So…I have been in contact with someone at Monterey Court (I’ve posted about them a few times before), talking to them about the Miracle Marketplace, which is basically a little art flea market/pop-up shop thing.  I asked them when their busiest days would be, so I could come set up a booth there and feed off the crowd, and it turns out there is a big concert coming up there, which they are saying is The Concert Of The Summer for them.

And it’s on May 31st.  So…it’s in a week.

And I’m going to have a vendor booth there…this was decided this week.

Cue the frenzy!

Some of the stones I’ll have for sale – plus many many more

I’ve been running around this week trying to get things together…as I have noted, I have everything that makes up the booth itself, all the displays, etc.  And I have the artwork (and have been madly painting stones in anticipation of the event).  But there are still other things I needed before I could do a real, no-kidding booth, and sell things.

So think of this as another installment in my ongoing “preparing for a craft fair” series: The Little Fiddly Details edition!

Receipts.  Yeah, didn’t think of this, did you?  Of course, using a Square eliminates some of the need for physical receipts, but people will always want to pay cash, too.  Also, for this particular show I have to keep a running total of how much I make, because the venue takes a percentage…and it’s a good idea to keep track of how much you make at a show, anyway.  I bought a receipt pad (one that makes a carbon copy, so you get one and they get one) at a local store fixtures warehouse, but you can find them online or maybe even at Michael’s.

Packaging.  I guess this isn’t strictly required, but it looks professional and it’s just a nice thing to do, to give people a bag to put their print or artwork in.  You should also have business cards or mini-fliers (1/4 page size) to slip into the bag with them, and maybe write on the back of the business card some information about the piece they bought, like its title and year created, etc.

My advice is to buy your packaging in bulk, don’t buy individual cute gift bags!  Yeah, they’re cute and colorful, but the fancier shopping bags add up quickly.  I bought 100 12×18″ paper bags for prints, and 100 smaller clear plastic bags for stones and magnets, and all of it was about $10.  Had I bought the fancy, laminated, multicolored shopping bag option, I would have gotten maybe ten bags for $10, and instead I now have 200.  Bam.  However, I might also stick some stickers with the Maxfield and Madison logo on the outside of the bags, to dress them up and personalize them a little.

Prints.  I had done a couple test runs of prints, so I have a few lying around, but I went ahead and had almost 40 more prints made.  I picked 20 good pieces that I thought would sell well as prints, and I had one 8×10 and one 11×14 made of each image.  It’s a lot of prints, but I would rather have too many than not enough.  For one thing, the smaller prints will be one of the less expensive items in the booth, so hopefully many will be sold!  I definitely wouldn’t want to run out and have to turn people away.  Plus, it’s better for a booth to look chock-full of good stuff, rather than too sparse. (But, on the other hand, not too cluttered either…if your entire table surface is covered in product, then it starts to look like a big jumbled bargain bin.  Somehow, psychologically, having TOO MUCH stuff makes customers think it should be cheap, like, “well, if you have so many of that item, why is it so expensive?”  So it’s a tough balancing act.)

At right, the Rack O’ Prints!  It will have many more during the actual show.

And since I have prints…I had to get print sleeves.  You gotta protect your prints…and in order for them to not get bent, they also need backing boards.  I bought mine here, since the prices were much better than elsewhere, although the shipping was pretty exorbitant.  If you live near a comic book store they might have similar stuff, since they package and store individual issues of comics in little baggies with backing boards too.

Oh crap, I have magnets.  So I realized that it might not work if I put my magnets in the little Easter egg bowls I bought, because they’re really strong magnets and they’ll just stick to each other and it’ll just look messy.  So I thought, hmm, I should display them on something magnetic!  I found a metal tray with a mirror mosaic on it, intended as a candle tray, but now, well, it’s a magnet tray.  The magnets stick to it and the mirror reflection looks really cool…I’ll take a picture and show y’all when I set it up at my booth.

I’ve been thinking of other ideas for magnetic displays too…maybe take a cheap but interesting-looking picture frame and paint the middle with magnetic paint?  Get a metal earring rack like this one and stick them to it?  A white board?  Just stick them to the grid wall I already have?  Lots of possibilities.

Tray from World Market similar to the one I have.  Now imagine it covered in painted stones!  Shiny, eh?

Signage and labelage.  I have 4-to-a-page signs that I’m going to print out, to let people know what each item is and what the prices and discounts are.  This is important, so that people don’t have to ask what every darn thing costs.  I personally hate going to a craft booth where nothing is labeled with prices, I tend to just not get anything.  So to that end, I also have price stickers that I’ll put on each print sleeve, on the back of each original painting, and maybe even on the bottoms of the magnets.  Writing out price tags is a pain in the neck, but it really has to be done.

I’m also bringing an email list signup sheet, since I have a glorious (FREE!) Mail Chimp account, and no one who has signed up for it yet. (hint, hint…?) I like Mail Chimp for the level I’m at right now…it’s free, unlike Constant Contact, and you can have 2000 subscribers for free, which suits me fine.  It has a double-opt-in thing that’s kind of annoying (your subscribers get sent a link asking them if they’re really, really, totally sure that they want to sign up, and they have to confirm before they get any emails), but that’s just how it goes, and maybe I’ll upgrade later if I feel the need to.

Publicity.  Harnessing the power of social media!  I’ve been notifying everyone and their brother about this on Facebook, Twitter, maybe even making a Yelp event (which I just discovered recently and it’s terrific!).  Since this is a one-off and I only got a week’s notice, there’s a limit to what I’ve been able to do…but I plan on being at Monterey Court on a regular basis in the coming months, maybe even an every-first-Friday-of-the-month thing. (Monterey Court also has beer tastings on Friday nights…even more reason for people to come down!) As I become a more regular presence there, my audience will spread as people get used to me being there and can rely on finding me there every month or every fortnight.  In the beginning of any new business, it’s just about putting yourself out there as often as you can and gradually trickling into people’s consciousnesses.

Fun!  Goes without saying. 🙂 I honestly won’t mind too much if I only sell a couple things, because it’s just for the experience and exposure.  Seriously, I’ll be happy if I make even $50 at this first show. (which is like…two prints and a magnet.) I really have enjoyed running art festival booths for other people in the past, and since it’s my own art this time it’ll be even cooler.  I like talking to people about my art (no, really? we wouldn’t have guessed that, since you have a whole blog dedicated to talking about art…), and I just like having new people see my art and knowing that they’re enjoying it or it sparks an interest in them.  So it’ll be cool, regardless.

And hey, if anyone reading this is in the Tucson area…that date and time again is 5 – 10 PM, Saturday, May 31st, at Monterey Court!  See you there?