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Watertown Art Fair 2021

The day before Hurricane Henri hit us, I had a booth at my very first art fair! 

The weather was warm and soupy and I sweat more than I thought was possible, but it was a great experience!  I met lots of people, had human contact (yay), and sold a few things too.  It was surprisingly very ego boosting.  So many people had kind things to say about my work.  It was a balm to my soul.

If you're interested in all the details, I put together a vlog all about the experience and it's available now to Maker & Super Learner Members.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • People looooove a bargain.  My 1 card for $7 and 4 cards for $20 was a big hit.  Almost everyone walked away with 4 cards.  I also think it's a lot easier to make an impulse purchase of $20 rather than $350.
  • Keep the booth simple and clean -- not too many little things for people to look at.  I think it's important to have some kind of large image to bring people in and then you need to help them to focus. I would have liked to have hung more art, but that wasn't possible this go around.
  • To demo or not to demo?  I had an area for demo, but people at this fair weren't really in the mood.  I probably could have simply had some "tools of the trade" to use as talking points.  On the other hand, one of the reasons I didn't get any demo in is because the crowds were pretty consistent and so there wasn't a lot of down time.
  • I made it work with (mostly) stuff I already had.  If I were to do shows regularly, some things I would invest in:
    • A tall chair.  I stood the whole time, but a tall chair that put me at eye level with the customer would have allowed for some sitting, which my feet would have appreciated.  This one even has a little table and some storage pockets attached.
    • A print rack.  I made a DIY print rack, but I think when you're selling more expensive pieces, it's nice to have professional surroundings.
    • Wooden boxes for display.  I used milk crates (because I already owned them), but I think the booth would have been "cuter" with wooden boxes, like these, instead.
    • Folding tables that fold in half.  We tied the table to the top of the car and it was not my favorite driving experience.  It made a terrible noise and I just worried the whole time.  Tables that would fit inside the car, would be awesome.
    • Grid wall or something similar to make hanging art in the booth easy.
  • I liked my booth signage.  I used white paint on black tar paper and I thought it looked great and was "on brand" for me.  I definitely needed one more big sign that said: all work in the booth is original one-of-a-kind.  I would also consider making some signs that explained the process a bit.
  • I made two really good purchases before the art fair:
    • I purchased table covers and they made the mismatched folding tables look great and were totally wind proof. For some reason, brown was half the price of white or black, so that's what I went with!
    • I purchased a tent.  I did a lot of research and I'm very pleased with the one I chose.  It kept the sun off of my back and I didn't worry about a light rain.  I know that I'll use it again -- at another art fair or simply in my backyard.
  • I should have spaced things slightly differently.  People had to stand on top of each other to look through the bins.  I should have spread them out more -- and had two bins of cards instead of one.  Or maybe a card shelf to really grab people's attention.

All in all, it was a great experience. I couldn't have done it without the assistance of my Mom and Steve.  Between some serious baby wrangling and some sweaty physical labor, we got it done as a team!  Yay!

If you're interested in purchasing a piece of art, I've released 10 of my favorite mixed media collages in my shop.

Have you done an art fair before?  Any tips to offer?