The Open Fair is now closed!

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I’m home! And I have one rum and Pepsi Max in me, and I’ve caught up with all the internets stuff I missed from being gone all day.

The venue was packed full of exhibitors. I had half of an 8 foot table, and a hard wall behind me. It was tiiiight. There was a painter to my right, and a wood-crafts couple on my left. I had to ask painter lady to move a huge painting so I had some wall space. All of us had to squeeze between my end and painter-lady’s table to get out on to the floor. Here’s a couple of really bad iPad camera shots of the room, from my view point.

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First pic shows the length of the room. There were back-to-back tables in two rows down the centre like that pic, two more in the middle, and then all three outside walls were filled. Lots of people! Bakers, jewellery makers, knitters, photographers, painters, pasties (not usually an Irish thing, and not what strippers wear), woodworkers, a salsa dancing couple that offered lessons, bog oak art, people doing something that had something to do with angels… loads! I was the only one doing digital art, and the only one doing inexpensive portraits.

Here’s my wall…lots of familiar faces here!

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A hurried slap-dash stick it up there quick effort! We were running late.

And, because I see no reason not to put my face on here as long as I don’t use my name (until I decide otherwise)… Here’s me posing in front of my wee ‘booth.’

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So… I didn’t sell anything, at all. Neither did painter-lady, and the wood furniture guy sold two candleholders and one little wood framed mirror – and he drove two hours to be there! I did have two people (that I know from town) show real interest in having a portrait done; one for herself and one as a gift. One little girl asked her daddy to buy her a picture of Fergus, but daddy said no, the meanie.

That was really it! But I am NOT disheartened or disappointed. I had the guts to do this, first of all. My hubby, my sister, and my best friend are proud of me. And you know what? I’m proud of me, too.

I know what needs to be done differently, now. I know how to talk to browsing strangers, and I know how to get their interest, sort of. But mainly I learned that when asked if I have a product or a service the answer is service! The shoppers didn’t want something later, they wanted it now, and since I didn’t have my service in my head as what I was actually selling, I didn’t convince anyone that I had a product. Does that make sense? It does to me… It wasn’t the right forum for what I was selling, the way I was selling it. Next time will be different!

One last pic, of me with my precious iPad now showing my markdown on prints; and me, showing by my smile that I am not defeated!

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26 responses »

  1. Congratulations on surviving your first show. They get better, I promise. I didn’t sell anything at my first one either, but by the second one three months later, I got enough orders to convince us to keep going.
    Did you post the penguin pic? I never saw that! Looks great.
    Have you thought about framing any for show purposes? Cheap ikea frames. They even come with mounts in them. If there’s a free wedding fair on anywhere near you, go and check out how they show pics. Framed things automatically look better. Also, you can use lenghts of chain over the top of the back wall of stand and picture hooks to put them up really easily and the look totally pro. Also, frame your logo.
    D

    • I think next time, NO prints at all, or hidden under the table in case anyone asks for one. They got no interest at all, but kept me from talking about my portraits. Ikea would be ideal, but they are 2.5 hours away! Long drive for cheap stuff.
      I put penguin and a dinosaur up a few days ago, dino got a ‘meh’ vote but penguin was OK’d. I think I need to contact kid’s shops directly and offer the designs for kids’ rooms, and do more little kid stuff like giraffes, bunnies, etc.
      We printed the ‘sign’ last minute for free at hubby’s work, A3 and laminated 🙂 I also had a photo print made. No one was interested in the original art – wrong market. Older folks who were crafty already for the most part.

  2. Hey! Nice to see you, both in the text and in the photos! I was checking your blog today several times to see how you were doing. 🙂
    I’m so happy for you that you had this experience and you are right, some things are better understood when you are already acting, already on the stage, so to say, so you can feel the audience and now see what it is that they need.
    Are the organizers of the fair planning any events like that in the future?

    • I’m curious: do I look anything like what you pictured? I see you as slim, not very tall, and dark-haired, by the way 🙂
      The Open Fair is actually a charity organisation. A big donor from the USA helped a lit, it seems. The organisers were all volunteers, and I think the venue donated the space. They said any of us, if we wanted to, could ask to run one locally! Yes, there will be more, but even though my country is small, it is hard to drive far. The roads are bad, and the petrol is so expensive!

      • I see 🙂 Do you think you are going to open an online store or something like that?

        No, you look different from what I imagined 🙂 Maybe it’s because I first saw you in the halloween mask … and also you talked about the bike… LOL So I thought of a tall lady with long dark wavy hair and a large nose, like some of ancient Greek statues have.

        I can leave a link here to my photo on flickr, if you want. I don’t have many pictures of myself. I think I’m similar to what you described, although I wouldn’t say I’m really “slim”, I always want to be slimmer, LOL :))

        • I’m curious, too! Please? This is the first time I’ve showed my face here 🙂 I’m not naturally blonde, I dyed it red for over 10 years, then tried to dye it my ‘real’ color and picked wrong – I’d forgotten! The sun bleached my hair a bit, I’ve not dyed it since May. Sort of messy, surfer-girl look at the moment! I’m sure the winter will get me back into boring brown with my fabulous grey streak 🙂
          I was just talking with the hubby about our weight. My opinion right now? I don’t give a fuck! I’m not perfect, but at 40 I no longer feel the need for perfection. I look good for 40, dammit! Good enough for me, especially as I love to tan and don’t wear makeup!

