Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's A Wrap

Whew. The rain held off most of the day and the G Street Artist Fair is over for the summer. Yesterday morning started off s-l-o-o-o-w. I admit I had an uh-oh moment when by 11:00 I hadn’t had a sale –this is in contrast to the last show in June where I had tourists wanting to purchase my work before the fair and my booth were completely set up. But the day turned out good sales-wise, down a bit from the June Show but considering the weather and end of season tourism, all good. This kind of up and down day gave 

me time to think about my artist friends who were new to the event with their inventory questions. Another important consideration of my Show/Fair inventory is always what are my plans for the residual or left-over work? I’d like to not have this issue and sometimes there are not enough pieces left over, but this time I had more than I thought I would left. Oh well. My production estimates were good on the Wind Salmon, steel Garden Ravens and Outdoor Chime Sculptures but I didn’t sell one of the ornaments! Last time I didn’t have enough of the less expensive ornaments and made extra… so much for the “creative crystal ball!"

I also should have had better signage because we needed to use the tent walls to block the stormy weather (sorry, the booth images aren't very good because I was still setting up). I had a smallish sign I hung outside the tent wall to tell customers who was inside the booth. The rain had beat up my potted flowers that I like to have embellish the booth and could only bring the Irish Moss pots –they were the only ones that weren’t slug bit and weather beaten! I try and always have a plan for where leftover works will go. There are usually a few phone calls or e-mails after an event where customers want a piece they saw at the show and regret not buying it, or they are buying as a surprise gift etc., so I usually hold on to all my left-over work for a few days. My plan for the leftover work from this show was varied. Lucky for me, Carol and Vicki from Bad Girls of the North will have another booth at the Alaska State Fair this month and requested a lot of Ravens and some of my fun Dog pieces. My larger wall sculptures (which only a couple of them sold at G Street yesterday) will get to go Half Moon Creek Gallery here in Anchorage, which really needs new work from me. Lastly, my artist friend and entrepreneur Katie Sevigny wanted to buy wholesale a few leftover pieces from me to have in her hip, downtown Gallery, Sevigny Studio.

After re-thinking my not-too-savvy booth components (or lack of) I decided to weld up a new display for my Garden Ravens. It worked great and I think it will also help Vicki and Carol to better display my Ravens at the State Fair. For good sales, the inventory, booth design, pricing and marketing are essential to compliment the actual ART. There is an aRt to the successful selling of ArT at special events, festivals and fairs. As an ARTtist I feel I need to be a super-woman mix of talented-original-being, *gracious* salesperson and wise businesswoman to make a decent, full-time living as an ARTist. Not only do I need to look at new ways to display my work more efficiently and attractively to help with sales, I need to stay on top of technology. For the last show I needed to upgrade (my old terminal which the bank said was no longer "compliant" is on the left) the technology of my merchant services equipment, which is a whole other facet but probably one of the MOST important. My booth neighbor, Shara of Octopus Ink Clothing has a booth each weekend at the Anchorage Downtown Market and had signed up for every G Street event as well. Yesterday she and her boyfriend were running both booths simultaneously. Without power to our G Street Fair booths, I had to manually run my credit card sales and input into the new terminal when I returned home last night, which costs me more by not swiping & capturing or even doing store & capture at the 

moment of the sale. Without power to the booth, Shara uses a battery powered terminal and another artist I know has bought a terminal that uses a satellite phone (the terminal was VERY expensive) to completely capture and approve all of her credit card sales. There is even a merchant credit card transaction App for the i-Phone I might look into but then I'd have to first get an i-Phone...(I'm sayin' it's gonna cost me 'mo money, 'mo money, 'mo money). Anymore 80% of my sales are purchased with credit cards and I can't afford not to accept credit cards. It’s also time to consider what my fair and show schedule will be for 2010 and it’s clear that if I’m going to include more festivals and fairs, I will need to upgrade my booth and get on top of the whole new merchant technology –oh, and make some more ART!

PS- Linda, these are the light strip bars I zip tie to my grid wall panels when I do indoor events with power. They are similar to the lighting

 I use in my studio. I think I need to buy a couple more for the November 6 & 7 Bad Girls of the North Show. *This year the Anchorage venue has moved to the Millenium Hotel.



Linda Starr said...

Hi Cindy, thanks for posting the photo of the lights. That's a super nice display you made for your ravens. How long does it take you to set up your booth? will buy at anyone show. I'm thinking of gettig some type of banner sign for my booth. Having several different signs for a booth is a good idea, folks could be driving or walking by the rear of some fairs and see the signs and come back. I guess there is no way to predict in advance what folks will purchase. A battery powered terminal sounds like a good idea. Oh, I see you have a clickable gallery of your work on your blog, I'm off to check it out.

coffee miklos said...

i meant to take photos of our booth this last week end but alast i forgot to take the camera. i'll make an effort next week. thanks for sharing in this last post. by the way, i recognized several of the mushrooms that you posted earier. keep your dog away from the bright orange one with the white "crumbs on top. it appears to be an amanita muscaria. cof

cindy shake said...

Hi Linda- I rented the tent from the Downtown Anch Partnership for the events. They offered for the tents to be already set-up and taken down for $35. Without needing to set up a tent, it takes us about 45 minutes. The most laborious part for me is loading and delivering all of the heavy pieces of steel. I usually have both my husband and son and two trucks which adds another half hour of set-up. But when I show up for set-up I already have EVERYTHING tagged and priced, a HUGE time savings that I do the night before. Yeah, the banner was GREAT. I had several people say they saw it from the street as they drove by and stopped back to see me! yeah! I had Kinko's make it from my graphic file for about $75.

cindy shake said...

Hi Coffee!! Good to hear from you! How did the show go? I'd love to see pictures posted. Yes, we keep the dogs away from all of the mushrooms -they are really good about not digging, eating or are even interested in them -THANK GOODNESS!

I'm bummed I didn't win the very cool ring that was at the Lavender Festival Open Studio even fit me :o)) Your new "water cut" necklaces are beautiful!


I love your booth setup. The booth I use for farmer's markets isn't very good - you gave me some great ideas before I start revamping for next summer!

cindy shake said...

Hi Julia- thanks. Your post on stinky cheaterpants had me laughing (because I'm a stinky cheaterpants!!) ha!

Yes, the whole booth design now has me looking at new ways to hang my wall sculptures and introduce some of my new clay pieces for the upcoming Bad Girls Show... I'm looking at some Pro Panels, I'd like to have something more original, less expensive etc. but I like the clean look and versatility of ready-to-go walls. we'll see, I know I'm asking a lot.

ang said...

wow that sounds crazy,but at least the day was good in the end...stalls are always unpredictable, what sold last time may not get a look in this fun fun..