It has been well over two weeks since my family and I did our first ever market stall here in Adelaide. So, I thought it's best to check-in here and share our experience at the first ever Victoria Square Art Market.
The day didn't start out promising, as the sky looked gray and it was drizzling with rain. At least, it made us grateful that we rented a marquee with just a front opening, though it was an added expense. We left the house around 9.30am so we can get our stall set-up before 11am. Thankfully, the sky cleared and the market was still buzzing for most of the day.
In fact, our first customer came even before the official start of 11 am! You can see the lovely lady in the photo below, with my small painting, "Birthday Roses" (oil on wood, approx 8x8 inches). And, towards the early afternoon, another one of my small paintings sold (photo below, of mixed media piece "Moment Tree" with buyer). Both of my art buyers were very sweet and enthusiastic about the pieces they bought. It was touching!
We had a lot of folks stop by and chat about all sorts of things - from books and colouring to art and family. The kids were especially excited to see their handmade jewellery almost got sold out (they had about 8-10 pieces on sale).
I also ended up selling a few copies of #ColourBliss colouring books and a couple of #JournalingToday guided journals, as well as a few of my colouring postcards. We also sold a few knick-knacks that we added to our stall (ie, colour pencils, markers, washi tapes, etc). A number of people also picked up our free colouring-in pages and my business cards.
It was an exhausting but exhilarating and fun day! I think the kids got the market bug because they were really sad when it was time to pack-up at 5pm. In fact, when hubby and I were starting to pack up at around 4.45pm, our kids stopped us, saying: "No! Not yet!" And yes, they've already begged for us to do it all again one day.
I'm not sure yet if we will do another market stall or not. I did love how much the kids enjoyed it, though. They were very good with talking to customers and potential customers. They showed excellent math skills as they handled payment transactions. And, they were very enthusiastic with every step of the market experience - from getting stock prepared to setting up and packing up, as well as looking at our spreadsheet of costs, revenue, and income. It was an incredible learning experience for all of us.
And, if anything, it was really quite something else to be able to talk to people who appreciate and admire your work in person.
Some of my key art market take-aways include:
- Make sure there's enough variety of stock. Have big items, mid-priced items, and small items available. It was interesting, for example, that my colouring postcards was the one item that we sold the most of at the stall. It was one of the cheapest items we had on offer. My biggest item on sale is my "Joyful Joyful" acrylic painting. And, whilst it received some interest and positive comments, it didn't sell. But, it was okay because it showed me that my work *can* attract such interest. Perhaps, one of the things I might be able to look into one day, if I do this again, is to get inexpensive prints done of some of my more popular bigger art pieces. Or perhaps, create postcards out of them.
- Don't pre-judge my own work! Although it was an art market, I must admit that I only brought in a total of 4 original paintings to sell at the stall. And, I just had one set of original art prints. The rest of my stock are mostly books and related items. TWO out of the four paintings sold, both small ones. And, I'm going to admit that I only brought those two paintings in as an 'add-on' to my stall. I had a handful of paintings back at my home office/studio that I probably could've brought in and displayed too. But, because I wasn't so sure about the 'sale-ability' of my recent art work (last time I sold my art was over a decade ago), I didn't take them with me. That's why my husband said: "You should've brought the rest of your paintings that are just stored at home!" Yeah, I think I probably should have. And really, I should be painting more and just sharing. Who knows when or where my work would connect with someone!
- Never underestimate the power of research and preparation. When I first signed up for the market stall, I really didn't think it over too much. I just thought I'll bring in whatever stock I might have (art and books), put them on a table, and just see how things go on the day. But, as days went by, I thought I better do some research on how to put on a proper market stall. Mostly because even though I'm fine with things not selling, I wanted my kids to have a positive first market experience. I didn't want them to go home thinking that doing business like the market is awful. So, I researched best practice tips. That's when I learnt more about how to set-up market stall tables properly to optimise interest and sales, offering different items with various price points, how to utilise items at home for display, etc. I also learnt that it's best to practice your market stall set-up beforehand, so you know where everything went. So yes, doing all of these had been a bit stressful and time consuming. But, I think it all contributed to an overall positive first market experience.
- Stress less, enjoy more! I must admit that leading up to market day had been really tough for me. Even during the day, I was so nervous that I barely managed to eat. I didn't even get the chance to browse around the market myself. And, I didn't get to chat with people who stopped by our stall a lot better. I mean, I talked with most people who stopped by, but I know I could've done better. In fact, there were a couple of people who stopped by our stall and I didn't get to catch their names even though I really wanted to talk more. And yes, I didn't take the time to set-up a 'Sign-up for My Mailing List' form or anything like that either. So yes, I wish I can do those things better, if I ever decide to do this again.
There were definitely a lot of highlights and 'must learn from' moments. And, for the most part, it was a very worthwhile experience! Kudos to the organisers for a great day.