Mama Goes to Market

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My journey to Market

I’ve always been an expressive person. It started in grade school when I discovered two things: writing poetry and the sewing machine. The sewing came first, but at the time I didn’t really understand it for its value (or that it would take me on a journey to market). It was just an opportunity to hang out with my grandma and make clothes for my Barbie dolls. And poetry was fun because I got to rhyme words in weird ways and enter writing contests at my school. I dabbled in sketching pictures of my friends sometime in 5th grade, but we won’t dwell much on my drawing skills.

What I learned about myself at a very young age was that my means of showing the world who I was came through art. It made me feel good, pretty color fabrics made me happy, and good or bad, I was proud of the end results. At the age of 12, my grandmother introduced me to farmer’s markets and selling what I made. I started my small business journey in Lincoln, NE with hair scrunchies and hemp necklaces; I was hooked.

My child was only 10 months old when I first surrounded her with fresh produce, Amish baked goods, and handmade goods as far as the eye could see. I always looked at my oldest daughter, Octavia, as my little market buddy, dressing her in little aprons and bandanas; I even added her name to my business card; heck, I named my business after her!! Fellow vendors in southern Indiana absolutely loved her, and that made my job all that much easier. They’d take her on a stroll or bring her snacks, and every Saturday morning was like gathering for a picnic with your family. I loved it and she was such a good baby.  I have so many adorable memories.

A big move and a set of twins

In 2014, we moved to Green Bay, WI and 4 short weeks later added two more members to our family. I went from being a full time food and beverage manager to a stay at home mom of three. Mentally, I wasn’t ready for it. I needed an outlet outside of my role as a parent, and my little sewing business was my savior. Moving to an entirely new state wasn’t easy, but I dove right in finding events to sell my makes.

The following January, I discovered the Appleton Winter Farmer’s Market, and it felt so good to be “home.” Octavia was now 2, bustling around my booth and acting as a pretty great little model for my aprons and pretend play butterfly wings. She was, after all, a lot of the reason why I sold what I did. As my children grew and transitioned in to different stages, so did my business. And that simple sewing machine, combined with the weekly gathering of my fellow vendors, gave mama a sense of self with immeasurable value.

Six years of attending farmer’s markets with my oldest. On the left, Louisville, KY, 2013. On the right, Green Bay, Wi, 2019.

Mom Maker

Fast forward to today. Six years and over 500 miles span the history that is my business setting up at farmer’s markets. I still bring my kids along. Yes, its true, all three of them. And where some moms choose weekly playdates at the park or day camps or local exhibits and adventures, our weekly trip to the market is no different when it comes to outings. I find value in taking my children with me, even if it adds to the stress of getting ready or the chaos of set up. They get to see all the work that goes in to being a vendor at the market; they even help me unload my car. They get to see that all those hours at home at the sewing machine translate in to joyful customers and children beyond themselves that enjoy what I create.

They get to see Mom happy.

The fact of the matter is, motherhood doesn’t stunt our dreams. Motherhood shouldn’t keep us from expressing who we are. The moments of my day would be hard work whether I was sitting at home caring for my three girls, or holding their hands as we walk to our booth space. What’s important in these moments is my own satisfaction within them, my patience to acknowledge my circumstances and plan accordingly.

My twins are 4 and oldest is 6; pursuing this business isn’t easy. But while I commit myself to their growth and development, I equally commit myself to personal growth and satisfaction. For me, that equals weekly trips with a carload of handmade, a tent, and two tables, finished off with a backseat of three little girls. Mom deserves to enjoy summer just as much as the rest of the family. And for this family, that means Mama goes to market.

Area Markets

You can find many farmer’s markets within the Green Bay Area!!

Tuesday: Suamico Farmer’s Market from 3pm-dusk in downtown Suamico

Wednesday: Farmer’s Market on Broadway from 3pm-8pm (3pm-7pm in September)

Thursday: Titletown Night Market in the Titletown District (where you’ll find me each week!), Market on Military from 3pm-7pm, Oneida Farmer’s Market from noon-6pm, De Pere Farmer’s Market from 3pm-8pm, & Pulaski Street Market from 3pm-7pm

Saturday: Downtown Green Bay Farmer’s Market in the morning from 7am-12pm

 

What’s your favorite area Farmer’s Market??  Why do you love it?  Let us know in the comments!!  

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Stacey is a small business artist out of Sobieski, WI. Originally from Lincoln, NE, she lived in several states before settling in to the Green Bay area in 2014. The mother of 3 girls, including a set of feisty fraternal twins, Stacey values being a work at home mom and incorporating her girls in to her work life. In 2012, after spending more than 15 years in the hospitality industry, Stacey took her passion for sewing and founded Eight Trees Company , where she creates memory animals from keepsake clothing. After successfully operating as an individual business, she decided to assist and encourage others as artists and creatives, and in 2017, founded S.A.G.E. As a supportive force for the arts and artistic expression at all levels of talent, Stacey looks to also facilitate a working environment for local artists to receive the support and encouragement they need. In the fall of 2019, S.A.G.E. opened “Creative Community,” a free open studio space staffed by volunteer local artists for anyone to visit and have access to arts and craft supplies to create. In addition to her love of visual arts, Stacey has enjoyed the creativity of writing since she was a young girl. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and behavioral science, she draws inspiration in being an observer during social situations and reflecting on memories and experiences. A proponent of words, Stacey has more recently gotten back in to public speaking, taking ownership when her friends refer to her long winded tendencies as a “soap box.”