In 2022, I did not set out to do art shows/booths, but an opportunity was presented were another artist had a free table and space available for a low key side event and invited me. It was too good of a low stakes opportunity to pass up. It was a pop-up event on free comic book day so the estimated traffic was going to be decent too.
Below are some of the things I learned to do differently for my next one.
Don't Experiment Too much
I was so excited that I wanted to bring products (stickers) I had never created before. I thought it would be cool to have some diverse products. So I set out and designed 5 sticker packs of new art. However, I had never created stickers before and thought that I could easily find a service to print them.
In reality, having a service print them was not cost affective for my budget and the time to print them and get them sent to me to package was not looking good to have in time of the show. So I did not end up taking any stickers. It also meant that I was working right up to the wire on preparing my other products.
My take away is, if you want to experiment, do a small test a long way out from the event and confirm what you want to do is feasible.
Have a Draw
So I am at the event and I want to make some sales. The first hour goes by and I get the standard walk by lookover a couple times, but no one stopping. I build up my courage and ask onlookers how they are doing in the hopes that I can start a conversation, but it is tough.
What I noticed is that other vendors had a draw of some kind. This could be a free treat, free product, or something really interesting like a prop. People would go over, stand and talk about the concept of the draw. It would give the vendor an opportunity to talk about and show other products. So my take away is have a something that brings people over that is a free or low cost buy in to having a conversation.
What to bring
I did not know what I did not know before getting to the event. I only knew I was going to be at a location for an extended period of time. So I did prepare pretty well. Here are the things I did bring or thought about bringing after going to the event.