Don't worry if you do not see your confirmed month! With the launch of The Makery, there have been some exceptions made in order to accommodate the schedules of new Makers. Please continue with your registration and then contact The Makery immediately to confirm your starting month. Even after the grand opening, occassionally Makers may be able to start a lease outside one of the quarterly lease terms at a prorated rate due to unforeseen circumstances of other registered Makers.
Please remember Makers are responsible for adherring to set-up, maintenance, re-stocking, and dismantleing requirements and deadlines in accordance with the terms of the Maker Agreement, unless otherwise stated in writing by The Makery. If you foresee issues with being able to do so, please choose the option above to start later and contact The Makery after completely your registration to discuss an alternate start month for your lease. Availability is not guaranteed.
If you chose to start your lease in a later month than previously confirmed by The Makery, please continue with your registration and then contact The Makery to discuss availability. Occassionally you may be able to start your lease outside one of the quarterly lease terms at a prorated rate due to vacancies.
If you chose to start your lease in an earlier month than previously confirmed by The Makery, please continue with your registration and then contact The Makery immediately to discuss availability. There is no guarantee that you will be able to start your lease sooner than planned, but The Makery will make every effort to accommodate the requests of previously approved Makers. Occassionally you may be able to start your lease outside one of the quarterly lease terms at a prorated rate due to vacancies.
Hi! Have a quick sec?
Before you get settled in to write this profile and all of the reflection and analysis that will go into that process, I just wanted to drop you a little note and hopefully some of my enthusiasm will rub off on you if it hasn't already! :) I figure it's only fair that I provide you with a history and profile if I'm requesting it of you!
Nice to meet you!
My name is Jennifer, owner of Hatchling Design Studio, Hoot & Oscar, and now...The Makery! I'm 30 years old and grew up right here in the Princeton areaâ€"in the country thoughâ€"I'm definitely not a city girl! If you are here filling out this registration form, it is pretty much a guarantee that we have already had some great conversation, planning sessions and maybe even brainstormed some merchandising plans or new products! I cannot tell you how excited and honored I am that you have believed in my vision for The Makery, the first handmade market in the Princeton and surrounding area, and chosen to join us as a Maker! I cannot wait to get to know each of you better and watch our collaboration come to life!
The fuel in my fire:
I have probably already explained to a few of you what drives my desire to open this market. I have been self-employed for 8+ years doing graphic & web design from home and just 4 years ago decided to make use of my crafty and artistic skills (most of which were cultivated in years and years of 4-H thanks to my Mom! There was no project, medium, process, or talent she couldn't pass on to us, or even learn alongside us if it was something new.) I found myself burnt out on designing projects for others and realized what I REALLY wanted to be doing was utilizing those design skills to further my own projects. So...after attending an annual weekend craft show in WI with a bunch of my favorite female relatives and coming home more motivated and inspired than ever, I came home and bit the bullet! Oscar, my random gift shop find on the way home that weekend (he's a bizarre, slightly crazed, stuffed owl) was my mascot (hence Hoot & Oscar...but that's a story for another day!). He kept a close eye on me as I carefully planned out and made my first official product for sale: the Quote Me On That Drawer. To this day, it is still my favorite item and it's easy to get lost in the process as I inevitably end up reading and re-reading the same deck of 365 quotes as I print, cut, sort, stack and package. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time, right? :)
The fire got a little too hot...
After that first project I was inspired and proceeded to do 11 craft shows (many of them 2-day affairs) in just 3.5 months! Sounds crazy even now! I was very fortunate to do well at those shows and was pleasantly surprised and honored by the great feedback I received from fans! While that was such an awesome feeling, I was EXHAUSTED after that fall season that quickly escalated into an overwhelming amount of holiday orders andâ€"I doubt you'll be surpised to hear thisâ€"I didn't even make a single thing until the following holiday season a full year laterâ€“didn't even go in my craft room, avoided scissors and tape and ribbon like the plague!! I loved what I was doing during those 3 months and realized that I could really make a go of it, but unfortunately had just burnt myself out.
Down to the embers
Over the course of that next anti-craft year, i got the occassional order on Etsy (like 1 every few months...no joke, that's it!) despite the fact that I could sell out my jam-packed booth in a matter of hours at a busy show! And I was constantly running into fans and friends who always wanted to know what show I'd be at next, yet I couldn't fathom the craziness that would surely ensue if I committed to that again. At that point I knew that I needed a permanent outlet to sell my items to the public—face to face—where they could connect with each item, and with me. I truly believe when it comes to handcrafted items that the artist is passionate about and the customer has the opportunity to hold that item in their hands and maybe even discuss that passion and creative process with the artist, that inevitably that is what fosters the sale and begins a wonderful relationship, many of which have become friends!
