Thoughts on fairs and bazaars

Setting up on Day 1 and packing up on the last day of any fair or bazaar can be a great deterrent for some, but I do it because of my advocacy - making handmade/locally formulated and cruelty-free goods packaged sustainably available to everyone. More than the profit (believe me, income at these events can be unpredictable!), fairs and bazaars give me an opportunity to share my advocacy face to face. I get to explain the reason behind the plastic-free packaging, the purpose of refills, the necessity of reusables, the value of natural ingredients - it's because there is no Planet B - when someone cares to listen.

It can be crazy-exhausting and disheartening - for a social introvert like me - dealing with different people, most of whom are either not familiar with or reject the idea of living plastic-free or low/zero-waste, or are plain indifferent. There are those who eye me like I'm from another planet and then there are those who say stuff like "gumagana ba talaga yan?". It also hurts when people haggle for a "better" price, not considering the time, energy, thought processes, testing, and cost of raw materials that go into producing each handmade item. Fairs and bazaars don't make a good venue for explaining these things especially when the audience is not targeted - merchants like me end up on the losing end because goers prefer to just browse then move on and not listen to what we have to say. 

It's still difficult for me to call attention to my booth like "I'm selling something-something! Would you like to try?" which I am trying my best to overcome. Currently, the most I would do is say hello and if they show interest, then I start talking. I admit, this affects sales 😅 That aside, I am slowly teaching myself to remove any prejudice I have of potential buyers because it's still Planet > Profit. Maybe they will pause and listen to me yak about glass bottles and how to use the solid shampoos, or poke around the display, maybe read the little frame of Our Story. Maybe they will purchase an item or walk on to the next booth. For a few days at least, I get the chance to show people that there is a solution to the plastic problem and that's all of us.

It will take time before sustainable goods become commonplace in mainstream bazaars, but I hope that you will find more and more of us effecting a positive change at the next one you visit.