(Read: Day 1: Set Up)
Day 2: First Day of the Art Fair
The first day of the art fair went so well, I sold fingerless gloves, and lots of note cards and postcards, and some purses and jewelry.
Of course, not everything went as planned.
Last night I set my alarm on my phone for 8am, so could wake up with plenty of time to get ready, go pick up my assistant and get to the show. Well, turns out my body and my brain were not on the same page come morning. It’s probably because I had the worst time trying to sleep last night, my dreams were melding with my waking thoughts, and I couldn’t tell if I actually fell asleep most of the night. It’s probably my adrenaline’s fault.
Well, when my cat alarm went off at 9, I had hardly enough time to get the dogs out and get dressed and go. Its about 30 minutes to The Barn from my apartment, so I knew I wouldn’t have time to go get my assistant, she is about 20 minutes the other direction. So thankfully her mom was able to bring her to my place, and we made it out the door with 25 minutes to get to the show before it opened at 10.
We got there 2 minutes late and there were already people shopping my booth, and the first couple hours were filled with customers, and questions, and introductions, and my nerves were totally rattled. I was excited, nervous, anxious, and everything all at once. I couldn’t stop my hands from trembling until after noon, when I was feeling much more comfortable and at ease talking to people about my work.
I feel that the more shows I am able to participate in, the more experience I will have being comfortable around so many people. And the more I am able to talk about my work with people, the easier I will feel doing just that with so many strangers in new situations.
Some Things I Learned From The First Day
Be willing to accept as many forms of payment as possible. For instance, I signed up with Square Up to be able to accept credit cards with my phone. And I went to the bank and got some change like if it were a register at a store. I wasn’t really sure how much in what denominations I would need, so I made it easy for the first round and got $30 in 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s, and a roll of quarters. I didn’t end up needing any of the quarters, but I almost ran out of 5’s. Also, accepting checks is helpful because, as it turns out, people still write a lot of checks.
Make sure to leave space for a place to sit. Thankfully there was a bench across from my booth area, but I had put up so many things I didn’t leave room to sit down. Also, been thinking about this a lot; having a bar stool height chair is going to be more helpful then having a dinner table height chair, because then if you have a bad back or other disabilities that keep you from being able to stand for long periods of time, then you can still be relatively eye level with people your talking to about your work. Plus, its much easier to stand up from that height as well.
Have lots of items that are in the lower price range. So far everything I have sold has been in the 20 and under range. Altho, I am finding that my paintings and photography are getting a lot of mention and its really wonderful to hear what pieces people like and which are their favorites, but so far I don’t think this is the venue for higher priced items. I listened to two young boys point to about half my work and say “Oh, I really like that one.” It just warms my heart.
If you have work that is wearable, then wear it, have an assistant wear it, and if there are people walking around from the venue to assist anyone, have some of them wear it too. One lady across from me, makes really cute scarfs, and is part of the Woman’s Art Club, she had like 5 helpers wearing her work with the tags to show it off, and her table was really busy.
Walk around and get to know the other vendors, listening to their stories and sharing your own will help you to bond and feel part of the group. Then when you see them walking around it means so much more to smile across the room at them, and it really helped me to feel at ease being around so many other people that I didn’t know.
Bonus On The Way Home
Well, I had been telling my assistant that I really needed to get a bar stool height chair, and all the ones I was finding were like $60! I wanted something to bring to fairs that was comfortable and would allow me to sit and talk to people with out being in so much pain from standing. Turns out, her eye is pretty slick, she saw one on the curb as we were driving home. A guy was selling it for $5, it’s padded, and swivels (altho I need to get some WD40 for it), and he had just painted the metal so it looks really nice. He was also selling cute scrolly mirrors, 2 for $5, I got those as well. I think they will be a great addition to my booth space to hang on the wall over my jewelry area and people can see how they look. I love how things work out like that when you need them.