Two western Kentucky artisans whose businesses rely on farmers markets and craft shows say the crowds are smaller and events are cancelled, but they’re persisting.
Samantha Barratiere, creator of Naptime Creations and vendor for the Downtown Murray Farmers Market, said more than half of her events were cancelled this year. And during quarantine, she said she had second thoughts about continuing her business.
“I kinda thought I was a little bit crazy that I just kept making stuff through quarantine,” Barratiere said. “It’s chaos because the events that I have been to, you know, are heavily attended. People like to get out and support small businesses, so thankfully I just kinda kept my head down and kept making. But it was hard when everything was getting cancelled.”
Holidays are right around the corner and Barratiere said she's already noticed an increase in sales, and expects to see more in upcoming weeks.
“Yes, [sales] actually have increased some the last couple of weeks. I get a lot of custom orders and I do like custom signs and stuff like that and typically around Christmas time I’ll get quite a few custom orders for gifts.”
Ana Sanchez, creator of Jewels by Ana, participates in the Hopkinsville-Christian County Downtown Farmers Market and offered a different perspective on the upcoming holidays.
“People are not buying, they don’t have enough money now because a lot of people are not working, so they’re questioning where they’re spending money,” she explained. “Basically, what we’re doing is spending our money on food and paying whatever bills we have that is accumulating. So I don't know how this Christmas is gonna be. I know we won't be open.”
The Hopkinsville-Cristian County Downtown Farmers Market opening day was May 9, but Sanchez said people were still weary of the pandemic.
“Usually I only go on Saturdays. We have had a couple of customers coming in, not as much as before, but I guess everyone is staying home because of what’s going on,” Sanchez said. “We had to rearrange our setting and try to keep it sanitized as much as we could. But it’s getting better. A lot of other vendors are not coming and it’s just a few of us and it makes it harder for people to come out to the market.”
Since Sanchez started selling her products on Ebay, she said there isn’t much of a difference and her sales haven’t increased this year.
Both Barratiere and Sanchez have decided to continue their businesses regardless of current circumstances and look forward to improving their businesses next year.
Sanchez said, “I’m always gonna focus on the positive.Yes, I’m not gonna say that I’m blinded and I don’t see that we have less customers and things like that. But, like I said, if you’re not out there trying your best you're not gonna go anywhere by sitting at home moping and hoping that it will change. You're not gonna see any results. You have to be out there fighting as far as trying to sell your items if you’re an entrepreneur. Try to do everything you can to pass this situation that we’re seeing.”