Field + Supply Founder Brad Ford Dishes on the Market’s History

Ford discusses the origins of the Kingston craft fair and reflects upon how it has adapted and expanded over the years.

Interior design pro Brad Ford thought that if he built a modern arts and crafts fair in the Hudson Valley, people would come. And did they ever. We recently spoke with him about the twice-yearly Kingston phenomenon called Field + Supply.

HVM: First things first. What inspired you to create Field + Supply?

Brad Ford: I grew up going to arts and crafts fairs and they really were my first exposure to design. Through my work I came across so many exceptionally talented makers in the Hudson Valley and I wondered, “What if we could modernize the traditional arts and crafts fair?” The rest is history!

HVM: How was the planning process? And why Kingston?

BF: The fair grew organically over time so the planning wasn’t as daunting as you might think. We learn as we go and adjust accordingly. Hutton Brickyards in Kingston is a more recent development because we outgrew venues in High Falls and Stone Ridge. Now we have plenty of room to spread our wings.

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HVM: Were vendors eager to sign up from the get-go?

BF: Yes! Even I was surprised by how much interest there was from day one. And not just from makers. It was apparent that the community was hungry for something like this.

HVM: How do you curate vendors?

BF: Participation is by invitation, and we are very particular. However, we are always interested in learning about new brands. Potential vendors can fill out a form on our website to get on our radar. We look for craftsmanship, quality, and artistry in order to keep the overall event at a certain level. I aim for elevated, but not exclusive. There are high-ticket items but there are also quite a few that are reasonable. We look for the best of the best, whether that’s furniture or locally sourced honey. There’s something for everyone.

HVM: How has F+S grown since inception?

BF: We started with just one fair in the fall, but now have a second in the spring. We also have smaller holiday markets during December at Senate Garage in Kingston and Wildflower Farms in Gardiner. At this point we probably have over 10,000 people each year go through.

Field + Supply vendors at Hutton Brickyards.
Field + Supply vendors at Hutton Brickyards. Photo by Dany Seo.

HVM: What’s the vibe like?

BF: Each market is a real happening, with live music, delicious food, amazing product offerings, and special extras, such as book signings, wine tastings, and children’s activities. Also, dogs are welcome! It’s fun to see all the different breeds.

HVM: In 2020 F+S expanded to online sales. Was that a Covid-related adaptation?

BF: Yes. We had always talked about developing an e-commerce platform at some point, but the pandemic definitely fast-tracked that idea.

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Photo by Kevin Tachman

HVM: Do people shop online year-round now?

BF: Yes, we have quite a bit of traffic throughout the year which is great. It relieves some of the pressure of people feeling like they have to make all of their purchases during the fair weekend. Now they can shop whenever in the comfort of their own home.

HVM: Any insider advice for people heading to Kingston?

BF: Saturdays can get pretty nuts and parking can get a little hairy, so I suggest coming early on Friday or waiting until Sunday. It’s buzzy throughout the weekend, but Friday and Sunday are a touch calmer.

HVM: How do you envision the future of F+S?

BF: It’s hard to believe this is our 10th year, but we’re super excited to continue scaling and coming up with different ways to celebrate craftsmanship. We’ve assembled quite a community of some of the most talented makers around, in the Hudson Valley and across the country. As long as they continue to create beautiful work, we’ll continue to host Field + Supply for them to showcase it.

For info and updates, go to fieldandsupply.com and follow @fieldandsupply on Instagram.

Related: 7 Charming Fabric Stores and Quilt Shops in the Hudson Valley

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