Friday, 15 May 2009
Sale and Show
The day of the show and Sale has been and gone and we are also back from our week in the Netherlands on the island of Texel. It's raining again has it has done for the past few days and the garden is soaking it up.
Our week away was dry though which was fortunate, what was less fortunate was the wind which proved very difficult to cycle with when against us and conversely very easy when it was on our backs.
But back to the show.
I was there at the gate at 7pm to be allocated a space and this year the organisers had provided a covered tent which you shared with another participant. I should point out that all the others at the show/sale were selling plants and I was the only exception. This has repercussions as I will explain.
After the place allocation I cycled back and forth bringing my show materials up. Perhaps I should explain that I don't drive and have in fact never driven, or even learnt to drive. This can be inconvenient, but I usually get along fine by Shank's Pony, a bicycle, or a canoe. I use trains wherever possible and am lucky enough to live in an area with superb public transport so I can make use of our local buses and trams too. I do of course have friends that help me out with lifts from time to time and I do resort to a taxi occasionally. Anyway on this day I only had to cycle a matter of minutes back and forth to get all I required at the show site, which was at Hof ter Saksen a newly restored Chateau with gardens in my local town of Beveren. My parents were here to help me too (as they were coming to Texel with us afterwards) and they helped carry the framed prints which were too large for the bike.
The weather on the day wasn't too great and we had a smattering of rain at the start and it got a bit gusty in the afternoon which played havoc with my easels!
I should say straight away that the day wasn't a success sales wise as I only sold four prints. I was, of course, disappointed. A major reason I believe was the nature of the day. People were expecting to spend a couple of euros on plants and had not anticipated spending a 100 euros or so on a print. However, the stall did attract a lot of attention and generally we always had people looking at the prints. I was giving away a publicity postcard so hopefully this will prove useful in the future. A further problem was the language. I don't speak Flemish (Dutch) so all my conversations were in English, which, although almost everyone speaks it, puts a slight barrier in the way. My partner Kristime was with me all day and so she was able to converse normally with those visiting the stall. I was generally pleased with the interest shown in the prints and I think I made the right decision to only show prints of local scenes.
Next I have to think of how to follow up this initial step and try to organise an exhibition in Hof ter Saksen itself or Kasteel Cortewalle or Hof ter Welle which are all local to me.
All in all I think I learnt a lot about preparing for a show and I learnt much from the day itself about interacting with potential clients. I was pleased with the presentation of my work, matted (with passe-partouts), labelled professionally and nicely bagged in clear film. I still think I can improve in one-on-one dialogues with potential clients.
A big thanks to all those that helped me in the preparation for the show and especially those that helped me on the day. Also a big thanks to those who purchased prints and those who visited my stall and showed an active interest. Many, many sincere thanks.