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Tuesday
Jul012008

Sweet Ups and Down Lows: Lessons Learned at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn

Renegade Craft Fair, Brooklyn, NY
As many of you know, Cakespy recently went on the road--our own Head Spy Jessie went to Brooklyn, New York to vend Cakespy artwork, tees, notecards and more at the Renegade Craft Fair, a highly regarded indie craft and design fair. However, we're far from professionals: it was first time we'd ever done a fair like this, and as such there were naturally definite highs and lows--and some serious lessons learned. And so, in no particular order, here are some of the things we learned, both negative and positive:


Cupcake from Kumquat Cupcakery, BrooklynI love Bored, Inc. So much it hurts
People are awesome!: It was a veritable who's who of bloggers, artists, writers and cool dudes who stopped by the Cakespy booth--including (but not limited to!) Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake (who brought us wonderful cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery, and did a video interview--check it out here); Robyn from Serious Eats and The Girl Who Ate Everything; Ann and Jack from Redacted Recipes; the cool girls from Bored, Inc.; illustrator Julia Rothman; Grace from Design*Sponge; illustrator David Miller; cool Cakespy customer Kimberly from Staten Island; and so, so many more.
My booth, complete with Mosquito net, Renegade Craft Fair, BrooklynAll that was left of the Canopy after the Rain 
Always be prepared for rain (or, don't buy the cheap canopy): When we saw that there was a steep added fee to rent a canopy for the fair, we figured "Pshaw, we'll get the cheaper one...it won't rain!". Well, it did rain--poured, in fact--and our canopy was flat-out destroyed (see above for "before" and "after" pictures). Major thanks to the two kind souls who helped us hold it up in the rain while we frantically packed up our merchandise in plastic, and to the forgiving customers who came back after the storm and bought stuff anyway!

People are Strange: One response to the Cakespy booth? "I like pie better than cake. In fact, I have always preferred pie, even in the womb. I was a pie-gote (ie, a pie-zygote)." You know what though? He still bought a tee shirt. So maybe strange but awesome.

Scone, Balthazar, NYCBalthazar doesn't suck: Would you believe that we'd never tried super-famous Balthazar's goodies before this trip? We'd always kind of found them snobby from afar and never given them a fair chance. But we finally broke down with one of their scones, and were pleasantly surprised: this baby was buttery, moist, crumbly and...well, pretty good. 

Don't go for another round: When going for drinks the night before the fair starts, reject the urge to have one final round. Trust us. But if you do, at least in your carbohydrate-starved state the next morning, you can feel comforted by the fact that...

New York Bagels really are the best: They say it's the water, but in our opinion even a Seattle bakery which imported a NY-style water filtration system can't quite create the same deliciousness as a New York bagel. Our all-time NYC favorites? Absolute Bagels, Murray's Bagels (remind us to tell you about the time we saw Tim Robbins there!), Pick-A-Bagel (only the one on 23rd and 3rd), and Bagelsmith in Brooklyn (Cakespy Note: Alas, in spite of every review, like, ever, we only like-don't-love H&H Bagels).

SPF 70 sunblock is opaque: With most sunblocks, you can apply them to your skin, and while white when applied, they will dry clear. Not so with SPF 70. This stuff is more like a shellac--albeit, an opaque white shellac, as our Head Spy Jessie found out the hard way, spending much of day one covered in the white, streaky stuff (apologies to anyone who was frightened off).

Don't Mess with Jeffrey's Brownie.Penny Licks, Brooklyn 
Change is a good thing: A new bakery opened on Bedford Avenue last year called Sweet Farm. The first time we went, it kind of sucked; the second time we went, they were much better; this time, it was gone entirely, but in its place was the even-better Penny Licks, which was nicely stocked with a variety of cakes and pastries, including a huge variety of delicious vegan options (doesn't Cake Gumshoe Jeffrey's expression say everything? He's not sharing, no way)--though it's worth noting that many of the vegan options apparently come by way of Vegan Treats, and that their hours are weird for a bakery (they open at 11am).

MetalsugarI love the Cupcake Girls
Cupcake (crafts) are taking over the world: At the craft fair, we were in good cupcake company, with talented vendors MetalSugar, who had very cool silver cupcake jewelry for sale, and The Cupcake Girls, who were vending a bevy of cool cupcake crafts, including bulletin boards, paperclips (they say they're mushrooms but they look like cupcakes to us!), and all sorts of other cuteness!

People are so talented: Even if they weren't selling baked good related products, we have a collective design crush on several of the other vendors, including Foxy & Winston, Sian Keegan, My Paper Crane, and so many more! 

