I'm still cutting my teeth at the show/fair event element of showing my work. I've only just developed a comfort level with putting my work in the gallery at the studio where I rent space. Shows are equally inspiring/terrifying. This weekend's Mother's Day Austin Flea was insightful. This time I went in prepared, to the extent of having a blue print of my layout created before I arrived at the venue. I wound up abandoning it when I realized they gave me much more space then what was originally indicated. I was outside (which is new for me), and situated in front of some gorgeous succulents beneath a hot Austin sun. Now that you have a sense of ambiance, I'll get to the lessons learned:
1. Bring bigger pieces to display, not to sell. For me, I find I sell a lot of my smaller work - cups, mugs, small ice cream and cereal bowls. I think seeing larger work helps give people an idea of your skill level, but at outdoor events like fairs and craft shows, people only buy what they can comfortably carry. People with an interest in bigger items tend to take business cards and buy later from online locations. So, my back (not to mention my wonderful, great and supportive friends and family) appreciates the notion of a few bigger pieces, and lots more smaller items that are easy to take home.
2. There really is a thing about mugs. That sounds ambiguous, and it is. There will be a post on that later this week. For now I will say that I've developed a love affair with them, and the number of mugs I sold this weekend supports that. Since I'm enjoying all the things I can do with them, I plan to make many more. But it's not about the sales. It's about people and their interactions with them. More on that later.
3. The heart cups really hit home with folks. Originally I created them as a Valentine's Day promotion. Now, I love "LOVE" but I really hate Valentine's Day. Perhaps that's why I sold so few of them in February, lol. People could sense my utter indifference. Outside of the holiday though, I found people totally "got" them. Made me so happy, I plan to crank out more of them, too.
4. Some of the most innocuous things make the very best table accessories. I tried to get creative this time, used my stand and boxes to elevate pieces I really wanted to showcase, and you know what? It worked. I felt like people really lingered at the table at this event. I lured them with work at varying eye levels and colors instead of using candy or sparkly lighting. If you get creative with how you display your work, it is all the adornment you need. At least that seems to be the case for me, I like simplicity and the subtle creativity of understating things.
5. Selling pottery is much more enjoyable when there's a bartender less than 15 feet from you. The dude tending bar at the Rattle Inn is friendly, awesome and mixes a mean cocktail.
I'll be working this summer on developing this obsession with mugs and cups. I'll also be planning on making some bigger steps in solidifying my show participation. It's a good challenge for this introvert potter.
Wow. I'm a potter. I still get a little giddy at saying that.