The long awaited Art Rising show in Seattle was last Saturday. It was my first market experience, and it was great!
I had been preparing for it for about a month; planning the setup of the booth and the layout, and getting everything ready to be put up in the shortest time possible. I learned that behind every clean setup, there is a long list of tools and items, from the obvious twine and scissors and double tape, to heavy-duty bookends, a hundred binder clips, rolls of webbing, and triglide slides (I didn't know what these were either until I had to buy them to make my setup possible ;)
The last few days I worked on a few more keepsakes so I would have more to show, and to sell as-is. (Check my Instagram for preparation steps :)
And the entire time, I was praying for sunshine.
And sunshine there was :) Phew! It took Gus and I about an hour and a half to set up. I could NOT have done it without him. From the muscles to the height, to the feedback on how the booth was looking, and how he kick-started the day by talking to people passing by and inviting them to the booth.
The day started slow, but around 11:30, there were more people walking the market, kids playing in the park facing us, and just a general positive vibe in the sun.
Unlike other more recognizable products like t-shirts or jewelry, my product is custom, and it's a new concept that needs some explanation. When people were looking in my booth as they were walking, they had that stare, trying to understand what I was selling. If I didn't tell them what they were looking at, they often wouldn't have had time to get it in the three seconds it took them to pass my booth. So I was standing at the front of my booth the entire day, helping the market visitors understand what my product was: "These are custom keepsakes made from children's outgrown clothes!"
Very few didn't stop in their tracks then. Yay!
The positive feedback I received all day was overwhelming! I was so happy to hear compliments on the quality of my work and my illustrations, and of course, the concept itself. It was great to chat with so many nice people and tell them the stories of the keepsakes I had displayed on the table or as photos on the posters.
My main client is usually mothers -- no specific child age, as long as the moms have kept clothes from when their children were babies, and so many actually have! -- I was surprised to see so much interest from everyone else, to give as gifts for moms they know. From grandparents to brothers and sisters, to friends of moms. Many people enthusiastically asked for multiple business cards to give to their friends, and entered the keepsake giveaway for them! Isn't that nice?
I had a few signs reminding people that next weekend is Mothers' Day, and these helped me sell a couple of Mothers' Day vouchers with plaques! Both plaques I sold were the "supermom" ones. Supermoms surely deserve a unique gift :)
I also sold a few vouchers, two of them to be given as baby shower gifts. These vouchers have been stars at baby showers! A sweet gift for a new mom or a mom-to-be.
The day ended with Gus coming back with the girlies. I was so happy to see them!
I wanted to show Laurie "mama's work" in action and she was asking me "why is your work on the street?" :)
Friends gathered at the end of the show too, and they helped us pack everything and take big items back home.
I can say it was a great day, it went by faster than I thought it would, but it was still exhausting for me to be standing all day and talking. I can't wait to do the next show! That will be June 24, in Edmonds!
On a side note, I wanted to share how happy I am to be in Seattle because of these two services:
1. Nextdoor is a neighborhood community website that we use to post things from classifieds, to neighborhood warnings and events... I asked to borrow a canopy for my booth and found a nice neighbor who was happy to lend me his canopy for the day, and showed me and Gus how to install it, and pack it away.
2. Amazon Prime Now: At 10:00 PM the night before the show, my Square reader (the little device I need to take credit card payments at the market!) was nowhere to be found and I panicked. The only option was to order a new one from Amazon Prime Now. I ordered it at 10:15 PM, and it arrived an hour later. A nice gentleman delivered it and texted when he was outside so he wouldn't wake anyone up so late :)
Of course I found my Square the next day.
I know, first world issues, but I do love Seattle :)