Oh Brockport, how I have missed you.
While this is my first time participating in this festival, Brockport was my home for four years while I was in college. It is where I met and fell in love with my husband, fell back into love with art, and where two of my three kids have been born. A lot has changed in the ten years since we’ve graduated, but I still feel at home there.
Day 1 of the festival was Saturday. Our original plan was to set up the booth and tables Friday night and do a picnic dinner on the college campus, allowing us to give the kids a tour of where Pete and I met, had classes, and hung out. However, I was going to be in the business district, so set up didn’t start until 6 am Saturday. The kids ended up staying the night at their grandparents, Pete and I got up around 4:30, and we were at my spot setting up a little after 6. When the festival is 10am to 6pm, that makes for a loooong day.
I have soooooo many stories to share, so I had to break it up into a blog post for each day of the festival.
As this was my first juried show and my first official two day show (AppleUmpkin was 2 days, but as I was outside of the festival, it was more casual and laid back with a lot less traffic), I had no idea what to expect.
My first customer of the day was actually another vendor, Bridget. She quickly picked out an earring and necklace set, and asked me to put them aside until she made her first sale, which I happily did. We became quick friends over the weekend, and hope to do shows together next year. She does glass work; check her out on Etsy!
The first official sale of the day was an awesome story. A husband and wife came in to check out the jewelry, and asked if I had anything to match a necklace she had. She pulls out this BEAUTIFUL amazonite necklace, and she has been looking for earrings EVERYWHERE for it. Like, her husband was even in Brazil and couldn’t find earrings to match (but he did find a bracelet!). I pulled out my binder of extra earrings, and right there, was a pair that matched perfectly. They were so excited to have finally found something!
I had someone else walk past my booth, saying loudly “Oooh, surprise surprise, MORE JEWELRY.” And next thing you know, she’s coming right back into the booth going “OH! These are so different! They’re beautiful!” and she bought earrings!
Another woman came into the booth, and she was so cute and funny. She says she forgot to put earrings on that morning, and she just doesn’t feel right without them on, so could I please pick something out for her that will match her shirt so she felt better. Her shirt was white with coral and magenta flowers, and I just happened to have white earrings with coral and magenta accents available! She put them right on, and was thrilled with them.
My neighbor Debi was amazing, I learned so much from her! I didn’t have all of my bungee cords with me for some strange reason, so she let me borrow some of hers. She also watched my booth for bathroom breaks if the festival volunteers hadn’t been around in awhile. She’s going to help me find other shows to do for next year that would fit my business well, and if I do Brockport again next year, we’ll try to be next to each other again. She also won the first place ribbon for her category!
Highlights of the day:
My brother from another mother, Steve, came to visit me with his family! I hadn’t met his son yet, and hadn’t seen his wife in years 🙂 I met Steve at Brockport; he was a friend of my brother’s (who also went to Brockport!). The three of us would do lunch or dinner a couple times a week, and he became our other brother.
The weather, although it was pretty scary looking at times, cooperated! It sprinkled a few times, but by the time we got all the walls down to protect product from the rain and wind, it would stop. There was another festival about half an hour from us where it was so bad that people lost products, their tents, and there was flooding.
Part of me was really worried about my prices. I just raised the prices of my jewelry to account for my time, something I hadn’t been doing before. It’s only a couple of dollars, but still, it was a really hard decision. About 95% of the people during the entire festival said I was extremely reasonable or that they were too low. No, I’m not going to increase again unless I have to, but that was just a wonderful thing hearing that.
Hard parts of the day:
The heat. Oh man, it was awful. You’d be sitting in your booth, just pouring sweat. Whenever it would start raining, we’d all run into the street and just cool off.
The crowds were really slow Saturday, especially in the afternoon. The heat was a big factor, as well as the chance for storms kept people away.
How I did:
I made my booth fee back by 12:30 or so, which is where I definitely wanted to be for sales that weekend. However, I made no sales after 1:30, so the next four and a half hours were so slow. I did better than other one day shows, but as I was driving home that night, I was seriously thinking I wasn’t going to do this show again.
It was also discouraging as I only sold jewelry that day. I do the jewelry because it’s unique and wearable art, and I love making it. However, I want to do my paintings and drawings, and the jewelry pays for the supplies for that. But when I don’t sell any works, I get discouraged. I know most people may not be able to afford my originals, but to not sell any prints was hard, too. It’s something I’m going to have to be thinking about for the future, but for now, I will keep doing the jewelry and the art and see where it goes from here!
Day 2 of the festival was definitely a better day; stay tuned for that post coming up later this week!