rain, hail or shine we have had a pretty good attendance record. Gale force winds, torrential rain, storms, the cold of winter and the heat of January summers, not much could stop us.
An unexpected direction from contacts developed at these markets is the questions of 'do we do talks?' and 'do you give demonstrations?' The short answer to this is yes we do! Starting out some years ago this was never really on our radar or list of directions we wanted to take the business in. But some of our most rewarding occasions now come through talks to local garden clubs, and demonstrations of traditional rustic wood working.
It ties in nicely with revegetation work and tree planting on our property, with about seven acres currently under revegetatiion. Our connection between the timber we use and our attempts to give back to the environment is a strongly held belief in our lives. We always attempt to link these together in our talks to some degree, they are the 'ying and yang' for us.
In the background through all of this, we have also slowly but surely been developing our online connections, and are very pleasantly surprised at the response to our online website. This is a strong and developing part of our business, one we will eagerly and diligently pursue in the immediate future.