It all started with an Instagram group message and the mission to foster ideas of collaboration that could strengthen our customer bases as a whole. Through that discussion, the seed was planted to bring a central Massachusetts’ vintage market to life. As we sat in the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts on that snowy day, we decided together that this market was going to have a look and feel that set us apart from other markets. We knew we needed a name that would speak to this and stand for the essence of community that brought us together in the first place.
The pro.found market was launched with two very clear goals in mind. The first was to attract vendors with a professional look and feel to their vintage-inspired and creative businesses. This is where the “pro” in our name comes from, while the “found” portion is for the vintage nature of the market and the aesthetic we seek out in each applicant. We carefully curate our lineup to be the best of the industry and take pride in finding up-and-comers who have what it takes to #beprofound.
Our second goal was to cultivate a community of vendors who bring not only creativity and unique goods with them but also a predominant and prevailing positive and collaborative nature. There is a feeling of joy that ripples through the entire market. It is not just the one-of-a-kind finds but also the unique sense of togetherness. This begins months before the show in our individual promotion of each vendor—an aspect that is not seen from other markets.
When our mission was clear, we set out to create a buzz amongst the vendors we admired in the industry. With every enthusiastic yes to our soft invite, our confidence grew knowing that we were onto something good. At this point, we had hit our first hurdle, which was finding the perfect venue. This was no easy feat, but with feet on the ground and endless phone calls and inquiries, we landed on the most perfect piece of land in Lancaster, Massachusetts. Lancaster is known as the first established town in Worcester County and with its rural backroads feel and scenic hillsides, it seemed the perfect fit for a weekend festival in the country.
Our promotion of and pride in every person we select sets the collaborative tone and excites vendors and shoppers alike.
With vendors set, local food, wine and music ready to go, we debuted our first fall market in September of 2017. With 52 vendors and a little social media campaign, the market became more than we ever could have imagined. With praises of, “The best market we’ve ever done,” and “Please, do a spring show” from vendors, as well as, “This is better than Brimfield,” from the attendees, we knew we had found something good, and were so proud of what we created.
Our second market in June of 2018 brought double the vendors and attendees, and by our third show in September 2018, our number of vendors and attendees had tripled based on the positive word of mouth and reputation that continues to surge through our vintage community. This elates us to no end.
This positivity and excitement continues throughout each event in interactions between shoppers and vendors, with the staff of the show, and even as shoppers become fast friends. During setup, vendors are excited to meet the peers they’ve seen us promote and see the friends they’ve made in years’ past. Instead of feeling competitive with each other, everyone is in it together and thrilled to be there.
Our success, however, hasn’t come without growing pains. Due to limited space and growing interest from both vendors and shoppers, we need to continuously re-think layout and setup to ensure the best experiences for everyone—not to mention, the unpredictable hurricane rains and winds that happened the week of our September show last year, flooding both our parking lot and a row of vendors’ spaces! We believe what makes us successful is taking challenges and improving on them when something requires our attention (planned or unforeseen).
We believe in order to set ourselves apart as a business, we must be open to the idea that perfection is impossible and change and challenges are inevitable. Growth can only occur when we break out of the comfort zone of our standards and become open to change and evolution.
We believe that the success and positivity of each of our vendors will promote the overall success and general feeling of our show. This commitment to a quality event begins in the planning and carries through to vendor check-in, to ticket sales, through the days of the event and finally during clean up. Our hope beyond hopes is that our gratitude for this event transcends to everyone who experiences it.
“A rising tide lifts all boats”
– John F. Kennedy