Way back in 2008, not long after Tiffany and I started selling our handmade soap and candles online, we realized that we needed a more consistent sales avenue - a way to meet people, get product feedback, try out new ideas, and make some money. Lucky for us, our hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee had the perfect answer: The Chattanooga Market.
The Chattanooga Market, for those of you who do not know, is a weekly open-air farmer's market / art fair / craft show / music festival / food court that showcases some of our region's best producers of locally made goods, art, food, and music. From its inception over 15 years ago, the Market has always been a place exclusively for makers and producers to come together and test out their ideas through direct sales. For us, it was the ideal proving ground for our ideas.
Even though we started with soap, candles, and lip balm, the Market gave us a place to try out new product ideas from bath salts and lotion to soda and infused honey. For seven years, we tested, sold, and refined our products into the collections that we have available today. Over the years, we have picked up and dropped dozens of products and product lines in an effort to only present our best work - work that we love and that our customers love.
About two years ago we realized that there was a world of direct sales opportunities outside of the Chattanooga Market, and so we took our show on the road. We quickly realized that, in order to be successful on a grander stage, we would need to up our game with a better display, better packaging, and a better "stage" presence. Thus began a whole new level of trial-and-error and refinement. During this time, we adjusted everything about our look: from our display furniture to the way we dressed, not being afraid to let our personalities to shine through.
It was around this time that we heard about a new sales event phenomenon: the "barn sale". And just what is a barn sale? It's a gathering of usually 20-30 artisan makers and antique pickers who come together in a barn, stable, pavilion, or event space and sell their wares in a rural setting. 2013 and 2014 saw us trying out a number of both upcoming and established barn sales including Til the Cows Come Home, The Hayloft at Port Royal, and The Strawberry Patch. We also tried our hands at artisan shows like Indie Craft Experience, Indie Craft Parade, and Made South.
After a while, we began to be noticed by bigger show organizers and in 2014 we did our first Country Living Fair in Atlanta, Georgia with our Bee in Your Bonnet Infused Honey. To say that the show was a huge success for us is an understatement. It was our biggest show ever. We were incredibly blessed to be able to be a part of a larger stage, finding new customers from every corner of the country. After another successful Atlanta fair in 2015, we decided to add the Nashville fair to our schedule in Spring of 2016.
These days we don't do as many shows. You're much more likely to see us on the road chatting with shop owners and demoing our products at gourmet stores than you are to see us selling at a retail sales event. However, from time to time in the Spring and Fall, you'll still catch us on the road. In fact, that's exactly where you'll find us later this week.
After over two years of successful Country Living Fairs in Atlanta and Nashville, we have decided to take the RogersMade Traveling Roadshow farther than we have ever traveled. We're headed to Ohio to kick off our Fall and holiday retail show season with the Columbus Country Living Fair this Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18! We'll have our entire collection on display and ready to sell to a whole new group of customers in a whole new region!
I know that it can be tricky to find us at shows nowadays since we just don't do that many anymore. However, if you ever have occasion to swing by and see us, we'd be happy to meet you, shake your hand, and tell you all about our products, our travels, and maybe even what we have coming up in the future. After all, we still rely on your feedback to keep making our products the absolute best that they can be.
We certainly hope to see you out on the road sometime!