Sunday, October 24, 2010

The First REAL Show

 sold this painting yesterday!
"I Dream In Color" 2010 
collaboration between my son and I

First off I'll say that I am so blessed by all the amazing people I met and talked to at my booth and was ecstatic to have my artwork be admired and loved by so many of them.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you who have bought something from me (at the festival or online) and supported this dream of mine.  You have blessed me more than I can say.   I went into this thing having NO CLUE whether I would sell anything at all or if I would sell out too quickly and look unprepared.  Happily the reality was somewhere in between.  We started off a little rocky...  my son decided that the night before would be a great night to not fall asleep until 1am, and with my sister and her husband sleeping over in his room, he was tossing and turning away between my husband and I for quite awhile giving me lots of time to overthink and start freaking out about stuff I didnt want to forget in the morning.  The result was a total night's sleep of 3.5 hours for me.  Its a good thing adrenaline and stress can keep you pretty alert regardless of how tired you are, because I was exhausted as I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30a that morning.  Turns out that motivating 4 adults that just finished a week of work and one very sleepy toddler to get into the car in 45 min is basically impossible, and we found ourselves arriving at my space at a very tardy 7:10a (the festival starts at 8a).  We figured we were fine since no one really shows up to a weekend festival until at least 8:30 or 9am.  But as we started unloading the trailer, we started to look around us and noticed that EVERYONE else had been there at least 2 hours already and were just doing finishing touches to their booths.  We started to freak a bit.  Then it got really stressful.  My over tired toddler wanted nothing else but to be carried by me and would throw a fit if I put him down.  My husband had to park the trailer at the designated parking lot, which was apparently located in the next county because it took him 20 minutes to get there and back.  So we were down a person and a half (I had one productive hand), my sister and her husband were setting things up as fast as they could and we are a frazzled spastic bunch surrounded by a mass of bins, merchandise, packing material, and display gear when all of a sudden the crowd ARRIVED.  WHAT!!! It was only 7:30! Who starts shopping at 7:30am on a Saturday while people are still setting up, AND ITS BARELY LIGHT OUT?!! McIntosh people, that's who, as I quickly learned from my very gracious neighbor that this was normal for this festival.  So we took a big breath, greeted our customers and welcomed them into our chaos while we set up all my books, necklaces, paintings, prints, and other bits around them as they poked around.  It didnt seem to bother them a bit that I wasnt ready, and so I just had to let go of my expectations and enjoy the process.  I was honored that they were intrigued enough to take a look even before I had made the display look pretty.  Once we had everything set up and my clingy toddler passed off to my husband for the day, sales immediately began.  I hadnt even located the transaction materials in my box yet or setup my credit card table and I found myself frantically searching for a pen, the slips, bags, change, and such while people patiently waited on me.  There was no trickle in and slow build up to sales, it just started and never stopped for almost 6 hours.  My sister and I barely spoke to each other as we flew around the booth taking care of person after person.  I couldnt believe the response!  The day went really smoothly from then on, and slowly trickled down around 3ish, and before we knew it, it was 5pm and time to start packing up.

Here are a few tips I learned along the way:
1. BE EARLY!! (or at least on time)
2. Let go of expectations and just be in the moment
3. Ask for help (from help with set up, sales, food needs, child needs, packing up, and so much more, I couldnt not have done this without my family's support and freely given labor)
4. Take care of yourself (it is so easy to get caught up in the waves of customers trying to engage people, promote sales, but if you dont take little breaks to sit, stop talking, EAT SOMETHING, go pee, or whatever, you will feel it in a bad way the next day).
 5. Wear a cute dress! I bought super fun and cute dresses for my sister and I to wear for the show, mostly just because we wanted to be cute, but turns out that people asked all day where we got them from and just loved them, and even said they didnt know what my booth was but just knew they had to check out what we were selling based on how cute our dresses were) - we felt Carrie Bradshaw fabulous (Thanks!)
6. Offer Freebies - the free buttons were a hit and did help draw people in the booth that may not have stopped in the first place

Oh and bonus tip #7 - CHECK YOUR CAMERA FOR THE MEMORY CARD!!! (turns out when I stopped to snap some pics of the booth, that the memory card was never put back in my camera.  I couldnt take pics that day to share with you like I planned, but I was able to record a little video  and here it is

So now I have 5 days to prepare for the next 2 day festival.  I cant even imagine what new stories will come from that.  I do have quite a bit of work ahead of me to get ready for it, a bunch of necklaces to make, more free buttons to punch out, and art prints to do, and I couldnt be more pumped to get started!


  1. I'm so glad it was a success! I thought of you and tried to nudge my family your way, but the timing just didn't work out this weekend. God bless!

    Lauren Relyea

  2. Congratulations Harmony!!! It sounds like it was crazy good :)

    Your booth looked great & your artwork is always wonderful!

    Hope you're able to rest a bit before next week...


  3. Wow what a story, that is an awesome response to your work and rightly so, your work is pretty, unique and totally sellable i'm sure your next fair will be just as good :)

    Micki x

  4. Congratulations Harmony! The booth looks great! I am so excited for you! Good luck at your next show!

  5. So great!!! I want to buy all your stuff! If only I had more money. Someday my friend. bummer the last show wasn't as exciting but that's ok - Good to know which ones to put your energy into next year... Hope you and the family are well.

  6. I'm the lucky owner of the sweet little bird painting!!! Thanks for your amazing artistry. He is hanging on the wall now.... but will find his final home in my baby boy's room when it's completed. It's such a sweet painting & I love that your little boy helped with it! I hope to buy one of your journals soon :)


Join the Conversation!