Cathy Steigleder has made enough money selling her gnomes to buy herself a puppy. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Cathy Steigleder has made enough money selling her gnomes to buy herself a puppy. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Christmas markets pay off for vendors

Gnomes and scented candles are all the rage at Christmas Craft Markets

Serenity Granger will join her mom on a cruise to Mexico. Cathy Steigleder plans to buy herself a miniature Schnauzer puppy.

The two craft fair vendors have found it pays to hit the Christmas market circuit after raising enough funds for special perks like coveted trips and puppies.

Granger, 12, will head south with her mom in February after raising enough money in two years from selling her homemade scented candles under the name Serenity’s Scentsations.

“Christmas fairs are really the most profitable as people are not only shopping for themselves, but for their friends, family, and coworkers as well,” she said. “Candles are a great gift for so many people.”

Granger initially started making candles as a home-school project, giving them away as gifts to friends and family. But after developing a love for the craft, she set up a Facebook group and started attending markets.

She hasn’t looked back – joining people like Steigleder to hit multiple craft fairs on the Christmas market circuit in the South Cariboo. Steigleder, known as the “gnome lady,” said she didn’t know what to expect when she attended her first market at the 108 Mile Heritage Site five years ago.

However, she now regularly attends markets from Cache Creek to Chimney Lake and since November has sold 200 gnomes. It’s enough money that she can afford her puppy outright, rather than having to set aside money from her paycheque each month.

“I’m really lucky this year – it seems this is the year of the gnome,” said Steigleder, a Lac La Hache Elementary education assistant. “They are everywhere and people prefer the handmade ones better. It has really helped my sales a lot.”

Steigleder said as a vendor she prefers to be close to the door so she is one of the first crafters that people see. She also ensures she has a bright and colourful display to draw buyers close. Granger, meanwhile, said she doesn’t care where she is located, saying as long as she is friendly and cheerful people will come to her stall.

She’s more worried about running out of stock, saying demand for her candles is steadily increasing. At the 108 Ranch Community Association Market, she quickly sold out of a few popular scents.

“There are a lot fewer candle makers than I anticipated. I thought every craft fair would have at least two or three but there’s been maybe one,” she said. “I thought there would be lots of competition but I’ve outsold everybody in the markets I’ve been to this year.”

She plans to expand beyond 100 Mile House and attend Williams Lake’s Medieval Market next year.

Both vendors say while it’s great to make a profit, meeting new people and connecting with them is one of the best parts of attending the market.

“I am a very social person so I love meeting new people and talking to them, even if they don’t buy a candle,” Granger said. “I’m definitely going to keep going, I’ve already bought the extra wax. It’s really fun because I get a lot of recommendations on how I can improve my candles.”

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