Sunday, April 24, 2011

My First Art "Fair"

I recently was able to participate in McKinney's annual "ArtWalk" where artists are assigned a storefront in our little downtown and allowed to set up examples and demo if they like.  There were over 150 artists and I had to apply for a spot.  I was accepted and assigned a health smoothie type place called Lifestyle Nutrition and Shakes (website is down).  I had an enormous corner and I set up my own tables and "tent".  We initially set up a pegboard which would have been PERFECT if it hadn't been for the wind.  It was so blustery, I had a hard time showing any work other than in a plastic bin.  At first I was worried but lots of people came right up and began looking through the bin.  I was so completely unprepared and I thought I'd share a little about what I learned.  Here are ten things to consider:  (some are totally obvious but for me, I hadn't thought of them or need to do differently)

1.  Bring money to give change...I decided I'm going to buy a little cash drawer so I can have something organized and lockable.  I was fully NOT expecting to sell anything and I actually sold quite a few pieces (prints and originals!).  I felt foolish when I was giving change from my wallet and then had to run down the stairs to the storefront to get change for a $20 bill.  Luckily, the customers didn't care one bit and continued to mention how much they loved the art.

2.  Look into the paypal app for iphone or droid.  Customers can actually make a payment to your phone if you log in to paypal, send a request, and then hand them your phone to input their info.  A customer told me about this and I researched it a little when I got home.  Sounds very cool and EASY!!

3.  Make lots and lots of business cards and give them out like candy!!!  Bring more than you think you'll need!!!

4.  DO NOT FORGET YOUR APRON if you are going to demo anything.  I spent all morning waiting for my husband to drop off my apron before I really started painting anything.

5.  Don't bring too much stuff.  You really need very little to show your stuff and demo a little something for people to watch.

6.  Don't wear white.  Duh.  How silly was I to do that??? 

7.  Have a notebook or business binder so you can have paper, pen, and a place to put people's info if they are trying to give you business cards, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever...I threw stuff in my purse and luckily I've found everything but it would have been nice to calmly open a notebook or something and tuck away important info.

8.  Eat.  Take a break and eat something.  Don't deprive yourself because people might see you or you feel "too busy". 

9.  Label all paintings with purchase price.  Leaving one or two tags off and then being asked the cost of something can make you feel on the spot....especially if you're not sure right away.

10.  Secure your tent, umbrella, whatever it is you bring so that people feel confident walking into your area.  We secured 2 posts of the 4 but it was so windy, the front popped up and nearly hit 2 passersby.  YIKES.  I felt sick with worry but luckily, no one got hurt and it was near the end of the day!  Not sure what we'll do next time but I do know we'll have it figured out before we start.

I know that some of you have done lots of shows so these may seem ridiculously obvious.  If you have other tidbits to share, please comment.  I'd love to hear what other people have experienced!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter (or Passover)...we dyed eggs last night and I always forget how much I LOVE to do that.  Here is a quick pic:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Megan! I've been doing shows for over 20 years and I'm still learning! I've got it down pretty good--I wish there was a way that I could forsee the good and bad shows however ;)
    Sounds like you had a great first show experience--that's the hardest part--the very first show--good luck with everything you try!
    P.S. Great tip on the Pay Pal!



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