I wanted to write a quick post about the NEX fall bazaar, summarize my experience and share some insights and things I did differently while it is still fresh. While I can't compare it completely to the spring bazaar this past April, there was a lot I took away last time that really helped make this one wonderful. As you already know Friday was set up. Saturday was a blast. I walked down early to add my pricing signs that I printed out the night before and to set up my banner. I was a little nervous this round because my space was twice as large and I was running things alone. It all worked out well in the end.
I realize this next part may seem a little dry so here is your cue to skip to the end if you're not interested in the inner workings of events like these...
Pricing - My husband and close friends often tell me that I undersell my work. In the past few days I've struggled with raising my prices. In the end it was one of the better decisions of this event. I also decided to do away with all of the unimportant clutter and refocus. I sell prints of my art (and if or when I start creating original work). Not cards, bookmarks, magnets, even mini prints... They are all wonderful things but for me to become a better artist sometimes you have to take out the distraction. Along with eliminating the clutter I decided to price my prints a little differently. Both the large and medium sized prints I priced the same. I thought of modifying this if it wasn't catching on but it did really well. When I was rethinking my pricing structure I honed in what the most important item was, my prints, starting with small A5 prints and working up, pricing the rest of my work accordingly.
Frames - Last time I remember getting several requests for framed prints. I only was working with two tables at the time and no wall space for hanging so it wasn't doable then. This time I brought along a variety of framed prints, about 8 or so ranging from very small table frames to large double matted frames. I figured even if they didn't sell they served two purposes; first, they were large and caught the eye and second to easily imagine prints in a frame.
Location - In the spring I was located in the center of an isle, like an island, people could walk on both sides of my tables, though they generally kept to one consistent side. I felt I was a part of the flow and potential customers funneled past. This fall I was located on a corner of the parking garage which made for a tricky setup. While people were given an unobstructed view of my table coming from two directions I was forced to be a little further away from the flow of traffic. I'm still not sure which I prefer. My corner spot was spacious and allowed me to have two wooden walls to prop my work up on rather high but I felt people really had to make more of an effort and drawn in by the larger signage to see the work.
Attitude - Doing well working in customer service, on a sales floor or at a convention/bazaar really is all about your attitude. I'm no expert but starting my day with low expectations does nothing for your mood. Good customers and friendly conversation easily lightens your mood but sometimes you have to suck it up and do that yourself with a bit of determination. Smile, make eye contact, be friendly and engaging. I ended up standing for nearly 8 hours while I was there (and I'm not complaining!) because I was talking with people. And that leads into my next topic; conversation.
Making Conversation - I ended up sticking to a few phrases that seemed to help get the conversation started. "What grabbed your attention?" or "What caught your eye?" let me know which out of the three genres of work I had displayed really grabbed their attention. I had an absolute blast talking with people about art, my work and occasionally even theirs. I am absolutely terrible with remembering names but I did make a point to ask everyone theirs in an attempt to remember. (If we met and you're reading this please add me on Facebook or Twitter. I'm much better with pairing written names and faces.)
And a few more miscellaneous observations. People seemed to come to my tables in waves. Juggling multiple conversations is really tricky and I've yet to fully master the art. I found that as soon as I stopped speaking to an individual to greet someone else about half the time they would leave.
All in all I had a great time. Sadly the second day of the bazaar was canceled due to weather. We have a typhoon moving through here as I write. I look forward to next year!