October is really one of the best months for shows and this year was no exception! With a show every single weekend of the month and the potential for Hurricanes and big swells, the month was full of excitement and wonder. The Stockley Gardens show is always a favorite and some of my best sales ever have been at this show. Sadly, the biggest disappointment was the weekend for the Port Warwick Arts Festival in Newport News. Hurricane Mathew was supposed to miss us but unexpectedly rolled right over us just shortly after that festival started Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the on the ball surf forecasters that I listen to, I chose to cancel even though the calm before the storm Friday and Saturday was misleading weather wise. Of course our weather man locally had it all so wrong big time. By 3PM the storms hit and we had waist deep water in our cul-desac in a short period of time. Had I done that festival when the wild winds and rains arrived I would never have gotten home to my dogs. This brings to mind the importance of knowing when to commit and when to ditch. No one ever wants to bail but sometimes you have to make the proper choice. Glad I did in this case.
The Dismal Swamp show came shortly after this and after a month of record rains the mosquitos were in full swing! Armed with an arsenal of bug spray and a positive attitude and fantastic festival support staff, we surged on and had a festival that at first was great fun as always but no so fun in regards to sales. As of Sunday I had sold no originals and only two $25.00 prints. I always stay positive in times like this and tell other artists that doing outdoor arts shows and festivals is like playing the lottery. If you buy only one or two tickets or do one or two shows a year, the chances of success are very small. I do around 30-40 shows a year so even though I have some with zero sales and minimal sales the odds are very good that some of these shows will have good or even epic sales like this year.
I find it fascinating to see my fellow artists at the end of the shows always be in such a hurry to leave. I have checked my square sales reports and at nearly every show, my biggest and most frequent sales are on the last hour of the last day of every show I have done. This year was no exception and the very last minute of the very last hour of the show I sold three very nice sized paintings to two clients, one new, and one returning. Visitors to shows like to look around and shop around at these events and purchase at the very end so packing up and rushing out discourages potential buyers from picking up on your work. Would you buy from someone who appears to be packing up in a hurry and makes no visual or verbal contact with you? The lesson here is pretty clear to me, take your time taking down, stay calm and relaxed and all will go much better. If you still have zero sales just remember what I said about playing the lottery. You have to do a lot of shows to increase your odds!
Taken with my GoPro Hero 4 Silver using a KNEKT Trigger at Kitty Hawk. Epic day with some neck breaking barrels!