art fair

Sales, networking, confidence building, fun - this was my first art fair experience on Saturday :-)

I did sell some prints and some cards and I would have liked to have been a bit busier, of course. It wasn't a massive success financially.  It wasn't a monetary success for any stallholder, I imagine, because it was the first one of this kind at this venue and the locals need to get used to us!! 

But my stepping out there was about so much more than taking money...

This was the first time I have had these paintings on display.  I have little confidence in my work and I needed to see it outside of my tiny conservatory/studio. From this point of view, the art fair was extremely useful. I had great feedback from fellow exhibitors and, more importantly, I know it looked good. I now know my art can be on show; and in my heart I know that it will look 100 tines better on a nice gallery wall rather than on trestle tables in a marquee. This is a massive, HUGE step for me. Me, Rachel Ellen Andrews...

A real bonus this kind of event has going for it is networking. I met some really nice people and made some important contacts.  People also picked up my business cards and leaflets about my workshops. I know from experience of doing Mind, Body & Spirit fairs that sometimes these little cards and leaflets languish in bags and pockets for maybe months until one day you get a phone call or an enquiry through the website.  So patience is key here.

And, when you're not selling, networking or realising that actually your work looks more than ok, you can drink coffee and people watch - which is always fun, anywhere!

So, friends, if you're hesitating about taking part in an art fair, go for it.  You'll make some sales (you will), you'll make some friends, and you'll boost your confidence.  You'll also have a great day out - what more could you want?

If you have experience of art fairs or not - please leave a note in the comments - I'd love to hear from you.

From my heart to yours

Rachel xox 

Art Fair

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Reader Comments (18)

I did join an art fair last February. It was a leap of faith and thrilling. I did sell a lot for a first timer and I certainly will join again. Souls have made more prints. Patsy

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatsy

Hi Patsy - great to hear that you did well - it is thrilling, what a great word!! xo

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Rachel, I'm in awe of you. I've never been brave or confident enough to go ahead and do this.......nor had enough work that is cohesive to make a go of CONGRATULATIONS YOU!!!!

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlmeta

Thank you Rachel for sharing this story. I like your conclusions from this experience - I too often have too huge expectations and feel sad afterwards - so your blog article is perferct for this. It so helps to see other step out and move through the hesitation and fear. Love it. I believe it will inspire and encourage many readers. And I fell in love with your colorful art the moment I saw it here. So fabulous!

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNora Amala

Almeta - thanks so much and thanks for stopping by! - I just had a quick peek at your website, your work is lovely, you should go for it!!

June 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm pleased you like my work and feel inspired maybe to have another go at another fair or a show somewhere. :-)

June 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

I'm so pleased it was such a success for you Rachel. Your stall looks fantastic! I used to do a lot of fairs and have to say I don't miss them at all.... :)

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Hi Rachel, I have had similar experiences of mediocre sales but HUGE value in connections, new friendships, and new opportunities. Every one is a learning experience - learning about your own work, how to display it, how to interact with customers and present your work in the best way, and what shows are best for you. Congrats on going! Sometimes it does take time and repeated exposure for people to buy, so don't get discouraged if it takes a few more shows to start building a show customer base! Best of luck to you!

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShana

Good for you Rachel, I have done a half dozen fairs (art markets, we call them here) with the same results and conclusions you have found here. Sold a few prints and some small, cheap, unframed works, but after a few years people are starting to recognize my work and my name. It is daunting at first, but keep going. As you said you learn such a lot. By the way, the cheap stuff goes well at fairs, the more expensive stuff goes well at exhibitions, but you need to put a few of the good ones on display to show what you can REALLY do - advertising!!!

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Shaw

I love "getting my art out there"... I have been doing it in fairs and galleries since I was 18..and yes, the fairs leave you with a warm heart as you get to chat with soooo many people. Sometimes they can be frustrating... and they are always physically tiring, but I think it is a great way to get our art 'out there'... especially to the ppl who don't go to art galleries :)

Bravo and keep going!
love & light,

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia

Thanks Tara - it was my first art fair - I've done a lot of Mind, Body & Spirit Fairs and have a kind of love/hate relationship with them - I think it could be the same with these :-)

Shana - thanks for your best wishes - and sharing your experience, it's good to know that my own experience is very similar to others :-)

Lynn - great news that your work is starting to get recognised! And yes, I realised that I should have taken more prints, but it's all a learning experience :-)

Claudia - thanks for the encouraging words, yes some people don't like or don't do galleries, I hadn't thought of that!

thanks to everyone for stopping by!!!

June 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

Sounds lovely! And sometimes we get so much more than we though out of something. New connections and confidence are such important gifts. Love your art btw. So vibrant and beautiful! Big hugs, Karina

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarina Ladet

Thanks so much Karina!! :-)

June 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

Hey I saw this on instagram & thought I'd stop by. Thank you for writing about your experience! I've been wondering what it would be like to do an art fair. Your artwork looks great too!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Heather - thanks so much - I would try it, there's so much to be gained from it. I really had to face my fears about putting myself and my work out there - a very steep learning curve! But well worth it :-) Just had a peek at your website - lovely!! I signed up for your updates by email x

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

Congratulations on coming out! This energy will flow and develop into other things. Go with the flow and let go of all concepts I know exactly what your experience feels like! Keep going xo

June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Bleakley-Thiessen

Ooh, love the vibrant colours Rachel! Congratulations on your first (of many I'm sure) art fair. Hmmm...must look up local art fairs to go and get some good stuff for my walls! I love that you learned that it's not just about the financial return - these events are opportunities for so much more than money! xx

June 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Ruth, thanks for your encouraging comments!! Thanks for stopping by :-)

Donna, yes, it was a learning curve for me :-) Thanks for stopping by :-)

June 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterRachel Ellen Andrews

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