Well I had another show at the Santa Fe Artists Market this past Saturday. The previous week was rough and it was time to redeem myself. What made it rough you may ask? Well, it was windy, and people don’t like wind. The more wind=less people, therefore less potential customers. Wind is my new enemy. Love Mother Nature, hate the wind. Wind can also potentially destroy tents, blow artwork off the tables, and just plain create havoc everywhere.
So this week, I wanted to do better, mentally prepare myself, bring some great artwork, adjust my attitude and being more positive. And pray there is little wind.
So here are a few things I learned at my art show this time.
- Make sure you have your good tableclothes at the show. It’s the one thing I did forget and I couldn’t go back to retrieve them, the show was starting. Check the night before and make a list of everything you’re going to bring, put it out by your bed so you won’t forget to bring it the next day. Fortunately, I did have some blankets in my car that I used instead. You can see for yourself in the above photo.
- Get some good night sleep. I went to bed a little late, maybe 12:30am. I wanted to relax the night before and just bought the original Karate Kid movie and watched it. Had several burgers and chocolate wine too. It’s ok to relax and let loose, but try to go to bed early if you have to get up at 5:30am. I wasn’t too tired, but I could’ve had more sleep.
- Love your neighbor. All of the vendor’s tents were very close, every inch counts, so get along with your neighbors and don’t have tent wars. It will create bad vibes that could haunt you during the day. I was in a good mood and had patience. It’s pressure enough selling your art, but don’t fight with other vendors if you can help it.
- Experiment with your booth. I just started to push the tables to the front of the booth so everything will be forward without much guesswork where things are. I even took 2 grids, took bungee cords with large clips and attached to my tables, to create a wall for my larger work to hang. Nothing wrong with experimenting, I’m just trying to find the right setup that works well. I felt good about this set-up this week.
- Speaking of Bungee cords, grab a few. They are valuable for connecting your weights to the tent so your tent won’t go airborne. They have become like gold to create my walls with my grids.
- Bring guestbook to collect new fans. I didn’t have my business cards with me, but I did ask some people who appeared to be true fans that they can sign my guestbook and I’ll shoot them a link to my website. Plus, they can also receive my free monthly newsletter. I like this approach, because building trust is essential in maintaining long relationships, and it get the people involved. It also helps to assure them that you don’t believe in spam. And I hate getting spam too.
- Start a conversation or at least smile. Who wants to stop at a booth with the artist looking so grumpy? I know I wouldn’t. I sometimes struggle because some days I’m in a bad mood and it’s hard to wear a fake smile on my face. I try to greet many people as possible to my booth, start asking them, “Where are you from?”, “What kind of art do you collect?” and so on. I just want to get to know them better and see if I can help them. Last thing I want to do is come across like a salesman. I hate salesmen as much as wind. I’m down to earth and want to express my true self. Good presentation keeps you on your toes and makes you look good. You want to sell art, but just be a bit subtle about it and don’t act like a shark.
- If the wind does suck, make the best of it. It was worst this week than last. Vendor’s merchandise was being thrown around by the wind, some vendor lost 20 clocks. The market decided to close early as a result. Vendors even helped each other close down and fold the large tents. I had a good day in spite of this. Sold 1 painting and some notecards. Sometimes you can’t win against nature, but you want to live to show your art another day too.
I hope these steps are helpful to anyone showing work outdoors at an art fair. I’ll continue sharing my info with all of you interested. I will put up some new art very soon as well.