Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Fair Experience

Well, my first art fair is under my belt and I have to say it was a SUCCESS!  I didn't sell a lot - only two paintings, but one was a large $300.00 painting so I was THRILLED!

Set up went very smoothly, I sat next to a booth with someone who I used to be close to but hadn't seen for 15 years, even saw an old boyfriend from high school I hadn't seen since graduating!!

Tear down with only my sister to help was a dream.  Only took 40 minutes!

I had some thoughts about improvements.  I think it went better the second day when I took the walls off the tent so people could see the booth as they approached down the isle.  Being in the tent vs not to let them look undisturbed is still a question I have.  I noticed a lot of vendors sat behind their booths, both to get out of the sun, but I think also so they were not on top of people shopping.  I also wondered about how many paintings to display.  David Marine suggests not having too many available paintings on your DPW site at any one time. (just a few in fact) so that people are not overwhelmed with the selection.

I would love to hear feedback from others with their thoughts on selling in person.

But all in all a great two days!



  1. Well done karla,the main thing is you did sell.This must be a huge boost to your confidence and you will learn the best techniques for selling as you go along.Great Start.

  2. Congratulations on the sales, Karla! I know that must feel so very good!

  3. june in ireland who loves to paint and craftAugust 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Congratulations, Karla! That's fantastic news that you sold two paintings. In these troubled economic times, making $300 is absolutely wonderful and defnitey something worth celebrating.

    There's an amazing surge of elevated self-confidence and self-esteem when you sell something you've created. I've been doing crafts fairs for eight years now, and I can still remember the very first plaque I ever sold (I paint onto wood, as wall hangings/plaques). I was almost in tears (of joy) and a sense of extreme joy, pride and something akin to shock, realising that someone actually liked my painting enough to want to give me money for it! An amazing, incredible sense of achievement, accomplishment, and elevated self-worth, pushing all my former anxieties and doubts about myself and my paintings way, way down.

    I still feel that sense of shock (in a good way) and delight when someone buys one of my plaques at crafts fairs - especially the very first sale of the fair day or weekend (I usually sell more plaques at Christmas fairs).

    Enough about me, though. This is about your success, and how well you've done. I'm delighted for you, and know this is only the start. Just keep painting, and keep going to fairs (art fairs as well as crafts fairs - a lot of crafts fairs have visual artists selling their paintings and limited edition prints of those my hubby always does.

    Congratulations and well done! Now go and celebrate!

  4. Azra, It was a great boost! After that first big sale I would have been happy with that for the whole weekend.

  5. June, It is so nice to have you write a comment. Thank you! I have to tell on myself though. I knew the person who bought my painting. I told my husband that I am not a very good sales person because when she said she wanted to buy it I looked at her and said "Are you sure?". Lol!

  6. june in ireland who loves to paint and craftAugust 28, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I giggled in shared understanding with your asking 'Are you sure?' Although I've never said it out loud, inside I was asking that very question of the first few people who bought my plaques. After that first sale, I turned to my hubby and, barely able to contain myself and keep myself from physically jumping up and down, I said 'Someone actually likes my painting enough to buy it! Isn't that amazing and fantastic?!' He said, 'Why are you so shocked? People aren't going to spend money on rubbish when it comes to art and crafts pieces. They like what they saw, and they wanted to have it in their home, hanging on their wall.'

    He's right. And, just for the record, it doesn't matter that the person who bought your painting already knew you or is a friend or a family member. It's still a person who really wants that painting and wants to buy it from you. Not because they have to, or because they're your friend or family, but because they like it enough to pay money for it.

    You'll become better at 'being a salesperson' as you do more fairs. I'm always nervous and anxious on the first day, or the first couple of hours, but then I begin to relax and just enjoy the experience. Of course, once that first sale happens, you can really relax and enjoy the rest of the day. I can literally feel my shoulders de-tense and my inner self de-stress once that first plaque is sold. It's still an amazing and exquisite feeling, as well as an exhilarating one.

  7. Karla, I was wondering how your show went! Congrats, congrats, congrats!!! Exciting isn't it? Selling your own art is not easy! Even with a high-end sales background I find it a bit unnerving. But your instincts are correct on the approach you took with your customers, out front and visible. To hide behind the booth tells a story of indifference to the consumer, if your not interested then why should they be?. If your art is important to you then you should be out front ready to answer questions and hand out cards. When you engage them by asking them questions or commenting on one of your pieces you give them a bit of ownership. Personally handing them a card also creates a physical bond of interaction. A paintings or two that is touchable really helps with ownership. If you encourage people to touch your painting, for example, by keeping a small impasto knife painting near by and let customers touch the artwork as you explain about knifes etc. It adds another element to your paintings,touch. The more intimate your paintings are to those who stop in the more success you will have. It helps you build a clientele of people who now understand your art much better than just looking at it on the wall.
    BTW.. I loved your "Are you sure?" Remark.. :-D How did your customer react to it?
    Again, congrats!

  8. Catherine, Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I really like your ideas about sales. They make totally good sense.

    I was still finishing the set-up of the display when she approached me about buying the painting so she caught me off guard. After I said "are you sure?" She said, "oh yes, absolutely". Then her friend said. "Do you have that much money?" She said "Yes, I want this painting"

  9. That is what you want to hear! A client that knows your paintings speak to them! Then takes it home. Way to go..


Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment!