Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Experience Setting Up a Jewelry Booth for October's First Friday ArtWalk

I keep saying that things are starting to settle down and I should be able to get back on track here, but then I have a bit of a bloggy hiatus. I won't say it yet again. However, my craft room is about as good as it's going to get for a while, my daily to-do lists look a little more normal, and I feel less frantic in general; so let's keep our fingers crossed!


The beginnings of my booth sans lights, busts, and sign
For now, I want to share what I did over the weekend. Actually, it was Friday night. Downtown Fairhope has what they call 'First Friday Artwalk" each month. I was invited to set up a display booth at a new local restaurant, The Bone and Barrel, (some friends own it and it's amazing, but whatevs). I bust my booty trying to come up with a good setup and make a few new pieces.

A few of the new pieces I created before the event.

I was asked to limit my table to four feet. That worked out well since the only portable table I currently own is four feet long.
Set up and ready at The Bone and Barrel for First Friday ArtWalk

It hit me as I awoke one morning that I had impulsively bought a vintage typewriter that would work great to give some height and layers to my display.
I really adore how this looked. It garnered lots of interest from the kids there who wanted to pound on it.

I spiraled out of control from there, adding duck cloth and burlap ribbon as my table covering, using some glass cake plates (handmade with thrifted plates glued to fluted glasses- made YEARS ago), stacking books for interest, and laying out a few of my laser cut busts Pat made.
Lots of layers for texture and interest.

The front of the table looked bare, so I made myself a banner sign using paper, stencils, paint, glue, and basic twine. I was told to bring lights with me, so I bought one small one and then added one from Pat's office.
As the sun set, I was relieved that we brought more than the one light I initially thought would be okay.

I had a friend point out that my booth style definitely had a writing/text theme that I didn't even notice. I guess I have a style without intention: typewriters write out words; my busts, foam board, and jewelry cards all use old book paper, and the books on the table are full of text. I'm glad someone helped me recognize that theme, because I was just going with what I like, I guess it's words!
These are some of the laser cut busts Pat created for me. I adore them!
On Friday, Pat helped me transport, unload, and set up everything. He's my hero!
Loaded up and ready to go.

The booth got quite a bit of interest, but I didn't really sell anything. I'm not too bummed about it though. It was good exposure, a fab experience, and a lot of fun (we saw a bunch of friends and family while out on the patio). I'm hoping to try again next month.
Long necklaces laid on on foam board covered with dictionary text.

For your reference and mine, here's a list of what I took:

  • Jewelry (sorted, priced, and ready to go)
  • Table
  • Table coverings (duck cloth and burlap ribbon)
  • Banner sign
  • Displays (typewriter, busts, foam board, cake stands, books)
  • Tape and scissors (just in case)
  • Cashbox with cash, change, and Square reader
  • Receipts
  • Wrapping materials (tissue paper, paper baggies, baker's twine, and washi tape)
  • Business cards
  • Extension cord, 6-way power strip, and cell phone charger

Would you recommend removing/adding anything to it and/or do you have any advice for others like me just starting out selling our art in a booth-like setting?  And, what do you think in general? (please be kind, I'm new at this)?

Like I said above, it was a good experience overall, and I'm looking forward to another opportunity to show my creations. Thanks to those who came out to support me!

12 comments:

  1. Hope, the table looked great! And that's funny that someone pointed out the words...imagine that--a blogger who loves words! It's perfect!
    As far as what could you have done differently--nothing. You did exactly as you should have. Not selling is just the way it goes many times. It doesn't mean anything and if you let your mind wander trying to find out "why" nothing sold, you will begin to doubt yourself, your style, the quality, the prices, etc.... Everything you've done, that I have seen, is great. Believe me, it's not you or your work. It's just that most people who attend art walks don't purchase...they're there for the free drinks and atmosphere. You will sell some here and there, but it's just a hard way to make a living.
    I'm sure there will be those who disagree with what I've said, but I've been doing this a long time, and that's my opinion.
    Just have fun!
    Judy

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    1. Your opinion means a ton to me. I'm so glad I'm on the right track. I recognize that I don't appeal to every market and can deal with that okay (some time are harder than others). I just want to make sure I'm going about this right. Thanks so much for the vote of confidence! :)

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    2. I agree with everything Judy said. Chris never sold anything on First Friday either, but it's good for the exposure, networking etc..

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    3. I think for me,it works out pretty well to start out this way. . .surrounded by friends and supporters, really small, not much pressure, no booth fees, etc. You know how shy and nervous I can be. I think if I had sold a couple of things, it would have boosted my confidence a bit, but overall it was a great experience for me. Thanks for letting me know how it worked out for him too!

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  2. That must have been so much fun! I haven't been to an Art walk yet, but my friend Judy is always raving about it~ how cool to have a table at your friends restaurant...LOVE the typewriter display and all the "words" funny!
    Jenna

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    1. Jenna, I did have a blast with the whole thing. The coming up with the display, the making of a few new pieces, and getting to see people look over my jewelry. Of course, I was panicking about talking to people, but after a drink or two (it was a bar and restaurant!) I was just fine! ;) Thanks so much for dropping in here!!

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  3. I was stuck volunteering at the art center all night and didn't get a chance to come by and see you! Your table looks fabulous, and don't worry about not selling anything. I'm not sure people are really out to shop much on First Friday anyway. They go out to eat, drink and socialize, but you are right that it was great exposure! Keep going.

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  4. Having seen the table in person, I say it was great!! No changes necessary!

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    1. Shellie, You are too sweet! I know there's some tweaking to make some of the signs/cards stay up a little better, but overall I'm smitten with how much the display is me. I'm glad you liked it too! Thank you for ALL the support!!

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  5. Hope, your table looked wonderful! Sometimes, it isn't about the sales the first time you set up somewhere, it's the exposure, ting new people and experience here is something you might want to try for the next month. When I did my first booth at the farmer's market a couple of years back they had never had someone selling jewelry and I realized that many people might not have come prepared to BUY it but I needed to help them remember me. I made little "treat" bags very small and partnered with the booth next to me (which just happened to be my grandson, selling home made soap). We each put in a coupon for first time buyers, a "frequent buyer card", a business card, I also put in a Hershey kiss, a tiny tumbled stone (which are so darn cheap) and a little postcard that told a bit about the businesses. I had some leftover refrigerator magnets with my business name that I put in some of the bags. I got them really cheap from vistaprint. People were thrilled to get something free and the next time we went people were looking for us. With your bookish theme, bookmarks would be a great freebie. I made a bunch very easily with images from Graphic Stock and my own printer then laminated . The beauty of bookmarks is that almost everyone uses them and if they get left in a book that gets returned to the library............well.........heck, there is another new person who never even came to the show!

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    1. Oh thank you for all the advice. You've definitely got me thinking about how I can promote myself a little more at these events. It is a party crowd there, since it's at a bar, so handing things out is kinda hard. I will try to figure it out though. Thanks for all the great ideas to ponder!

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    2. How about partnering with the business to where they can get a discount on their food/bar tab with purchase and vice versa.

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Thanks for stopping by! It means so very much to me. I love to hear what you have to say.