Treats TruckCraft Fairs are delicious: This must have been the most delicious craft fair we've ever been to, what with "food court" surroundings provided by Treats Truck (think ice cream truck, but with baked goods!) and Mr. Softee

Dressler is delicious: One of the more delicious experiences while in the city was when Head Spy Jessie had dinner with the Redacted Recipes crew; we went to Dressler, a cool Williamsburg restaurant where everything, from the watermelon-ricotta salad to the showstopping Caramel Trio dessert (a trinity of awesome including salted caramel ice cream, caramel panna cotta and a buttery caramel nut tart), was absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended!

Hipster Cupcakes and Sweets waiting for the L Train

 

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Reader Comments (33)

I'm glad everything turned out so well. I hope one of these days you can come to San Francisco so I can come and buy lots of Cakespy goodies.

July 1 | Unregistered CommenterKrysta

Jessie, it was SO wonderful to meet you and I hope to do so again, in Seattle or NYC (or somewhere else!). I love my diet coke/Cuppie art. Glad you had fun at the fair.

July 1 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Jessie, I am so proud of you! She is one of ours, I mean she is from Seattle!

pie-gote? i'm still chuckling about that one.
glad you had an enjoyable time! :)

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Sounds like it was lots of fun - wish I coulda been there!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

You looked cuuuuute with white streaks all over you! :-)

We adored spending the evening with you and Sophie just loved getting to talk with a real artist.

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Congratulatons on your first fair! It sounds fabulous (and Tim Robbins??!! Well, that would make ANYTHING worthwhile... !!)

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Love the cupcake ring and so glad you discovered Balthazar isn't so bad. I love Balthazar. In fact, no trip to NYC is complete for me without going there. It isn't so much the food (it's fine but just fine), it's the ambiance. I am usually in NYC alone and at Balthazar you always end up chatting with the tables on either side. I've met some great people there and had a lot of fun. Plus, it's just down the street from Dean and Deluca and Vosges...how can that be bad?

How wonderful!! Just remember, there's always some downs; but hey the ups ALWAYS outweigh those downs :0)

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

Cool! I hope to get a booth there too one of these days!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterjustJENN

Sounds like a great experience all around. As for the spf 70... as a redhead... oh man do I hear ya. It's like mayonnaise.

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterEB

How cool to see a video of you!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I'm looking for a pink canopy so when I can take my macarons on the road. Thanks for the lessons learned! I remember meeting that one or two strange people at the farmer's market. One of them was downright scary. Oh and the mushroom clothes pins are adorable. And Balthazar is fantastic...check out my addiciton to their tarts over here :
http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/07/the-tartlets-of.html

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterVeron

E J O R G A S M !

July 2 | Unregistered Commenter.

Sounds like such a fun time!! I'll be in Ney York next week and am definitely looking forward to tasting Vegan Treats....

I'll bet everyone loved your stuff. Who really loves pie that much anyways?

Hi It's me Robyn. Great blog post.

I can't find your email addy. Forgot my Esty password, please send me a contact email. Back online. Excuse the pretext. Thanks!!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aside from the downpour, it sounds like it was a great time!

Jessie and my b/f should get together. It seems they have similar taste in eyeglasses! :) :)

My b/f has family in Oregon that he visits almost every year. I was thinking if I go with him I'll already be halfway across the country, so why not take another road trip Trophy Cupcakes in WA. Is it worth it?

Looks like you had a great trip! Travelin's all about the bakeries you get to eat (at) along the way!

Do dish about Tim Robbins... heh!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterOwl Chick

Your interview went great! I loved it that the interviewer had purchased your best selling item inadvertently. =) I hope you sold a bundle!

July 2 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-Marie

thanks for the awesome post--you really make us feel like we were there with you. Oh, and everyone's first fair presentation is like that. My teeny-tiny presentation for a kid's art class was, among other things, hampered by a rear wind blowing away my display of origami pikachus every ten seconds. But I survived, mainly due to the squeeze who brought me chocolate halfway through and carried my heavy portfolio home for me even though he was carrying his own stuff too.

Come sell in San Francisco!!!

I love the Treats Truck.

I need to be better about keeping up with my Reader--I didn't know you were doing this!! I would have loved to stop by your booth. Next time, I hope.

July 3 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

That's so cool that you met Robyn from Serious Eats. She seems like someone I'd like to know in real life. In fact, I was hoping she'd be going to the Blog Her conference!

July 3 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

you keep me inspired! LOVE it! when are you going to be in MA? ;)

July 3 | Unregistered CommenterBethany
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