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My First Art Festival

My First Art Festival

Last weekend was my first art festival and craft show where I set up a booth to sell my art glass.  It was a wonderful experience.  My hopeful goal was just to sell something as I would hate to do all the work, sit there for two days and not sell anything.  My secret goal, of course, was to sell lots, (1) just because it would make me feel good and (2) I didn’t want to cart all the unsold items home!  I would say, I was some where in between the two goals probably closer to the first.  I covered my costs which included having to buy things like tablecloths and a sign so that was very good.

While getting ready for the show, booth layout was probably the most stressful for me.  I knew I needed some dimension meaning not just a flat table and kept trying to figure out how to add this.  We had some IKEA shelves we were no longer using and my husband suggested cutting one in half which I could then put on the table as a shelf system and then remake the other to hang earrings.  We used some old antenna wire between the peg holes for the earning hangers and then used twine and S hooks to hang sun catchers.  I also brought the other shelf unit just in case, and we ended up setting it up at the back of the booth.

IKEA Shelf Repurposed for Earring Stand

IKEA Shelf Repurposed for Earring Stand

I hadn’t thought I would need help sitting there for the two days, but my sister-in-law joined me both days and it was wonderful to have someone better at engaging people, keeping me company, and also helping wrap as I was doing the money transactions.  Thanks, Kim!

The best part of the weekend was all the valuable lessons learned from listening to people’s comments, both those they intended me to hear and those they did not.  Here are some of the lessons learned:

  1. I have a mold for spoon rests and have made several over the years, however I heard a couple of people indicate it was just too big. Time to buy a smaller mold.
  2. I wanted to offer choices so I put some pendants on chains and some on cards without chains (for a few less dollars).  Regardless of how the pendant was displayed, people always wanted a chain, but often of their choice.  So I think it would be better to somehow display so people could pick the pendant and then pick the chain.
  3. A corollary to #2 is that I only had chains that went up to 18” and many people needed a larger size.  So I have ordered some that are 22”-24” for the future.
  4. At first we hung some pendants onto the wooden shelves on the table.  But we noticed that everyone tended to just look down and so we moved them all to the table to get seen.  I still think dimension is good, but am not quite sure how to set things up so that people look at everything.
  5. My last lesson was to talk to others who had done the show before and listen to their advice.  Several people indicated that while they liked the show and it was a good show, it was mostly attended by visitors who were in town more for the festivities and to eat and drink rather than open their wallets to items.  So while I really prefer to make the larger plates, I made sure to have lots of small items on hand like pendants, small dishes, soap dishes, picture frames and so forth.  And these were exactly the items I sold.

Overall well worth the experience to give this a try and perhaps one day I will do another show, maybe for the Holidays.

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I have been selling my glass art on Etsy for a little over a year now.  I have read many other glass artists talk about how they are more successful selling their products at craft shows, but I have not plunged into that arena yet.

My glass art though will take it first plunge in October by participating in an event in Coos Bay, Oregon called ZombieFest.  Thanks to the wonderful members of the Etsy O.C.E.A.N. team, several of them will be manning the booth, running a treasure hunt through our Etsy listings with gift certificate awards for the winners, and handing out business cards for potential future sales.

I am starting off small.  My offerings include magnets, barrettes and pendants.

Fused Glass Art pieces ready to send to Craft Show

I have been warned that this show is perhaps not the best show for selling things as ZombieFest is more about the music, food, contests and fun.  However, people will be wandering by, seeing our names, and learning about our Etsy sites.   I will be excited if even just one item sells, especially a Zombie Eyes magnet!

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