Because I was now seriously taking my show out in public, I knew it was definitely time to get business cards; but I didn't want to order business cards without a website url on them and that meant....hundreds of hours figuring out domain names, web hosting, website builders, photo importing, etcetera etcetera (see previous blog posts for the boring details..smirk) Once the website hit cyberspace, I hit the internet again for business card research and ordered my Mini Moo business cards to hand out to the hordes of art browsers at the festival.
So, with all the art, hardware, website/business cards, and miscellaneous decor, I did a couple run-throughs setting up and dismantling the display, figured out how to pack it all into my little hatchback mazda and was ready to go! Now, most of you probably are happy to try new things, take adventurous risks, step out into the unknown, but I will confess right now that my heart was pounding a little harder than normal as I drove around the lake to the Hermitage for my first art show booth. I really had no idea what our tent was going to be like & how far I would have to carry some pretty heavy stuff & whether or not I could put it all together by myself. I had worship music turned up loud to keep my mind occupied and as I drove the last few miles down Old Hickory Blvd, the clouds literally parted and a beam of sunlight sprayed out right over the site of the festival! Sometimes God seems to hold my hand in the sweetest way.
Everything went super smoothly; way better than I expected. Friendly greeters directed me to the large art tent where I was allowed to back my car up and unload easily. Set up went smoothly and I had plenty of time to get everything done. The Fall Festival began that evening with a Patrons Party and then all day on Saturday. It was super hot...in the 80s...but we were right next to the beer tent, so no problem! I met some really nice people who were sharing the large tent, very talented artists. It was surprisingly fun to be there all day, talking with people and hanging out in my booth. I am an introvert (this has been debated at length) so I was concerned that the long day would take its toll, but most conversations were with one or two people and that I can do just fine. It was fun.
Here is the question I get asked: How did you do at the Fall Fest? I thought long and hard on it and the best answer I can give is: it depends on what you consider success. Sales? I sold one of my mini paintings to my next door neighbor (who has my eternal love and gratitude for saving me from a shutout) The following is my top ten for why I consider this an excellent experience:
10. I learned how much I can actually fit into my car
9. I came up with an awesome looking little display (she says, modestly)
8. The craft beer was pretty delicious (Black Abbey)
7. I met Max at his store fixture warehouse and was sure I was going to end up a murder victim but it really turned out just fine even though his placed looked like a meth house and there was an old white van parked outside.
6. I also met a really nice couple through buying their directors chair on craigslist and they invited me to hang a couple of my paintings for sale in their salon in Belle Meade (!) (for my out of state subscribers, that is a very nice part of town)
5. Had several wonderful conversations with fellow artists, who I hope I will see again sometime.
4. I got my website built so I could...
3. Get my Mini Moo business cards (of which I gave out a grand total of maybe 5*)
2. Met and made a new, dear friend who I hope will let me blog about her sometime because she is very talented and very interesting.
1. Pushed my art out the door and into the world for everyone to see. That makes me happy!
*what we weren't told, after we were told to expect 10,000-20,000 visitors, was that this was the first year of the event. There was more like 800 and very few made it to where our tent was situated. But, again, the beer was just fine.
P.S. Sunday the event was cancelled due to rainy conditions, so I arrived at 9 and had everything packed up (after shaking out 50 or so daddy-long-legs from the burlap) in an hour! It was a little sad to have it be a day shorter, but I still consider it a great experience.