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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dunwoody Art Festival 2011

Dunwoody Art Festival, Mother's Day Weekend, 2011
After returning from a world wind weekend at the wonderful Mother's Day show in Dunwoody Art Festival weekend, I've had some time to reflect and wanted to share some pictures from the event and my booth.
We couldn't have asked for better weather or a nicer organization to participate with for a show. Splash Festivals is ultra organized, they have a HUGE band of fabulous volunteers and the show had plenty of events to keep the crowds engaged for the duration of the show which ran from 10-7 on Saturday, and 12:30-6PM on Sunday.  Kudos to all the artists, too....all the vendors had top notch, amazing work.
Top notch....that's a good thing and a challenging thing in a show.  Good because it brings in customers that are ready to buy because they know they are going to find amazing one of a kind art, jewelry, or other artsy craftsy sort of items.  Challenging because there is soooo much competition,  so many wonderful things to choose from, you really have to bring on your A-Game to do well.  Those that do VERY well.  My two neighbors had OUTSTANDING I mean outstanding show days. I had a very good show....and I thought it was great until I heard what they did.  On the plus side, it was still one of my biggest shows--but it also reminded me I still have room to grow.

So there you go...that's a good thing...take your experience and learn from it...grow from it and put all the pieces together to be even better next year.   I learned a lot from last year doing the Norcross show and I did some of the things I intended on doing--one of them was to go deep in a color selection for part of my booth...and for that area of learnings from last year I chose a purple and blue color family of paintings including my newest and biggest ever painting (seen in the back corner), "Celebrate"  36 x 48.  That corner was a draw and I did sell several items in that the color family, just not the big ones I hoped would draw the crowd in.

And then there was my intention of going deep on a theme, and for that I chose birdies& houses together--which I started doing early actually, beginning preparing the pieces in December for my Birds of a Feather collection. Which after starting my collection to show case, I also taught a class at Jerry's Artarama using that theme for a 4 painting project class in March. See....there you go...see how one learning leads to something all together different yet it still is part of the 'plan' of growth and expansion.     
Back to my Birds of a Feather collection: I created around 20 pieces as part of this collection and they have been selling locally and in the last 2 much so, I definitely want to pursue this collection further.  The feedback and comments I got from customers was excellent which was definitely inspiring to me.

I cut back on my hearts this time around even though they still sell well for me. I want to start moving away from using premade paper on them to my own painted paper for at least an arm of that line for me. I didn't sell as many of the hearts as I used are people moving away from them or was it because I didn't have a wide enough selection for customers to choose from?  It's anyone's guess.   I used my hand painted papers on a couple of other things for my collection and I sold several of those items.   Hmmm....instinct?  Trust it and know when to move on to new things.

Speaking of inspiration.....I'm loving lollipop flowers and working slightly...okay a abstract, I ended up selling 2 of my abstract pieces (not the one to the right or the back) but 2 pieces I hadn't guessed would fact I was pretty sure that this wasn't the right show for them but I brought them anyway.  
So what does that say?  Even with having good intuition, you can't always predict what people will want or what will be 'the item' at a show. 

Merchandising...I'm constantly tweaking the merchandising of my booth which is also part of the learning process. I took some feedback from a  trusted friend, actually a couple of friends who suggested I reverse my set up of the booth so it would be more open. I did do that and I felt like I did get more traffic but it did pose a challenge to featuring some of my smaller items and extra prints/notecards etc.  I opted for a table down the middle instead of a table on the back wall.     I had a second table outside the booth I used for packaging,, cashing out customers and for storing xs merchandise and bags.
I also spent time during lulls in the traffic to work in my journal a bit.  Next time I'm going to work on a BIG painting during the course of the show.  My journal work was a good way to get the customers engaged as most were interested in what I was doing and why I was doing it (to be productive, to practice, to show case my art in motion, and to promote my journaling class).   I think a big painting will do all that and engage even more people with what it is that I do.  Another take away on how I could do even better next time....

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One is never so perfect that they can't walk away with some very valuable lessons in the life course of 'How to do it next time even better"
To the right of my booth was a power house funky artsy lady named Christy--she by far had the most color ful (and busy) booths during the show.  The best thing about being next to her was that she is not only talented, but fun to be around.  One can learn a lot about the art of merchandising from Christy.  She is the queen of it. I told her I love all of her work and the props were the bomb!  I asked where she gets her stuff she paints on and she said, "Girl, Junkin!!  That's how we do it!"

An added bonus during the course of the show was my neighbor to the left of me at the show was my good friend from my hometown, the ultra fabulous Jean Skipper,  and as if having someone from home wasn't awesome enough, we were also in the company of another one of my besties from home, the amazingly talented and uber cool Amy Smith.  
The only ridiculous part of this event was that the three of us who  live about 10 miles apart, had to go all the way to Georgia to get together for dinner and drinks.  That's what happens when life happens...everyone gets busy with their own projects, families, jobs, hobbies, community and church obligation--before you know it...whooosh months have gone by and you've missed out in spending time with people who make your life as wonderful as it is.  I'm glad we had time to get together and help each other throughout the show, setting up, breaking down, cheer leading, laughing and in the end, finally relaxing with a great dinner and even better company :)  Life is good.  We were doing what we love, we all learned a lot, had a successful show, and shared good company throughout the process.
 Who could ask for more?

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