            • Wow, look at you! Even more beautiful than I expected 🙂 Fabulous cheekbones! I think I had you pretty close, though 🙂
              I’m terrible at age, too! My father is over 70, feels like 50’s to me, at the most! My friends here are usually younger, but that is primarily because they don’t have children yet, and I am not going to, so we have time to share with each other. Someone young enough to be my daughter feels like my age to me.

  3. I’ve been waiting with bated breath hoping to hear!

    Dang, that was a huge learning experience! Probably a very friendly way to come to understand your market so well!

    Congratulations!

    And, you’re cute as a bug! Thanks for sharing pics! (Your iPad is cute, too–don’t want to slight IT!)

    • I thought of you a lot today! I bet you would have made a killing here, shame it costs a small fortune to ship things here! The Irish ARE friendly, that is a stereotype that holds true for the most part.
      Aw, thanks… I think… I haven’t been ‘cute’ since I was three 🙂 Well, I was a cute boy! I’d like to ask you if I look like what you pictured, too – I find these things fascinating.
      hmm… Is the iPad male or female? I’m torn. I think it is gender-unusual, but am leaning toward a ‘her.’ I’m rambling… There have been many rum n Pepsi’s since the post and dinner is just now being served! I only went there as I felt the need to say he, or she, photographs well! She has a glow 🙂

      • Dang, can hardly remember what I guessed of your appearance now that I’ve seen the Blonde Amazone! Maybe I was thinking compact, short hair, but mostly with an aura of energy that was the strongest first impression.

        She has a glow…. hmmm… hee hee! Let’s leave it at gender-unusual, or I KNOW! Let’s make up a gender for the iPad!

        Didja not charm ’em with your Amerrrrican accent?

  4. Oh yay you. With an attitude like yours, you WILL succeed. I am so impressed. And I am so totally PSYCHED that Ivy and Stewie went too!! How totally wonderful. Kim’s husband is of Irish stock and he will be so happy to hear this.

  5. Have you ever encountered the art of Donna Barr? She’s in the sidebar of my blog — I am mostly her fan but an occasional correspondent. I ask because she’s an enterprising working artist who is always looking for a way to branch out into selling art in different ways, on top of a long career as a drawn-book author. She has just gotten into this business of selling art at conventions using her iPad, so I keep thinking of her when I read about your plunge into the world of art commerce, Browse her Deviant Art page and string of blog and social media feeds.
    http://www.donnabarr.blogspot.com/

  6. You and your art looked great. Do not get discouraged – trade shows are always a mixed bag and may be strange….but you just never know. (Collected email / contact info on a clip board so you can send them info of where you will be next?)
    A cheap idea for making art show well: place art on top of sheets of black construction paper – it “frames” the art and makes the colors stand out. (You can overlap items – just keep black behind each piece.)
    If you carry a couple of black strips of cloth (each one a foot wide and 8-10 feet long – fold as needed) those can be clipped/pinned/draped on wall or backdrop behind table (on either end of your space)so that you have a visual separation between your neighbor’s art and yours. (and make them stay in their allotted space) It will make your work show up more – and look more important – less visual clutter to distract.
    Just keep plugging away – it takes time. Great start

  7. Congratulations! That was so brave of you. I love your choice of logo. I’m so excited for you. 😀 Are you selling online too? I’m sure you’ve posted about it but I miss things.

    • Thank you! Well, I opened a PayPal account, but haven’t figured out all of the bugs yet. I don’t have a website other than this one… I’m not a web designer at all and sure can’t afford to hire one. I also don’t really have a business name – anything clever I thought of was taken! Getting myself out there online is the next step for sure. Etsy, I suppose…

  8. Even “failure” teaches us. Considering no one else really sold anything it sounds like no one was really buying anyway. I thought you did a good job with as little time and resources as you had. Hell, I’ve never had the nuts to openly sell any of my stuff!!

    I think having prints available (even if not on the table) is a good idea. You may technically be selling a service, but if someone asks for a print it would be nice to have one at hand.

    I enjoyed seeing you!! It’s been a long time!

    Luckily for me I live in Alaska. For some reason Alaskans aren’t really considered American.

    • Yeah, people bought food and little things like candleholders. Oh well.

      I don’t think I look too much different from when I was 26! You don’t, either 🙂

      Really? I might mentally lump Alasakans in with Oregonians – both groups lean more toward arts and creativity, with a higher tolerance for rain in Oregonians and a higher tolerance for hard work in the Alaskans.

      • Nope, you pretty much look exactly the same to me. Someone else recently told me I looked exactly the same. Hell, I’m not gonna fight them!

        Seems like a lot of other countries are fascinated with Alaska, so even people who normally dislike AK tend to like it. The scary thing is a lot of American’s don’t realize we’re part of America. I kinda wish I was joking about that. It’s pretty damned sad. Some of the questions are just beyond stupid.

  9. well good for you.. every step out is a step in the right direction.. looking forward to hearing how the next show goes, remember the WAY you present your images is very important.. look at how you are hanging your work. They need to work together to drag people over.. Only have your very best work displayed! and always make it look as though a few have sold already. have a few that are NOT for sale, people always want those..you will do great.. c

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