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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)

Love the video!

Great post! My friend Ash does a lot of crafts fairs for her soap & she always has me in stitches laughing at her experiences at each & every one. Sounds like you had fun. Let me know if you do any fairs around SF.

xoxox Amy

Krysta: I will certainly let you know--would love to meet you and the Sous Chefs!

Rachel: It was beyond awesome to meet you too! :-) Glad you're enjoying your piece.

Franticfoodie: Aww, you're too sweet! Hope to see you soon!

Grace: It was awesome!!

Cakelaw: It was super fun and super delicious!

Ann: Ha!!! It was such a fun time!!!

Ricki: Yeah! It was an awesome time!

Dana: Yup, actually since they do wholesale to a lot of coffee shops one of us might have tried some of their stuff before, without realizing it. But pretty good stuff!

Veggiegirl: So true!

Justjenn: Hope to see you at one of them!

EB: Ha!! It really is!!

Lisa: You're sweet! Now you know what awful crooked teeth I have. :-)

Veron: Ooh, can't wait to see your canopy! Also, glad to hear I wasn't the only one to come across strange people. Actually there were a few really strange ones who remain unmentioned!!

Dot: EJORGASM on a triple word score--WOW!

Vegan Noodle: You'll really enjoy Penny Licks. Where are you staying? If in Manhattan there are so many vegan baked good opportunities! I like Ciao for Now.

Robyn: I emailed you!

Cookie Baker Lynn: It really was!

How to Eat a Cupcake: Oh yes, Camp Cakespy is a treasure trove of cool glasses. :-) As for going to Oregon, where in OR will you be? If you're in Portland it's like a 3 hour trip. I have been known to take such trips solely for bakeries, but then again we all like the journey. Personally I think that Trophy is fantastic, but I also know that sometimes when one travels for something, the expectations can be ultra-high. There are some great spots in Portland to hit though. I like Saint Cupcake, we liked the cupcakes at Crema as well, and were pleasantly surprised by those at Kenny & Zuke's. We didn't love the ones at Cupcake Jones AS much--but they were still good in our opinion.

Owl Chick: So true!! new bakeries are the best part!

As for Tim, he had a very complex coffee order for two drinks...wonder if one was for Susan?

Anne-Marie: It was a great trip--the support out in NYC was staggering. :-)

GT: Aww, glad to hear that we're not the only novices!! :-)

Sarah: Yes, next time!!

Lydia: Everyone who stopped by was so awesome! And Robyn is not only funny but adorable too.

Bethany: I hope soon!

TW: Thanks!! I've heard I have a "big" smile.

Amy: Yes, they're a funny phenomenon, those fairs!! I will keep you updated on any SF trips!

July 4 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

That cupcake ring is amazing!

Glad you attended a craft fair and hope you sold lots of your great artwork.

If I had a bakery, IF, I would probably open at 11:00 am also...I am NOT a morning person although I love breakfast pastries. I would be the bakery for "Late Risers".

Ok, I giggled at the pie-gote comment! Strange indeed!

July 4 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

What a great experience! It's so fun to hear about it.

Wow, that looks like fun!

July 5 | Unregistered Commentercakebrain

hey i purchased your best selling book and i hope to learn a thing or 2 from it . Thanks

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