Baking Extravaganza (Take Two)

After last weekends mishap, I was determined to make it out to the Foreigner’s Flea Market today. Hosted by the Seoul Global Center, it was held this time in front of the Museum of History for Children’s Day.

Again, I spent Friday night baking up a storm. I remade the carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that I missed the event last weekend, because I was able to tweak the recipes to get them right this time around.

And then I did something really brilliant. After Raphael cut out all his hearts, I was left with a pan of leftover brownie parts that I didn’t particularly want to eat, after having had way too many sweets during the week. So I came up with the idea of making them into lollipops. I figured, if you can make cake pops, there isn’t any reason why you couldn’t make brownies pops. In fact, its fudgyness actually makes them quite perfect to shape.

I was nervous about going to the event, afraid that nobody would buy my things. I comforted myself with the thought that most people there would probably be foreigners like me, and I could handle such shame. But it turned out that it was mostly Korean families spending the holiday outside! For the first time since I got here, I had people asking me: “얼마예요?” or “how much?”, and I had to answer in Korean. Imagine that……

And much to my surprise, my items were so well received that I pretty much sold out within an hour. I had three brownies pops that looked a little pathetic left towards the end so I gave them to the volunteers. The whole experience was rather exciting and S was particularly impressed by Koreans’ interest in baked goods.

Lessons learned from this ad hoc entrepreneurial adventure:

1) Image Matters: I think we all know this already, but it really helps to put every effort in making things pretty. I brought my own tablecloth, and a cooler packed with ice (to S’ dismay) in which I kept the brownies and cupcakes so they wouldn’t be damaged by the heat.

I think the image of the seller matters too. We realized early on that S’ presence (with his buzz cut and sunglasses) put people off, so he retired backstage.

2) Write out the Prices: Otherwise, younger people will be too shy to ask and older ladies will try to bargain, which, needless to say, is extremely awkward. Everybody just seems a lot more comfortable when the price is set, and it ends the haggling.

(I admit I could have done a better job with the signs, but by that time I was really in a hurry.)

3) Learn Korean… maybe: It certainly helps to know the basics to be able answer simple questions. At lot of people wanted to know if it was really handmade by me. At first, it was very overwhelming, but it seemed like they were charmed by the fact that I wasn’t Korean. Perhaps because it projected authenticity onto the foreign-looking things I was selling.

It was so much fun to see people getting excited over cake and brownies. What a great feeling to be able to share such things with people here. And the best part? Hearing them rave about the goodies afterwards!

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