Kimberly Vogel: Crafts, Creativity, and Connection at the Whitewater City Market

Step into the world of Kimberly Vogel, the creative force behind Books and Art by Kimberly Vogel. We sat down with Kimberly to delve into her journey, inspirations, and experiences as a farmers market vendor.

Q: How did you get started as a farmers market vendor, and what inspired you to sell your products at the market? 
A: I joined the Whitewater City Market in 2018, expanding from Beloit to connect with a larger audience. My passion for crafting and storytelling inspired me to showcase my products and connect with fellow creatives.

Q: What types of products do you offer at the farmers market, and how do you ensure their quality and freshness? 
A: My booth is an array of creativity! From Fiction Books to Note Cards, Magnets, Buttons, Bookmarks, and more, I pour my heart into each item. I handcraft some and professionally print others to ensure they’re vibrant and captivating.

Q: Name one song on your music playlist if you listen to music while you prep or harvest for the market. 
A: I’m all about audiobooks while crafting; they keep me engaged as my hands work their magic.

Q: How does sustainability play a role in your farming or production practices, and how do you communicate this to your customers? 
A: Sustainability matters to me. I encourage customers to return plastic containers and sleeves, which I then reuse for freshly printed items. It’s a small step that promotes eco-consciousness in my craft.

Q: How do you decide which farmers markets to participate in, and what factors do you consider when choosing a market? 
A: I venture about an hour’s drive from my hometown for shows. Whitewater City Market stood out for its positive community vibe, making it an obvious choice.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 
A: The forests of Oregon or the upper peninsula of Michigan! I’m drawn to capturing the beauty of nature, from trees and flowers to rocks.

Q: Can you share some of the challenges you face as a farmers market vendor, and how do you overcome them? 
A: Nature’s unpredictability can be challenging. Windy days require me to secure my lightweight items, and I’m strategic about using plastic to keep my paper-based merchandise dry during humid or stormy times.

Q: How does interacting with customers at the farmers market help you understand their preferences and needs? 
A: Customers sometimes express their desires directly or show their preferences through their purchases. I use these insights to diversify my offerings based on their choices.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a farmers market vendor, and do you have any heartwarming customer stories to share? A: The connections with fellow vendors and customers are my favorites. The sense of community is truly heartwarming.

Q: How do you handle seasonal variations and ensure a consistent supply of products throughout the year? 
A: I create multi-purpose items like blank interior note cards or versatile styles to cater to changing seasons and preferences.

Q: What’s your favorite part about Whitewater or the Whitewater City Market? 
A: The friendly atmosphere and willingness to help one another make Whitewater a special place.

Q: What’s a book, movie, or TV show that has left a lasting impact on you?
A: “Redwall” by Brian Jacques and “Princess Bride” are both close to my heart.

Q: What steps do you take to ensure that your products comply with health and safety regulations? 
A: While I don’t offer food products, I ensure that items like magnets are sized to avoid choking hazards.

Q: How has your participation in farmers markets contributed to your business’s growth and success? 
A: Being visible to the public is vital for growth. The May – October season allows me to showcase my creations and connect with customers.

Q: What strategies do you use to attract customers to your booth and stand out among other vendors? 
A: Vibrant items against a contrasting background make them pop, and my U-shaped booth layout ensures a comfortable browsing experience.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
A: Invisibility! It’d help me capture up-close photos of nature’s wonders, from bees and butterflies to wildlife.

As we prepared to post our conversation with Kimberly Vogel, the artistic mastermind behind Books and Art by Kimberly Vogel, we were reminded of the magical blend of creativity, community, and resourcefulness that thrives within farmers markets communities. We continue to be thankful for the vendors, patrons, volunteers, staff, and community who make the Whitewater City Market Special.

Our final takeaway from Kimberly’s answers, was a bit of sage advice for those who may be interested in launching their own farmers market venture. She emphasized the value of learning from veteran vendors, those who have traversed this and other market landscapes. Insights like these, gleaned from years of experience, can illuminate a path for newcomers, helping to navigate challenges and make the most of opportunities. And isn’t that exactly what makes community special?

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