How the Market Brings People Together

Alyssa and her mom Karla

Every day we get the opportunity to set up and sell in the Pike Place Market. The market is such a unique place, where we get access to so many people coming and going. Some of our customers live in Seattle and others are just passing through.  People come to Seattle for  business, family, medical treatment and some just on a whim. One thing most have in common is that they have to come to the worlds famous Pike Place Market.

We have sold jewelry for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and we have met some amazing people over the years.  But I never thought that making and selling our jewelry could have overwhelming impact on anyone’s life but I was wrong.

What is in a ring? A pretty gem stone some shiny silver put together in a way we think is unique.  But one day a beautiful lady walked up to our table and picked up a ring and tried it on. We had a pleasant conversation and she walked off with her daughter.  A little while later her husband came back and bought the ring for his wife telling us that she never buys any jewelry for herself and fell in love with the ring. He had thanked us for being nice to his wife because she was in town for cancer treatment . She looked frail but had such a light about her as she went about browsing.

The next day we got an email from her husband thanking us again for the beautiful ring and our interaction with his wife and family. We were touched by the email and thankful that we could make someone happy.  A few months passed and we received another email early in the AM from her daughter, letting us know that her mother had passed away. Before she died she gave the ring to her daughter to wear as a memento.  She thanked us again for the ring and our conversation.  Every time I think about this family I cry and think about the profound impact a ring and a simple kind conversation can have on people.

We are fortunate to meet so many people with happy and sad stories. They all have an impact on our life as we have an impact on there’s.

We think about that day all the time and I had asked Alyssa if I could tell you this story. She told me that today is the one year anniversary of her mom Karla’s funeral and she would like me to share our story with you. This is a beautiful family and we are fortunate to call them friends now!

By Kristeena and Ron Sabando: Sabando Design

In the deep midwinter

January at Pike Place Market. The lights and crowds of Christmas are gone. The rain or snow is falling. It’s midwinter and the Pike Place Producers have been taking some downtime.

After the crazy holiday season weeks of long hours at our booths and in our studios, many artists and crafters take a very welcome break. It’s time to recharge and regroup.

Some go on vacation, many enjoy a staycation. We make up for time not spent with family, friends and pets. We revive our social lives, check out the Oscar-contending movies and finally get to that pile of books that’s been untouched since October.

After a bit of a break, we go back to our studios and work benches with enthusiasm: it’s the ideal time to work out fresh designs and get to grips with new techniques and skills, ready to debut our new products as the crowds begin to return in Spring.

It’s catch-up time. We update our websites and rejig our business cards, file some paperwork, update the books, start on taxes.

We took a break from the Pike Place Producers blog too. The time off was welcome, but now it’s February and we’re back.

by Emma Roscoe, Red Delicious Bags

Three more days!

It’s 4am on December 22nd and the day begins for us at Sabando Design. We are a true mom and pop operation. My wife Kristeena and I design, fabricate and sell the jewelry we’ve been offering at the market for the past six years.

We generally follow a Monday through Friday schedule at the Market, but sell every day from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. I will give you a little insight on what it takes for us to keep a full selection of products at our booth on a continuous basis.

Our early rise enables us both to fabricate rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings in silver and gemstones daily before heading into the Market. Many of the products you find in the Market require a multiple-day process before they are able to be sold.

We are set up to make things from conception to finish in a continuous sequence. Many jewelers use various tumblers to get a finish on their shiny creations. We are set up to tumble chains in crushed walnut shell tumblers for a bright finish, but we usually use a sequence of motor buffers and compounds to get that alluring shine.

Throughout the year we purchase finished faceted stones and gemstone roughs for our designs. In the final weeks before Christmas we have no time to actually cut and polish the various cabochon gemstones used in our designs, so this generally happens when the weather is warmer, because grinding stones involves lots of water on diamond impregnated wheels and belts, and our hands get cold from the constant spraying while polishing. We try to ensure that we have enough raw materials to get us through the holiday season.

Throughout the year we offer custom design work for our customers and friends. This is great for people who plan a more personalized gift for their loved ones. We often set stones with sentimental meanings or etch specific designs into metal for our customers. Every year we stop taking custom orders by the 15th of December so we can just focus on balancing our product mix for the remaining days.

These final days before Christmas simply revolve around the two of us fabricating and selling. Our morning ritual is to caffeinate first, and crank the heater and tunes in our downstairs studio. We each make our own individual pieces, but agree on what we need to give a balanced color and size display at the Market. By 6:30am we usually try to have our polishing complete so we have enough time to shower and walk our dogs before we head downtown.

Around 8:20am we arrive in the Market and pull our cart from its locker location. At 9am the bell rings for roll call. We choose our selling locations by seniority.  Every vendor is assigned a number when they are accepted in the Market. We are number 153 out of a total of around 260. Once we have have picked our spot we need about an hour until we are properly displayed and ready to sell.

By 10 :15am you should find Kristeena and I ready to assist you. “Three more days!” is our mantra today. We hope to welcome you down to the Market among our friends and fellow crafters and artists.

by Ron Sabando, Sabando Design