This past couple of weeks has been a whirlwind. We have had a lot of good family stuff going on, the beginning of summer, camps, open gyms, hiking, clubs…. But it’s been great. Along with summer though, comes a lot of my art business. I participate in a number of summer events selling art. So, the last several weeks have been somewhat devoted to getting art and products ordered and getting some of it delivered to the local shops that sell it for me. The remainder I keep for the Farmer’s Markets and other art exhibits I do in the summer. Today I received a shipment of a number of art prints. I love getting mail, especially if it’s art! But along with this large shipment of art comes the work. I had to frame a bunch of the art and package the rest. I will be making note cards and packaging them soon, and getting the other forms of art ready to sell. My loft now looks like a war zone.
I have a love/hate relationship with bazaars and markets. There is a lot of time and energy devoted to getting ready, packing everything up, setting everything up, hours on end standing around, tearing everything down, loading it back in the car, and then coming home and unloading it again. I have been to a number of bazaars where I paid good money to be there, only to sell $10 worth of merchandise. This can be extremely frustrating. I have learned to be picky about where I set up. Location really is the key. But, even with all the hassle, I still keep going back. Why, you may ask? The people.
I am very comfortable being by myself, and I like having the option to be around people or not. But my favorite part of the markets and shows is all the people I get to meet. I also enjoy watching people, so these markets are a great place to do that, especially when people are avoiding eye contact because they don’t want to be drawn into your booth! Before I started to sell my art I would take my kids to markets and I would purposefully not take any money. I can’t fault anyone for doing that. It really does save money when you don’t have any to spend. But, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and loved looking at people’s creations, but I always felt bad when I didn’t buy anything. I know vendors are there to sell things, but for me that is not the only reason.
Now, I can’t speak for other vendor’s, but for me personally, I love it when people engage in conversation. I don’t mind if they don’t even come into my booth. A simple “hi, how are you,” will brighten my day. Especially if I have been standing there for hours, whether I’ve sold a lot or not much, just that simple conversation will help pass the time. Obviously I don’t mind when people come in and look, but I don’t expect everyone to like my art, because everyone has their own style they like. But when people come in and look and talk about how I create, and share how they create, that is awesome! And when someone I know stops by, just to visit for a while, no pressure to buy, just to visit, that makes a huge difference in how my day goes. I also love to smile at people, whether they were coming to my booth or not, and say hi. It is amazing to watch some people, when they know someone has noticed them, they stand a little taller, their eyes brighten a little bit, and they smile. I love it when people smile.
I love the energy that is created by people selling a piece of themselves, something that is unique to them, even if they have patterned it after someone else’s work, they infuse a piece of themselves into it. So, whether you’re buying or not, or maybe just looking for good ideas to try on your own, go to your local markets. I would encourage you to talk to the vendors, whether you buy something or not, say hi. If they are doing something you have always wanted to learn about, or you find intriguing in any way, ask about it. It’s not always about making the sale, but for me anyway, it’s about making a connection with another human being. And this summer especially, isn’t that something we all need?