This past long weekend, my husband (see him there in the photo) and I ran my DoodlePaintings booth at the Scituate Art Festival in Scituate, RI. We've attended the festival many times (Adam grew up there so he's been going his whole life), but this was the first year in which we were vendors ourselves. Exciting!
They make it pretty stress-free to set up and register, allowing the artists to set up a day ahead, which helped the other three days run smoothly. We got there each morning a bit after 7:30 to have enough time to fix up the booth and make sure everything was presentable. It was damp and a little cool much of the time but overall extremely comfortable and enjoyable. I made my first sale on Saturday at 9:40, 20 minutes before the festival officially started. By the end of the day, I had earned back the cost of the booth and was on my way to two more days of pure profit.
Sunday's rain held until around 2pm or so. Sales were slower, but by 3pm I had made the same amount in sales as the day previous, so we decided it was best to close up shop early and protect the art from the heavy rain. Monday was by far the best of the days--beautiful, crisp air, and almost $167 more in sales than the other two days. Not bad!
This was my 4th art & craft show ever, and having three, evenly paced days to compare and observe a sale trend was very helpful. I averaged about $250-$300 in sales per day through about 10 transactions. The important part to remember is that those are sales made entirely from lower priced items. The most expensive thing I sold this weekend was a small, unframed original painting for $80. If I had even sold one medium ($99) or large ($300) original, I would have done dramatically better.
So all things considered, it's been a very helpful learning process. Trying to introduce lower price point items (aka 5x7 mini prints for $5) without discouraging larger sales is a bit of a delicate process. I've also found that having prints of my most commented pieces has been helpful as well. Learning what people like and what they want to purchase is sort of fascinating.
But the absolute best part of this weekend (and any art fest for that matter) are the many kids who respond so strongly to their first doodlepaintings encounters. There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. And I am super honored that kids ask their parents for my art. It's even cooler when they share with me what they see in the doodles. Nothing better than a 5 minute conversation with a seven year old boy going from painting to painting saying he sees a jungle, a video game, lizard skin, a close up of sand in a desert, balloons, and a forest with bamboo. And as he walked away with his mom he exclaimed "That was so cool! I LOVE doodle paintings!" It made the entire weekend worthwhile.
The following day, I gathered up all my receipts and tallied my profits and losses. I've invested a decent amount of pocket money into this little business, and I was pleased and surprised to find that I am profiting at about 15% of my investment. That means I've made back everything I spent and a little bit more. I'd like to see that number go up...and maybe it will next year now that I have much of what I need to continue without investing a large amount more.
The next and final art show of the season will be at the Holiday Marketplace in Garden City (Cranston, RI) December 1 & 2. The cost of the booth was $250. It's worth the gamble knowing now I average about that per day. And since it's two days I have a chance of making a profit. I will focus on smaller, gift-able items and see how that strategy works out. And even if it's a bust and I lose the money, at least I will have tried. And the more things I try, the more I can learn and adjust and grow this business!