The Ridgewood Market has a very special place in my heart. It's where I met my wife. I was sitting at my table at the market when this very confident woman (my now wife) came up to me to say hello. She offered me a piece of cake from one of the food vendors, I accepted and we ended up chatting for entire day. Before she left she wrote her phone number on my email list. We've been together ever since.
The Ridgewood Market is not only a special craft market for me, but it has become quiet the social hub in Queens, New York. It is putting Ridgewood on the map, competing with Long Island City and Astoria. It's the place to go to find affordable handmade works by local artists and designers. You'll also find great food, local honey and even spices. Yes, spices! Sabba's Spicery has become a household name for us.
This week on B-Diary, I wanted to share an interview with the mastermind who dreamed up the Ridgewood Market and made it happen, Sarah Feldmen. Learn about what inspired her to start her business, what hurdles she overcame, and the advice she offers young entrepreneurs:
Tell us about your background.
I was born in Houston, Texas. When I graduated from high school, I moved to New York City to study at Parsons The New School of Design.
After graduating from college, I met my fiancé, Neil Myers. Because he lived in Ridgewood, I had the opportunity to find an apartment in the area. I fell in love with the community and culture.
In 2012 I had a job in retail and did not want to venture far out of the neighborhood to find things to do. So I set up Ridgewood Social. It was an online site that was created as a way to meet people and find things to do locally. Ridgewood Social went from just being an events page to a major source of positive community news in the area.
I then went on to create another local project in 2013: The Ridgewood Market. The market is an artisan market in the neighborhood. It is located in the German Beer Hall, Gottscheer Hall. The market helps support the beer hall, over 40 local artisans, and helps over 500 monthly customers find affordable handmade merchandise. We will have our two year anniversary on April 11th 2015.
(A little awesome side note, the market brought in over 700 visitors on its 2nd anniversary.)
What inspired you to start the Ridgewood Market?
Back in December of 2012, I was selling my jewelry at a regular flea market in Ridgewood. A few artistic vendors and I came to the realization that we needed something more. We needed a place away from resold, mass produced items. Those types of goods are really hard to compete with, without lowering your prices on your handmade products.
What were some of the hurdles you had to overcome?
I had no idea I had to draft up proposals, make sponsorship packages, or post ads in local papers. We have an actual application process vendors have to go through and we curate vendors for our upcoming markets. I have to go through hundreds of emails each month.
What are some the most reward parts of running the market?
Our market has a personable approach with a close-knit, diverse, artisan community. All our vendors know my name. I find in this digital age human contact or the feeling you are talking to another person is very important. Our vendors have created a sort of six degree separation in our neighborhood and elsewhere in the Queens and New York City area. Our event not only helps vendors with their business, but also with networking.
What advice would you like to offer to young entrepreneurs?
Learn the power of saying "no" if you are being stretched thin and never be afraid to ask people for a favor.
How can vendors apply to the Ridgewood Market?
Sign up for our waiting list: www.ridgewoodmarket.com/sell-here
Thank you Sarah for all of your hard work! Also, thank you for sharing your story and your photos.
The Next Ridgewood Market will be on Sunday May, 3, 2015 at the Gottscher Hall, 657 Fairview Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385. Visit www.ridgewoodmarket.com for more information. Hope to see you there!