My first experience at the Art Market was just that...an EXPERIENCE!!
I didn't get to sell as many things as hoped but you'll understand why in a minute...
Ok, so for some crazy reason, they wanted us to set up 2 hours ahead of when the Rodeo was actually starting. So we visited RTP at 9am that morning, left after the talk and headed over to set up (after grabbing loose change at Costco that I had forgotten about until then).
Arriving on time at 10:30, the hubby and I quickly set up my table. (see above) Then he took the kids and went home. The set up of my table took no more than 10 minutes, so for the next hour and fifty minutes, I visited with the other sellers and basically sweated myself to death in a hot dress, as I didn't check the forecast for the day and when we left for the meeting at 8:30, it was chilly.
SO... me, sweating, hot dress, bored. That was where I was. To add to my turmoil, I hadn't eaten since 8:30 that morning and my breakfast consisted of a cinnamon roll that hubby made. Not a hardy meal whatsoever. Needless to say, my anemia was kicking in full swing, I could feel myself growing weak and light-headed and was STARVING! At 12, I asked someone to watch my table as I went in search of a food truck who was open. No go. They wouldn't open until 12:30. So for 30 minutes, I sat, sweated, and grew fainter. Oh and they decided to move my table to the other side of the road, and I was now in full sun. Boo. The gum that I chewed on made me shaky, and I felt like I was going to lose it. The lady across the way gave me her hand fan and said that I needed it more than her. The fanny motion depleted the last of my energy. How SAD.
As soon as 12:30 hit, I left my table and walked to the nearest food truck that didn't make me want to hurl from it's smell. I landed at a little 'pizza by the slice truck' that had an inviting OPEN flag blowing in the wind. As I stood there, waiting for service, I grew weaker by the second. Finally the owner came to the window, I inquired about some garlic cheesy bread, the owner said it was delicious and then said that they wouldn't be open for another 5 minutes. UGH!!
Off I walked to the next food truck. It wreaked of onions and Greek food. As I'm trying to politely walk away, the worker started spelling out in detail every item on the menu. By this point, I was about to pass out, so I took a U-turn for the market store's AC that was just up the road. My hearing went blank, I turned white, people and smells were everywhere, and I could hardly walk. But I refused to pass out in the street, REFUSED! So I kept walking.
As I neared the market window, the owners saw me, ran out, grabbed me, and dragged me to the AC. They gave me water and fruit and while I was cooling off, they carried my table into their store and said that I needed to stay in with the AC. I was so GRATEFUL!! But the 2 dried apricot slices that I ate didn't last long and I was still starving and weak.
After a while, a sister from another hall came in to check on me, and I asked her to watch my table while I grabbed some food. 15 minutes later!! I finally got to eat my cheesy bread. It was yummy, but veeeeeeery tiny, we're talking -flatter than toast, small, and slightly cheesy. NOT what I was expecting for $5. I was so disappointed, and so was my tummy.
For the next few hours, I sat in the store, that was growing hotter by the second, as the entire store front was opened up and the AC was flowing outside. It rained for a few minutes, then got cooler outside. I looked out longingly at the now shady, empty spot that was my table's previous location. For the 3 hours that I spent in the store, I got no business at all. The store did. But the customers thought I was an employee, as I was near the door and greeted everyone who entered. I had many people "look" at my stuff, but they were inside this pricey shop to buy cool, expensive, metal art...not my flowers. UGH. Oh and I got MANY inquiries for custom orders and hair clips, but silly me, I forgot my business cards and I made ZERO hair clips. Bummer!
So for 3 hours, I sat and envied the outside where I might possibly have business. Determined to sell SOMETHING and not end my day in hormonal tears, I finally got up and asked the sister to help me move my table back to it's previous location, and she and her daughter willingly helped me get re-setup outside. With only an hour to go, I was able to sell 2 headbands and 2 sets of stationery. I also saw many friendly faces as the family and lots of friends stopped by to say hi. I actually had business at this point, so I couldn't really chat. Yay! The hubby sent some slices of bread that he had made with melted brie on top for me to eat. And Eitak got me my favorite -Juicy Buns from the Chirba Chirba truck. Even after I gobbled these things down, I still couldn't gain my strength back, I was weak and shaky the rest of the time.
4:30 ended the market and so we cleaned up and headed home. After cleaning up some and trying to cool off, I still felt terrible. We were going to play some bridge, but I needed to go to bed. Shortly after I got in bed, I RAN full speed to the toilet. Turns out, I got the Hubby's stomach bug that he had for a few days prior. NO WONDER I felt miserable and achy all day!! Ugh. I knew I should have stayed in bed that morning.
All in all, the experience was good. I received a very positive reaction with my flowers and other merchandise. The table I was set up next to, were the husband and wife owners of Bully City Craft, and they loved my flowers, notebooks, and stationery -yeah, everything on my table- and want to sell them in their store...SWEET! I received custom orders -yay for future business! And aside from one lady who threw my flower down in horror once I told her it was made from 100% wool (she's severely allergic to wool), everyone loved my flowers. Yay! It was a nice boost for my very insecure self.
So the question is: Will I do it again? YES! I learned a lot from this experience, and everyone was super friendly and helpful. It was nerve racking and of course a huge disaster with my anemia, but I know what I need to do next time. And I am prepared. I will be set up this Saturday for Centerfest from 9-6. So please, come out, check on me, and bring me FOOD! haha! I Kid, I kid...
I've got lots of new ideas for displaying my stuff better. And I've been making flower rings which I LOVE! There will be even more notebooks for the paper lovers, more stationery, hair clips, and whatever else I decide to throw in the mix before then.