Walking table to table, I made eye contact with every vendor who was looking up. They’d worked hard already—carting totes, assembling tables and staging products. Only a nickel’s worth of shoppers roamed two rooms worth of jewelry, essential oils, beauty products and bedazzled phone cases on a beautiful blue bird Saturday morning. I’d once stood on their side of the table and figured they were hungry for connection.
Don’t we all want to be seen?
Linda squirted phase one of a three step regimen into my palm and instructed me to rub my hands together. Don’t neglect those wrists! Before I left her store, I smiled and slathered. I also learned Linda worked at Boston Store’s cosmetic counters for thirty years before they went out of business.
I didn’t make a purchase because I still have bottles of three step processes languishing on my bathroom shelves, but Linda and I connected, hand to hand. We shared smiles, laughter and…her card. If I ever find a need for face cream, I’ve got a contact.
I met Mary who praised the effectiveness of natural cleaning solutions and we discussed the potency of geranium scented essential oil. She nodded knowingly when I wrinkled my nose and told her I’d recently smelled the strong floral scent at a yoga class. Mary never uses geranium straight up, but does diffuse it with other scents, like sandalwood.
My house still smells like Sunday morning bacon and fresh walleyes cleaned in the laundry room sink, but I have Mary’s card if I ever want to diffuse orange, rosemary or cedar scents to cover that stuff up.
Inglish offered me lunch—let’s see there was Caesar salad, garden salad, or…something with some grain...quinoa? barley? Inglish doesn’t have a website yet, but her services can be found on Facebook. She caters, offers meal planning and prepping services, and consults on healthy eating habits.
Her teenage daughter sat in a pop up lawn chair and her pre-adolescent son was stationed on top of the cooler that held Mason jar salads. Sharing great entrepreneurial lessons with your kids! I commented. Inglish flashed one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen.
I walked out into the sunshine with one small bag containing a purple t-shirt. The woman selling them worked to build a pregnancy crisis center in Kenya. She’d reluctantly visited the country on a church mission trip and fell in love with the place and the people. She returns several times a year and now sells products from Africa to support the center’s operation.
Sale or no sale, I always appreciated the shopper who made time to ask about my product or my story.
The connection was a hand up—an encouragement.
Such conversations don’t carry dollar signs. Transactions of a different flavor.