Karen Seiger, Author, Blogger, Market Enthusiast
Golly! I have written ONE THOUSAND STORIES about markets as of right this very instant.
Markets have been around for millennia, and yet we modern denizens of one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world still get excited when we come across a group of tents in a street, a schoolyard, or any normally empty space. Markets launch, expand, contract, and flourish every single year. Some will fizzle for many different reasons, but at least they tried. The very effort of putting on a market represents such optimism to me.
The markets are powerful drivers of innovation in design, food, marketing, business development, community, and commerce in the city. Here are some key statistics that I have gathered from years of visiting markets almost every weekend:
Millions of New Yorkers and tourists pass through our markets each year.
Thousands of small businesses have launched in the artisan, food, and flea markets where the investment is low and the opportunity to test the viability of a concept and build a customer base is tremendous.
As a corollary, thousands of creative New Yorkers are supporting themselves and their families by selling the things they make in markets.
Market vendors have launched hundreds of restaurants, bakeries, and bars after achieving so much success in the markets.
Dozens of successful corporate and media collaborations have developed from chance encounters in markets.
Almost 60 greenmarkets take place every week throughout New York City, supporting hundreds of regional farmers, bakers, and brewers.
Thousands of pieces of jewelry, edible delights, fashion designs, and works of art (including the one pair of Hermes shoesI go on about ) have been purchased in markets. By me.
99.9% of people who go to markets found something special and perfect for themselves or for someone they love. (The .01% wasn’t going to buy anything anyway, so phfffft.)
Finally, one perfect wedding ring handmade by a friend was purchased in a holiday market for me by my husband James.
It is extremely special to buy something directly from the person who made it, grew it, or collected it because that object inherently has a story. When someone admires my killer black dress, jaunty hat, or luscious tomatoes, I get to tell them that it was made by a friend. And then I get to tell that friend that a perfect stranger admired their work. Equally fun is seeing people in the street wearing a t-shirt or carrying a tote handmade by someone I know. Plus, everyone in my family knows I give the best gifts of all.
I’d like to thank everyone who reads my stories and everyone who has participated in them for all your energy and support. I could not be prouder to be associated with this incredible community of creative entrepreneurs. And now I’m off to start working on my next thousand stories!
I’ll see you at the markets! ♥ (This was my first posting on December 11, 2009!)
~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City