So this was my second time that I participated in the All Arts Market. Since I knew what to expect this time, I wasn’t nearly as flustered as I was in my earlier post. If there was any tension at all that day, it came from my nine-to- five job where things were pretty hectic.
I rolled into the Neighborhood Theatre a little later than I had hoped but the setup didn’t take too long. I picked a different booth which happened to be across from the one that I had at the previous showing. It was still a pretty good spot because of the ample lighting.
Overall, the turnout was great. It was nice to see people coming out and supporting the arts community in spite of the cold snap in the weather that evening. I saw some familiar faces from the market and even some I recognized from the Ahlara Arts Fair in October. My “neighbors” who sat at a booth next to me at the market were the same ones who sat across from my sister and I at the fair. I didn’t recognize the photographer at first, but once I saw her pieces I remembered who she was. She later said the same thing to me. I guess that proves that art really can be an extension of yourself.
From a sales standpoint, I didn’t do too badly. While I was disappointed that I didn’t have time to create cards for my Twelve Days of Christmas series, I did make prints which worked pretty well. They were pretty well-received and “Six Geese A-Laying” was the star of the show.
Also, I learned some little lessons along the way.
1) Never underestimate the importance of choosing the correct color matting for your art.
I like colored mats a lot because they tend to they draw attention to certain colors that are already in your work. I find that I cannot resist buying them. People however, seem to gravitate towards neutral or white mats, and as much as I love color, I discovered that neutral mats sell better. They tend to be cleaner and allow your art to do the talking. Buyers are concerned about what looks good in their home and they may be overwhelmed by a brightly colored mat framing an already brightly colored work.
Sometimes though you have to just go with your gut when it comes to colors. I used a loud, royal blue mat for two “Six Geese A-Laying” prints and sold them both.
2) Making the best use of your booth space
This is something I need to improve on. I had a lot of prints but would have liked to have had more of my originals. Unfortunately they take up way too much table space. That’s where one of those wall display screens would have been very handy. I did see some artists using display screens behind their tables to hang their art. My problem ultimately would have been trying to fit those display screens into my car!
Some booths practically looked like living rooms with warm lighting and nice shelving. Next time I will lay out my table a day or two PRIOR to the next event so I know exactly what to do when I arrive.
3) Be prepared to talk about your art.
It can actually mean the difference between making a sale or not. The potential buyer needs to identify with the art in order to make the purchase. Don’t make up a bunch of flowery BS just to make the sale. If you don’t have a specific story to tell or a message behind you art, then talk about your technique or the medium that you’re using.
There were quite a few people that asked about the story behind my art and at first I felt a little weird talking about it. As an introvert, it’s a whole different ball game when you are talking to someone about it face-to-face versus writing about it. Overall what I found was that the more I talked the easier it became, and soon enough I was enjoying it.
If you think that your nerves will get the best of you, it may not be a bad idea to write down some bullet points about your work and memorize them until you get the hang of speaking about your work.
4) Manning Your Booth: Sitting Your Happy Behind Down vs. Standing Up
At the beginning I was standing a lot, mostly because like most Americans, I have a full-time job where I sit on my butt all day. I continued to do so in such manner with this almost wooden, pageantry smile on my face looking around greeting everyone that passed by. Then I got tired and sat down. That was when people started buying. Maybe by sitting down it made them more comfortable and they could enjoy their time looking at the work without someone standing or hovering over them. Whenever they had questions, they would ask me. If they had something to say about my work, they would tell me. Whether I was standing or sitting, I did make a point to speak to people even if offering nothing more than a simple, “Hello.”
Now there were other artists who were standing and interacting with people but that seemed to work if the artists were selling three dimensional pieces with a functional component. For instance, the gentleman behind me was selling these beautiful birdhouses so he was constantly on his feet talking about his technique and materials. I also think it depends on your personality as well.
5) Have Fun!
And I did, to the extent that next month I am going to do it again on December 8 and 9! I’m sure there will be more lessons to learn!