September 2008: Alley Valkyrie & Alex Thompson, Practical Rabbit
I find myself taking pictures, or browsing the booth, or wishing I was younger and thinner, every time I walk by Practical Rabbit. I love those dragonfly dresses, simple and bold, they look great on the girls that I see wearing them. And there is something wonderful and new in the booth just about every week. So it seemed a natural choice to gift them with Beautiful Booth of the Month!
Alley Valkyrie is a frequent visitor at Standards screenings. That's where new products are approved for sale at Market. Alley's always thinking of a new product of some kind. Look carefully into the Practical Rabbit booth and you'll find clothing, felted critters and gnomes, little purses, patches, buttons, poetry, notebooks, cards, record bowls, the list goes on and on. And yet, the strength of the design, the clarity of the vision pulls you in and makes sense of the whole thing.
Alley's secret to success is listening to her customers. She says it's easy - they tell her what they want to see, or what they like, and she makes it. Someone loves octopuses - octopi? - anyway, now there's an octopus dress and felted octopus dolls. Track trials come along, "Running is Sexy" patches develop into t-shirts. Alex is an essential member of the Practical Rabbit team too, helping with production, coming up with design ideas, helping with pricing.
For years, Alley sold at street Markets on the East Coast, travelling to shows and sidewalks all over. When driving started to become less affordable, she moved to Eugene to take advantage of our close-by weekly selling opportunity as a home base.
The current booth is an old 4x4 converted to a 4x6, which works fine in the summer time, but won't do enough when the rains come. The open front does give it a nice open-air Markety feel, and helps to keep it from looking too crowded, though. Turns out they've just purchased an 8x8 booth and will be moving into it this week. Will more coverage mean more stuff to cover? I bet it will, and I can't wait to see it!
You can find Practical Rabbit by asking for their location at the Info Booth, they do tend to hop around the blocks a bit...