Updated: 5 days ago
Hello and welcome,
Thank you for joining me in this cozy corner of the interweb! Today is all about beginnings. As exciting, yet stress inducing, and nervous ridden as they may be.. they can be life changing and abundant. I've been wanting to share little bits about my start into creating a business with my art practice, so here we go!
Beginning a journey as an artist and combining that alongside of making it into a business brought on all sorts of woes. As a predominately self-taught artist, I felt I was diving into merky waters. I have been feeling the tugs and pulls of creating a career of art making for so so long, and I just had to answer the call.
I, along with many other artists, were told a career as an artist is one in a million and just not attainable. The chatter and opinions I've heard over the years.. you need a degree... not just a degree.. you need a masters.. need to work in a gallery... need to be in a big city... you need this and that... Blaahh!
These are truly false statements. If it calls to you, there is a way to make it work. It is not so called conventional (conventional is yuck anyway) it takes time, patience, and hard work, but it most definitely is possible.
The world needs your art, please Do NOT listen to the voices that say the art market is over saturated, because there is no one else making the art that's inside of you. This road of an artists life is very much a calling, but for so many years many of us have been spoon fed the lie we need to go be something else. I say no more of this.
This calling has been pulling on my pant leg and at my frizzy curls for roughly eighteen years before the thought finally hit me.. that I could maybe possibly do this thing. For my self-taught artists, I just want to share with you.. I did not go to art school, I am a community college drop out, but I have an internal love of making art. That's what it takes.
I am now entering my second holiday market season and although the economy is not particularly thriving in most areas, there are an abundance of people near by who honor craftmanship and handmade items with great appreciation. I believe that is a great benefit to success for the local artists and makers.
So far, I have had more success with local markets then online sales, but it is still quite early in my business and I still have so much to learn in the land of e-commerce. Having better success with local events came as surprise to me, but they have shown me that humans still love and appreciate art, and also really love supporting small businesses.
THE ART MARKETS
Gathering ideas for a vendor booth set up was something I began doing on Pinterest probably a couple of years prior. (Here is a link to my Fair Plans Board for some ideas) https://pin.it/46R4IGH This was due to my wanting to begin working art markets long before I was able to. Although I was eager to get started, collecting ideas and going to art fairs as a customer allowed me to really get a feel for what my likes and dislikes were for my own style of set up.
However... I did not expect to be so thrown off when I finally set up my first practice booth in my living room!
I thought I had everything mapped out in my mind, it was going to come together beautifully... NOPE!
Physically setting everything up changes everything, I promise! This may be quite obvious to most, but I was waaaayy over confident in my set up abilities.
Unless you have a background in interior design or staging (and even if you do), I highly recommend setting your booth up weeks in advance. That way if you realize you are in need of certain items, you have plenty of time to get them, and then try setting up those new items too!
Your check list is together, your outfit is picked out, you've mapped out space in your car and make sure everything fits, you've packed meals/snacks and enough water to last you the whole day, your cash for change and financial apps are all updated and ready to roll.... you're ready!
But wait.. often there is still something we might forget, and that's ok! Don't be hard on yourself, you make a note in your trusty little notepad so remember for next time. In this first year, most fellow vendors were so pleasant and encouraging when I mentioned that this was my first art fair or first year doing this, and often began offering tips they learned along the way. Communication between others artists has been so wonderful and very helpful. I am quite shy by nature, so I was a bit nervous to speak up to anyone, but once a couple other artists approached me it got easier each time and now I am beginning to be the first to speak up to others.
Similar experience with customers, after you begin a few short conversations, it gets easier the more you do it.
Eye contact and a hello will bring in customers, it sounds cliche, but it's 100% true. More times then not this makes a connection and can lead to a sale, I've seen it! Being fully present for any questions that may arise really helps the customer experience.
Another little tid bit I've learned along the way is variety with price and merchandise helps make more sales. The ugly truth of the times right now is that a lot people are struggling, but they also want to treat themselves to bring some joy and beauty into their space. That is where the artists enter! Offering my art in prints at a variety of sizes and affordable, but also PROFITABLE prices, is working and I encourage you to try this too. I was able to invest in a good printer, find some great quality art print paper, and print my own prints! This way overhead is much lower and I will be able to produce inventory consistently.
Variety is key, get creative with it! I know you can :)
If you would be interested in more future tips about Art Fair experiences feel free to comment! I love to share in hopes that more creatives have the confidence to pursue their dreams.
Until next time, well wishes to you all!
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