One clumsy hand gesture and Ines Vieira’s hand-painted cordial broke into pieces.
“I broke it, so I’ll buy it,” the customer said, and Vieira sold her first piece of the day.
Vieira was one of over 30 merchants who displayed their wares at the Dandelion Market on Saturday. The market takes place on Chapel and College streets every Saturday in September, when merchants hailing from as far as New York City sell products ranging from organic produce to vintage clothing.
Vieira, who moved to New York from Brazil five years ago, sells hand-painted glass containers: candle holders, vases, bowls, glasses and pitchers. Saturday was her first day at the Dandelion Market, and she is unsure whether to return. At 1 p.m., Vieira had only sold two pieces.
“I came from far away and I need to do business,” she said. “It’s nice for everyone to admire [my pieces], but I need to sell them.”
At the Green Flea Market in New York City’s Upper West Side, Vieira makes $500 on a typical day. A weekly trip to New Haven might not be worth her time.
“It’s still early in the day. We’ll see what happens,” she said.
Next to Vieira’s booth at the Dandelion Market, Jasmie Tabesch sold jewelry that she made using semi-precious stones from around the world.
“Morocco, India, Nepal — you name it, she’s been there,” said Tabesch’s assistant.
Tabesch’s stand boasted unique, funky items, like square rings with pieces of measuring tape glued on. Her pendants included glazed mahjong tiles, ledgers with Sanskrit writing, and vintage buttons from the ’20s and ’30s.
Tabesch usually sells at crafts fairs and flea markets in New York, where her business, Ethno, is based. She opened a booth at the Dandelion Market for the first time this Saturday.
“This is a feeler for us to see how business does,” her assistant said.
The market, which opened on Chapel Street almost 10 years ago, was restructured and renamed in 2000. The market is organized by University Properties, the Town Green Special Services District and several merchants on Chapel Street.
Meg Reuland, a retail analyst at University Properties, said that the market enlivens Chapel Street economically and culturally. “Increasing the traffic on Chapel Street, having people linger there longer, is a positive thing for local businesses,” she said. “The market makes walking down the street more fun.”
Customers browsing the stands this Saturday seemed pleased with what they saw.
“Those are so much yummier than factory farmed eggs,” said Leslie Kuo ’03, pointing to a carton of free-range eggs on a table of produce from Northfordy farm. “The yolks are bright orange. And when you make sunnyside eggs, they stay round instead of getting all ruffled.”
Haley Edwards ’05 said she liked the old, gaudy jewelry. “You can’t find that stuff at generic, expensive stores,” she said. “The whole market adds so much flavor to New Haven.”
But many Yale students do not know that the market exists.
“It wasn’t very well publicized,” Kaitlyn Trigger ’06 said. “I only knew about it because my friend saw a poster in Atticus [Bookstore and Cafe].”
Kelsey Lents ’05 stumbled upon the market on her way to Copper Kitchen, but she liked it enough to make a second trip. “I’ll definitely be back,” she said.