Brockport Arts Festival 2018

This past weekend I participated in the Brockport Arts Festival! It was my third year being a vendor at this show.

I didn’t know how to mentally prepare for the festival this year, partly because I haven’t really worked on my art business lately, but mostly because I was so uncertain about how it was going to go because this show was going to be so different: I wasn’t bringing my jewelry, which is hands down my top seller. Instead, I was bringing only originals and prints. I’ve only ever sold a few prints at any festival, even the two day ones. I was taking a big risk, and with this being one of the more expensive shows that I do, I was really nervous that it was going to be a big flop.

Little did I know how unprepared for the weekend I actually was…

The New:

I love love love how the new displays turned out. They really make the prints stand out, and they make set up and take down go SO much faster (set up was a new record at an hour, take down clocked in at half an hour!)

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I also had more print designs! I finally have about 95% of the drawing a day challenge pieces as prints!

The Good:

This was the first time I’ve ever had to come home from a festival and work that night!!! Because I sold so many prints during the day, I had to restock Saturday night! And then I sold all but one of those newly restocked prints on Sunday!!!! I’ve never sold that many prints before, nor did I even expect to. I don’t know if it was just because the weather was so good this weekend, people can see the prints better now, or what exactly it was, but I was horribly under stocked and under prepared for that kind of business.

I’ve also only ever sold one original in all of my festivals, but I sold THREE original drawings on Saturday! One was to “Skunk Lady,” who came running into the booth asking where her skunk was, another was the giraffe, and then one woman and her husband came in, saying they weren’t buying as they had spent all their money, they just wanted to look around. However, when they saw my Blue Heron drawing, they had to have it. They both collect herons, and even just bought a house with a pond so they can see herons all the time!

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Saturday was record breaking sales for this particular show for me; it was by far my best Saturday and my best year at this show so far.

The Bad:

Only having a small supply of print paper and packaging in stock so I couldn’t restock my prints as much for Sunday a much as I had hoped to. But I ordered a bunch more while I was printing off what I could so I can make up a bunch later this week.

I was the only one in the Drawing/Graphics category, which means that even though I was judged, no awards were given out for the category because there wasn’t competition. I’m not in it for the awards, but it’s frustrating.

The Ugly:

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The street under my booth. Oil spots galore, blech! Mental note: get an outdoor rug to make the ground cleaner and prettier! I think it would help tie everything together and just feel more cohesive. But I’m not sure there’d be room in the van for that….

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Funny Things:

It’s not unusual for me to have people walk into my booth and ask if I have a certain subject available for a print. Sometimes I do, and when I don’t, I will add it to my list if I think it’s something I’d enjoy drawing or that many people would like. Well, I had one request that left me speechless. A gentleman entered the booth on Saturday, looked at the prints, paused. Looked at the originals, paused. And then came the request:

“Do you have any stick figures?”

I must have looked pretty funny standing there, caught off guard with my mouth wide open, because he replied “I think not! Too much talent!!!” and walked away!!!!

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Another question I got was “Are you an I artist?”

I had NO CLUE what that was. So I asked the woman what she said, and she repeated it:

“Are you an I artist?”

I told her I didn’t know what that was, and she laughed, saying that she can’t get over how well I draw EYES, that they really make the animals look real. We laughed about that, and I said yes, I am an Eye Artist, that I love doing the eyes the most!

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Things To Change:

Part of me would like to do two more of my print displays so I can have more up. I’d have four be along the wall where the three are, and then the fifth one would be along the back wall in the corner by the others. But, I don’t want to overwhelm shoppers with too many choices, and fitting them all in the van would not be easy. I could get a trailer, but I really don’t want to drive it around!!!!

I also need to bring a lot more prints!!!! There are certain styles that I’ll definitely need to bring a ton of stock in because I couldn’t keep them on the shelf.

I need to get some of these squishy foam tiles! My feet always hurt from standing so much at these festivals (yes, I have a chair, but I always stand to talk to customers or to package up orders), but my genius neighbor had these and said they save her back and feet.

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Will I Do This Show Again?

I don’t know. I love this show. I had the best sales ever this year, I have customers who come back to find me every year, and this is just a fun show to do. However, there are some things that I really don’t like about this festival and how it’s run, and because of that, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I don’t want to not do it because I do so well and I love my customers, but I have to figure out what is most important to me for doing a festival and go from there. Thankfully I have a few months to decide!!!!

 

Have you been to any festivals yet? What is your favorite part of attending one? I’m a sucker for the food, especially the candied almonds!

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Rebranding: Display Progress!

One of my 2017 goals was to rebrand my business by changing up colors and making it feel more cohesive…and then a week later, I decided to rebrand the rebranding.

Confusing, I know.

I’m really loving the new direction the business is going in. I feel more confident with how it’s going to look, and I think the business as a whole will feel more cohesive. I tried to tailor most of the Drawing a Day challenge towards the landscape and natural feel, and honestly, the ones that fit that theme were my favorites and even lowered my stress levels while completing them!

I was excited to start making my vision a reality. The tablecloths and runners were already here, but the displays needed to be made. Here’s the look I was aiming for for my booth display:

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New Booth Displays

You may have seen in my AppleUmpkin post that I made some new updates to my booth displays. The displays that I had weren’t quite working for me, and I knew that I was going to need more and better displays for new products.

After browsing Pinterest, I really didn’t have any ideas on what I wanted for my note cards and new earring style. I found displays I liked, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money if I wasn’t sure I knew that was going to be the display I’d use for a really long time.

I started to stress about the festival, and I was running out of time.

There was a day about a week before the festival that I was taking a van load of donations to a local second hand store, and at the bottom of my pile was a cardboard box full of wooden boxes. The boxes had been given to me years ago, full of art supplies. The boxes didn’t quite work for me for storage purposes, but I loved them too much to get rid of them.

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Wooden boxes, before…

So in my basement they sat.

Last year I decided I should get rid of them, but I could never quite bring myself to actually take them out of the house.

And I’m so glad I didn’t!

They have dividers in the bottom half and a hinged lid, and are super sturdy. After some playing around, I figured out how to turn them into my displays!

I took two boxes and removed the hinges and hardware, then painted them black. The bottom halves became note card displays; I used to have them displayed in baskets, but you couldn’t see what styles were in the baskets, and this allows shoppers to see what styles are available at a glance.

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Testing it as a note card display

The tops I took and hinged together. Once put on it’s side, I attached some ribbon for hanging the earrings on.

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Box lids before…

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Box lids after!

One box I left the top and bottom together, but removed the handle and latches. After painting it black, it became the display for some of my Christmas items!

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Testing out Christmas display layout

I didn’t take one of the box bottoms to the festival; it was supposed to hold my Christmas cards to sell. Yet again, the Note Card Gremlins attacked. Before one of the┬álast festivals I did, all of the settings for the printer got messed up and note cards wouldn’t print properly. This time, my blank note cards disappeared, so I had to reorder new ones. After they arrived, my printer would print about 3/4 of the note card beautifully, but for the last couple of inches, the note card would get pushed crooked and print incorrectly. My tech guy (aka my husband) will be checking the printer and trying to remove the Gremlins from it soon, so I hope to have Christmas cards available soon.

What would you use these boxes for?