After months of building inventory and putting together my 'outdoor exhibition gallery', I finally did my first art fair.
It was Houston's First Saturday Arts Market -- 2 miles away from my house; 40 artists; 11am - 6pm; good weather for the most part (being hot & muggy this time of year).
My inventory was decidedly light for two reasons:
- I had another show that evening where I had a 12' x 8' wall to fill with artwork, and as I started all this only in February, I don't have a huge supply.
- My medium is encaustic (hardened beeswax), and although I tested everything a month earlier with a booth temperature of 110 degrees, I did not want to risk the majority of my show pieces getting dinged during transport or sitting in hot cars. So half my stuff was at the other show.
Sales-wise I only sold one thing, but it was the most expensive piece I brought, which more than put me in the black plus give me a shot of encouragement and satisfaction.
This art fair has been going on monthly for a very, very long time, and most of the artists were regulars. Therefore the operation went very smoothly. There were music groups that played a short distance from me throughout the day, so I was never bored.
The crowd was decent I guess, I have nothing to compare it to.
We had a brief rain. It was just enough for me to see that the only place water was pooling on my tent was on the awning.
I was positioned with the rear of the tent flat up against a building, so I had no good place to hide away my packing/supplies. Underneath the table was mostly coolers.
Lessons learned (in no particular order):
- Figure out a better place to sit, a place that doesn't block the artwork.
- My labels were constantly falling off, get them to stick better.
- Booking the earliest setup time in order to ensure a spot out of the afternoon sun was a smart choice.
- The temperature in the booth hit a high of 100 degrees. I did not have any problems with the wax becoming tacky, nonetheless I think I will forego future outdoor shows in Jun, Jul, Aug, and Sept.
- I had electricity but my cellphone charger was bad. Bring a spare one next time.
- Hide away all the non-art stuff better;
- My display table turned into a work table. Keep the tape, scissors, water bottles etc off of it.
- I did't have any prints, just original pieces, and nothing was less than $150. I guess it's time to think about prints and other lower-priced items.
- My first-thing-they-see pieces were pretty good eye catchers I think. And every piece got at least one compliment.
- The husband & wife team across from me were really pulling in the people with their combination of unique art (alcohol ink), colorful display, branding, and chatty draw-you-in banter. Not me.
- Be grateful for the one sale. I think some of my neighbors had 0.
- Practice my artwork wrapping skills on various sizes of pieces.
- PayPal Here is A-OK for the customer sales experience, but I think I left it in a state such that the app was draining my smartphone battery.
- Pack plenty of fluids.
- My do-it-yourself make your ice cooler into an air conditioner was a flop. Just use the fan as a fan.
Thanks for everyone that critiqued my home made display panels. They worked out pretty well.