Despite an autumn full of growing misgivings, the Deck the Halls show has boosted my spirits back to full capacity. A gorgeous, curated show in a venue that can only be considered “quaint”, that show basically IS Christmas, and the effect of the oldest church in Sydney festooned with greenery and ribbons wasn’t lost on the 1250 people who came out to see the 22 artisan vendors. Much of the success of this show (and don’t worry, I’ll get into that in a second) is directly related to the amazing Joan MacKenzie, whose vision brought us together. She’s an incredibly talented artist and co-owner at My Fair Ladies; and she personally invited each of us to come together into a group of diverse booths that all complemented one another. It’s a perfect balance of textiles, pottery, glass, jewellery, fine art, and consumables, and it was a massive hit with every attendee I spoke to.
And, since it was such a small venue, I spoke to almost every attendee. When the show is this intimate, you spend time looking at each and every item. When it’s this lush and interesting, you can’t help but buy something. Here are some of the images other folks posted about this show, and it should tell you something that most people included pics of the whole venue, not just their own items:
(click each image to go to the original post)
So, as I had hoped, this was the most successful show I’ve ever done. And, it was three days of proving my audience research correct:
- The second group I had identified, the older ladies rockin’ their boots and scarves, was out in full force, and they were serious about their gift-buying. You can see in the image above a group of these ladies bent over my table – and it was like this nearly non-stop.
- I had one small group of teenaged girls buy rings – because one of them had purchased a ring from me last year and loved it so much they dug through bags of what I had to find the perfect one (or three) for each of them. I later found out that they were art students, which was not a shock.
- Women around 30 showed up in smaller numbers, and almost exclusively without children. Someone who is in my target market will still not buy anything if their child is physically with them. You can’t think about yourself when you’re in charge of another human life! And this is just not the venue to bring unwilling children to. And even if the stroller folks were at this show – none of them climbed those stairs, which meant that only the most focused shoppers came to see me.
This show is perfect for me. It’s comfortable (look ma, no pain!) and it attracts my audience in a beautiful way. My position – at the end of the loft booths – might seem like a negative but in fact, the small size of the show meant nobody wanted to miss anything, so almost no one looked down to the end and walked away – they all took the few extra steps to get to me. Sitting next to the Groovy Goat guy didn’t hurt – everyone wants to walk up and smell the soap! The right audience is attracted to the quaint setting. The atmosphere is euphoric. Sales are fabulous.
And, I am unspeakably relieved.
The failure in Halifax had me in a state of worry – had I done the wrong thing? Am I going to fail entirely? What if I can’t make this work? What if I was wrong and nobody wants to buy from me?! I’m going to have to work at the gas station, aren’t I? – but with this proof solid in front of me, I feel like I can breathe again. My work is appealing and worth buying – I just need to make sure it gets in front of the right people at the right time.
Knowing that, I can focus my marketing in that way and hopefully get it automated, and safely return to producing, innovating, and making wearable art pieces without the itchy feeling that it’s all for naught. There’s aught; it might take work to find it, but it’s out there.
The last show of the season is an unknown… I haven’t been to it before. It’s in a large building generally used for flea markets. I expect it will be of the General Public sort; but with my expectations set lower for the GP based on my recent experiences (and a low-barrier booth fee), I can happily and easily call nearly any sales a success. My brain, however, is now turned to focus on making online sales available for anyone who wants them! A Facebook auction-type sale will be coming up this week (which, I think coincides with Cyber Monday?), and I intend to get as much physical product online within the next couple of weeks as possible.
After that? Onward and upward!