Name: Sanjay Choudrey
Where we saw him: His East Meets West booth at the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival.
How would you describe your stock?
I’d say it’s global art: Man-made, fair trade goods from all over the world, mostly jewelry, textiles, and artwork.
Do you have a history crafting artwork or any of these textiles?
No. You know, my mother started this business 35 years ago. She was in Evanston, and she’d been there a long time, up until six years ago. I started with her, became partners with her, and we moved down here to Lawrence. Now we just do retail and wholesale. This is the only show I do. I used to do a lot more shows, but this is the only one I really like. It’s cultural; it has world music going on; it’s nice and crowded. Just the fact you have to pay 10 bucks to get in sorts out a lot of riffraff and problems. And it’s great for people [who live] close, so I promote my store a lot.
I imagine it would be hard to transport all the stuff from your store to here without breaking anything.
It’s not so bad. I try not to bring too much. My first year here—I’ve been doing this show five years—they [had] a contest for the best booth. I brought a 13-foot dragon kite that I put at the bottom of my tent and a $2,000 statue, and I surrounded it with this weird glass that was all lit. Then a wind came and knocked my whole tent over. It destroyed my statue and all of the glass, and I cut my leg. Now I just keep it simple. It did nothing for my business. It probably did less because people just oohed and aahed and didn’t really look at the merchandise.
Have you had any problems so far this year?
Everything’s fine. It’s all about weather with this [festival]. If the weather is good, this show is always good. Always a good crowd and music, and these guys do it right. There are so many volunteers and so many people always helping me. It’s almost to the point where its an annoyance, because there’s so many people here to help you!