August 18, 2017.
It was a dark Friday morning at 5:15am. I had stayed home sick from work two out of four days already this week. I wasn’t thrilled about waking up early to hop in the car for 10 hours, but we had been planning this trip for months. I woke to a text from Cam that they had left Michigan at 5am and were already half-way to our meeting point in Youngstown, Ohio. Crap. I had to get there to meet them in only 2.5 hours.
The York Project team was headed to New York City to visit Will, our old team mate who recently moved out to NYC. While we were there, we decided to schedule a pop-up and knock out a photoshoot of some new products. Sounds like a lot for a normal weekend, right?
In order to sell at this market that we had registered for, we had to have both a NY State Sales Tax License as well as as a temporary street vendor permit. I had applied back in mid July for both of these, but unfortunately, the day before the market, my license still had not arrived. We had no choice but to leave at the crack of dawn to make it to downtown Manhattan by 5pm on a Friday. We did just that. The boys left their house in Troy, MI at 4am and we finally pulled in to the Department of Consumer Affairs office near Wall Street at 4:30PM.
It was like a Midwestern DMV office on steroids. Dozens of people of all different backgrounds were sitting in this large room like a holding pen, waiting to get called up to take care of their business. I was thinking to myself that I’d never get helped and it would all be for nothing. Then, finally at 4:55PM I finally get called up to the counter. Thank you. Our early morning drive was all worth it!
We then made our way to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn where we all four of us stayed in a single bedroom. It turns out that our Airbnb was one block from where rapper Jay-Z grew up. Cool, right?
Anyway, we met up with Will for dinner at this cool and trendy spot in WIlliamsburg. After dinner, we headed down to the Williamsburg pier and then back up to Will’s apartment roof for some cool skyline views, before calling it an early night.
7:00am Saturday. We were up and back off to Manhattan to get set up at the Hell’s Kitchen Annex Flea Market. On 39th street and 9th ave, it wasn’t our ideal location to be set up, but man were they accommodating. If anyone reading this is ever looking to do a market in NYC, I’d highly recommend hitting up Julien at Annex Markets. They took care of us. We had the best spot, right up front, including parking in downtown Manhattan and a discounted rent, as it was our first fair.
The market opened at 9:00am, and by 9:03am, we had made our first sale. A couple of lovely ladies stopped by while visiting from Denmark. So cool. Throughout the day, we had a slow, but steady flow of people stopping by our booth, often times picking up their own York Project swag. By the time all was said and done, we had sold stuff to travelers from Toronto, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, and all over the US. It was honestly one of the coolest and most gratifying experiences. We rolled up to New York City, a global leader in fashion and trends, and we set up our products that were designed by us and literally made in my parents garage. Here we are now selling it on the biggest stage ever to people from around the globe. It really was a dream come true.
Beyond just selling clothes, we had so many different friends and friends of friends come by. I’d say at least 10-15 phone numbers got exchanged throughout the day, which to me is the coolest part of this whole thing. By doing what we love and creating, we’ve been able to connect people from all over the place, creating new and hopefully lasting friendships. On top of that, we also were contacted by the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Time Square to see if we’d ever want to do a pop up in their hotel--so cool!!
After the market ended at 5, we had scheduled a photoshoot. We had a couple friends who live in town modeling for us. Couple these trendy NYC people with our photographer, Cam’s awesome photography skills, and you get a killer photoshoot. Check out the pics here.
We ended the day back in Brooklyn with some famous NYC pizza and hanging out on Will’s rooftop. You can see clips of this from the closing scenes of our recap video, made by our awesome film guy, Ryan.
We spent Sunday checking out the boutiques of Soho and meeting up with old friends. A great way to end a great trip. We also fueled up at a cool Cuban style diner in the East Village on our way out, which was great before the long 10 hour car ride!
I finally arrived back in Columbus at 11:45pm, and I know some of the Michigan crew didn’t get home until 2:30am. Back to work the next morning. Such a quick trip, but so much good came from it. We stood up to the test of the big and bad New York City market, and saw so many incredible friends.
There’s something special that happens when you spend 72 straight hours with a group of people. Crammed in a car. Sharing one tiny bedroom in a new place. Eating cheap pizza on a rooftop in one of the greatest cities in the world. I’m so stinking lucky to call this incredible group of people my friends, and even more lucky to be working together with some of them in achieving our dreams. While we miss having Will around, it’s so amazing to see him thriving at a big NYC ad agency. We’ll definitely be back soon, and who knows what the next adventure will bring.