Stoking the coals
Over the next 2.5 years, I sought out every single available retail space I could find in the hopes that one of them would eventually fulfill my dream of opening a brick and mortar shop. I cannot even tell you how many hundreds—or probably more accurately thousands—of hours I invested into research, planning, meetings, travel, brainstorming, listening to advice, etc! And you know what...each and every prospect eventually failed, one after the next, over and over for 2.5 years! Some I invested only a matter of weeks in and a few as long as 6 months. Nothing worked out. I tried selling on consignment at a few local shops, but found that between crazy high consignment fees that basically reduced my profit to next to nothing and the hassle of dealing with store owners who's primary concern was not managing, selling, or even tracking the sales of my inventory, that consignment was not an option that would work for me either. I considered wholesale, but was overwhelmed with the process of creating a catalog, establishing pricing, packaging and shipping methods for bulk orders, finding a rep, etc and could not find one who's commission fees didn't eat up my profit. I still stuck with the goal of one day opening my own shop. At 27 years old, most people just shrugged off my frustrations using my age as a reason to give up for now and try again when I was older. Banks were not my friend. With local lendors rarely loaning any money out to even older, more established customers, they certainly weren't willing to give any to me without a minimum of 30% to put down on a commercial purchase! (I wish I had $30,000 in the bank, but no such luck! LOL) So anyways, I went back to the drawing board more times than I cared to remember!
Things started to heat back up!
About 4 months ago when I first learned of the renovations being done to the historic hotel (the original proposed site for the market) I jumped on the opportunity to speak to the owners! As it turned out, the space seemed great, the owners were extremely nice and encouraging and I started making serious plans to open up Hoot & Oscar that would live in the main retail space while also including a design office and meeting area for clients and a workshop in the back for production of Hoot & Oscar items in the back. Despite my best laid plans, I knew that financially it was going to be a stretch to do alone. I spent hours and hours crunching numbers and creating best case, worst case, middle ground scenarios to see if i'd be able to swing it depending on what life might throw my way. Over the past few tough years, I just kept telling myself that if I planned hard enough and did my best to be objective and thorough and realistic, that eventually everything would fall into place so I just kept my chin up despite the nagging worry in the back of my mind and kept on planning.
And cue the spark!
One day as I drove past the hotel, for probably the 3rd time that day, I said to myself, "I've always thought it would be awesome to have a place to buy stuff like mine year-round and not just in the summer and fall at sporadic craft shows—like an antique mall setup, but with strictly handmade items. Everyone is always saying they wish the same thing. Why couldn't I put one in the hotel with me? Instead of trying to take on the entire space by myself, wouldn't it be great if I could give someone else the chance I've never had...? That would have been an amazing opportunity 2.5 years ago....I think I'll do just that!" And so the idea of the market was officially born!
Just a slight shift in the wind
Now, as all of you know, the hotel did not end up working out as the location for The Makery. Obviously I was disappointed and feeling pretty defeated when I realized 2 days before signing the lease that a whole host of issues had come up that lead to a modified lease, higher rent, more funds needed for buildout and renovation, etc, etc. These issues pertained to everything from handicap requirements to asbestos, to zoning and permit issues. All of these issues would not only have cost me extra money out of pocket that I just didn't have (and would have been forced to increase booth rent to offset), but forecasted a whole slew of possible issues down the road with more construction, being temporarily closed for business and even safety & health issues. I couldn't put The Makery in a position like that—teetering on the edge of a precipice and crossing my fingers that we didn't all go down with it!
Back to feeding the flames!
I cannot wait to finish the transformation of the market space so all of you can come see for yourselves! While it was a tough decision to make, I knew it was the right one both for me and the market (a.k.a. all of you!) and I still believe it was the right one because another building that's even better had time to wiggle it's way unexpectedly into my plans and couldn't be more perfect—full of charm and character, in a prime location on Main Street with lots of car and foot traffic, surrounded by tons of great shops and restaurants, and without all the headache and potential failure that seemed likely had I chosen in that moment to sign the lease for the hotel. All of the reasons why I wanted to create the market were the same reasons why I had to pass on the hotel—most important of them being that I want all of us to be successful!
Which brings me to my last point...(I promise! haha) Those of you who don't already know me all that well will soon find that I am rarely at a loss for words :) There are 2 main goals of The Makery: 1) Bring an amazing and unique collection of carefully selected, high-quality, handcrafted items to the Illinois Valley...a category that most rarely have access to. 2) Provide an opportunity, location, and resources for talented handcrafters to reach out to the public and grow their fan base 7 days a week, all year long to encourage growth & expansion, creativity and brand awareness.In order to be successful with these two endeavors, it is the primary goal at The Makery to collect as much detailed, creative, quirky, interesting information from our Makers as possible so that, in turn, we can distribute those tidbits to our customer base via a variety of outlets! Every person that reads your profile, or sees mention of your shop could be your next big sale and biggest fan! Take this from a fellow handcrafter herself, there is nothing better than being able to make and sell products you love and pass along those items to someone who truly feels a connection with the item and has an appreciation for the passion and energy that went into its creation.! It is encouraging when you are commended on your product ideation. It is flattering when you are praised for your craftsmanship and execution of the finished product. It is humbling when a customer spends their own, hard earned money to be able to take one (or many!) of your items home with them. And it is a proud moment when you overhear someone raving about your shop or see someone strolling down the sidewalk wearing your scarf!
So....feel free to include as little or as much information as you'd like, but The Makery encourages you to be as thorough and thoughtful with your profile as possible! All of the information in this profile section will be used on the website in your Maker profile, shared on facebook and other social media outlets and may even make it into print adverisements as well! I hope to be able to create an environment at The Makery where each and every Maker can experience those feelings of success!
Thanks again for becoming a Maker and joining our wonderful handmade market!
In order to complete your registration to be a Maker, previous confirmation of booth assignment and size is required. Please call The Makery at 815-878-1918 or email support at email@example.com for more information. We'd be happy to do what we can to help you become a Maker!