Part of my business model includes selling at fairs, conventions, and markets. So far I have participated in several as a patron but I have never had my own seller’s booth. When considering it, I had assumed it to be a complicated process that would cost a lot of money and require you to know the “right” people. Well all of these things might still be true but this week I took the leap and I was surprised at how easy and short the process was for me.
The idea to sell at booths hadn’t occurred to me until I met a local artist who makes a living doing just that. My plan was to sell online and by word of mouth. I met this man through my personal development men’s work while traveling. We were both attending a leadership training course in British Columbia and I had brought one of my pieces as a gift to another man who had hosted me earlier in the year. The piece was the world tree surrounded by Celtic style knot work. Every one who saw it was interested and asked me many questions and blessed me many times for my work. One man in particular asked me where I sell my work and at that time I had only sold one piece and that was to a friend. He shared with me that he makes leather bound journals and travels around the northwest and sells them at street fairs, markets and craft shows. I asked how it is that he began selling in these spaces and he explained that you just pay a fee and sign up! He even shared that some are free and the ones he does pay for are usually under one hundred dollars for the duration of the event.
After hearing how easy and cheap it is I became dreamy-eyed with the idea of spending all my time traveling and selling up and down the coast, that I would meet fantastic people and visit great places as a job! I spent enough time in B.C. that the whole notion was put in the back of my mind and frankly it seemed out of my reach again. When I came back to Portland one of my goals was to attend Last Thursday on Alberta. It is a local event that occupies 15 blocks of NE Portland, where art vendors and performers can vend with no fees, registration, or designated spots. To me, it is a perfect opportunity to live the life of a vendor and work through all of my first-timer hiccups. I also hope to build community with other artists in the area and pick up skills and tips to help me with my craft. The event is on the last Thursday of every month so my first time will be January 29th.
I am excited to reach the goal of attending Last Thursday but I know that I need to book other events as well. It’s difficult for me to think of all different niches that my pieces would compliment, especially since I can do so much, but I haven’t found that one thing I’m really good at or really enjoy. On top of that, then I have the challenge of finding all the events in the next year that fall into those categories. There is a huge variety that range from small one day flea markets to conventions with thousands of attendees. One event that I did find with the help of my partner was Faerie Worlds.
Faerie Worlds is a music and arts festival held annually near Eugene Oregon. I think it has been around for ten years and has a market place of over 150 vendors. They are a “Soft Footprint Event” meaning that they use 100% green electrical power and they have a comprehensive recycling program as well as organic and vegetarian food vendors. The event looks fun and is aligned with my mission of helping the earth through art and mindful living. I signed up for a vendor booth through a brief electronic form on their website. They reviewed my application and called me within two days. The staff were very responsive to some questions I emailed them and with all my questions over the phone. It did cost me a hefty amount for my first event but I look forward to attending and I believe it will be a great experience for my future endeavors. Plus, I have many months to prepare, so in the meantime I will work hard at smaller events. So here is to Faerie Worlds 2015!
Have you ever ran a booth at an event, have some great first time stories? Let me know in the comments