After 16 years, Bokujoy is no longer participating in the Hillcrest Farmers Market. The easiest way to explain it is to share the letter I wrote to the management:David,
I hope this note arrives to find you on the upswing of fabulous. I am writing to let you know I will no longer be participating in the Hillcrest Market.
I have been in the natural bath and spa business for 22 years, and more than 16 of those years I have been participating in the Hillcrest Market. A lot has changed since I began my business and the market. I started with a natural product and I have evolved to an even more organic product made with therapeutic grade essential oils, good for the consumer and the planet.
This year, I have decided it is time to stop talking about things that are disturbing, and to start changing them instead. Inspired by Gandhi's quote, I am going to "Be the change I wish to see in the world". With that in mind I can no longer in good conscience support the practices the Hillcrest Market has adopted as normal.
When I began the market, there was not a craft section, and I was the first local artisan to participate. You were not convinced it was a good idea, but you were willing to give it a try, and I thank you. As time went on, other craft makers joined the market making it a unique market place with farmers and local craft makers. It was a wonderful market to be a part of. I felt as though you and the association cared about the integrity of the market to the point of closely monitoring the type of vendor that participated, the amount of vendors, the fees associated and the environment in which the market operated. Those practices have been abandoned.
Hillcrest used to be a special shopping experience with a wide variety of unique vendors comprised of local farmers, makers and artisans. Competition was limited and healthy, providing a place were everyone could thrive. That is no longer the case. The Hillcrest market has evolved from a real farmers market to a market with a few farmers in it. On average there are 200 vendors who participate and only about 35-40 of them are real farmers. It has become a congested marketplace that no longer seems to care what type of vendors participate. It doesn't matter if the products are locally made, represented by farmers or made in China or purchased in Mexico to be resold. (I am not trying to discriminate, it would be great if someone from China or Mexico participated selling a craft or product they made, but that is not the case). You seem to be more interested in how much money you can make, and it doesn't matter if the farmers and makers that have supported you along the way can make a living. We have experienced increased fees, increased and unnecessary competition, cramped shopping environments and decreased shoppers and parking.
Though no one will tell you, many vendors are unhappy with your current fees and practices. They don't feel as though they have any other choice and their voice doesn't matter. They need the money so they just put up with it and complain amongst each other. Vendors that historically made a profit are no long making a profit, including myself. Perhaps you have not noticed because of the high minimum charged which allows you to make money whether we make money or not.
The management has made an extraordinary market VERY ordinary. The market has lost its balance, value and uniqueness. It has become just another event. When other events occur around town, customers know that most of the things for sale at the Hillcrest market, can be found at the other event. Many vendors have come to feel this way too. When other events arise, they will abandon the Hillcrest market and follow the crowd to participate in the other event. The loyalty you showed to build the market is no longer present. Vendor loyalty is starting to mirror your habits, and when that happens we all lose. There isn't much attraction to keep customers and vendors alike dedicated and participating every week rain, shine or alternate event.
Being a part of the market for 16 years I see and hear it all. I hear from customers old and new and I hear from fellow vendors. Not everyone is disgruntled, and not all comments are unfavorable, but many are. Old customers complain about the congestion, the parking and the change in the quality of vendors. New customers refer to the market as a flea market or craft show, and often don't even realize its a farmers market. Somewhere along the line the market has lost its purpose and stopped valuing its original goal to be a great farmers market.
David, we used to have an excellent working relationship and for many years I felt like a valued vendor and that my opinion mattered, though I not longer feel that is the case. I don't expect my letter to make any difference, but I thought you should know.
I am not a disgruntled failing business woman looking for someone to blame. I am highly successful in all my other business dealings and at the other farmers market I attend. I am concerned about the success of the farmers and vendors which I have come to view as friends and family. From my perspective you see success from one side, YOURS. Our success seems to have no relevance. You no longer seem to care about the farmers and the vendors who make you a profit every week. The heartfelt loyalty you expressed to us when you felt threatened by the board and feared losing your position has vanished. You came to each of us for support and we gave it. A little support from you would have been appreciated, especially in the absence of a "thank you for your support".
From your vantage point, I know you can't see it yet, but the market is starting to crumble and that is very unfortunate.
I invite you to be the change,
I still participate in the Vista Farmers Market on Saturdays & Check the calendar for special events.
Goodbye Fragrance Oils
On a contemplative retreat in January, I had a chance to reflect on my 22 years in business. In taking a close look at my career which has been my passion, the only thing I have done with great consistency is change. I was inspired to make bath products over two decades ago because I wanted a healthy product for me and my family and I wasn't really happy with anything on the market. When circumstances made it necessary to start a business, I carried that same commitment to share a healthy product with the world, or at least my humble little part of it. When I started you couldn't just "GOOGLE" to research the latest and greatest things. There was a lot of trial-and-error and good old fashioned research. Trips to an actual library and books from the bookstore were a common theme (WOW). As I became aware of "better" in the industry, I did better even when it wasn't exactly profitable or cost effective to do so. I am happy to say the product line has grown in delightfully healthy ways. I feel like its time to go deeper and I am thrilled with all the wonderful new possibilities for "change".
CHEMICALS CHEMICALS CHEMICALS
I have also been looking at chemicals that are on the market today in our cosmetics, cleaners, and even our foods and I am not impressed, are you? I am not trying to imply that all chemicals are bad, many are good, after all everything can be considered a chemical compound of some sort, even humans. What I AM saying is that not all chemicals are created equal and being healthy is not a necessary criteria for a chemical to be on the shelf in our stores or exposed to our environment. Not everyone plays by the same rules, nor do they have to, so I am suggesting that WE need to pay more attention. Doing so gives us a wonderful opportunity to be discerning architects of our destiny. It is that discernment that has made me look closer at the chemical compounds of fragrance oils. Many of these scents smell wonderful, they can be sensual and provocative, wildly fruity or even mimic herbs and spices, pleasant replicas of the "real" thing. Other than that, they don't have much benefit and many may be harmful. Many are synthesized chemicals that have hormone disruptors and toxic ingredients. One scent can contain thousands of individual components. You really have to pay attention to what's being offered and I do!
Sweet Plumeria, Apricot Citrus, Mad About Mangos, Coconut Creme, Rain, Waterdance, Kauai Ginger Blossom, Sisters, Cool as Cucumber, Pineapple Punch, Sassy Sage, White Caps of San Diego& Sandalwood and Vanilla. Roses Roses is also retiring but a beautiful pure rose will take its place (big smile)