A long overdue post, this summer, we learned about business (profit, loss, expenses, philanthropy) by participating in a Green Market at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts in Saugatuck, Michigan. It’s a weekly (we went every 3 weeks) outdoor market held for both fresh food vendors and craft items.
Months before the market, we started the process of deciding what we wanted to create. We landed on ‘peg dolls’, fair trade wool fiber cord bracelets, barrettes and organic cotton reusable market bags printed with veggies and fruits.
It was an interesting process. One of the hardest decisions we had to make was about choosing the bag. We had the option of a super inexpensive, made in China, standard cotton (environmentally, one of the dirtiest fabrics manufactured) bag, where we could sell for less and make the most money. Another option was to go to the other end of the scale (preferred by us) with an American Made organic bag. They were so expensive, that we wouldn’t make any money at all (the bags were 8 times the cost!) but would have supported American workers AND the earth. Lastly, we could split the difference and choose bags that were some of each. We decided to go, based on what we thought the market would pay and still make a few bucks, to go with the organic cotton bags made in China. Still 4 times more than non-organic bags made in the same place. A hard choice at every direction!
Everything else we made wasn’t as hard to decide on. We chose Arbor Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan as the organization where we would donate 20% of our proceeds (after expenses were paid back, of course!). They do incredible work in helping West Michigan’s homeless youth including LGBTQ with support of all kinds. It was here we learned about Corporate Matching Gifts – what we donate, a willing company matches to double the donation – That is COOL!
See what you think! We had FUN making all the crafts and learned a lot about how the Green Market works. An extra thank you to Dad for all his help setting up and taking down our booth each time we went to the market – that’s a lot of WORK!!!