Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DAI Oktoberfest 2011

Before the show..............

After the show.............

Time for the post show report. Oktoberfest was a big success! It was my first major art show and I was surprised by how well it went.

Friday I got there at 2:00 and with the help of my Dad got the booth set up and ready to go. The booths were under larger tents and somehow I lucked into an awesome spot right. The first booth on the left from one of the main entrances. The large tent roof was a bit low in the corners so I wasn't able to put up my tent, but it didn't matter. It was raining when we arrived but thankfully it cleared around 4:00 and stayed pretty much rain free for the rest of the weekend.
I only made four sales on Friday night, but one of those clocks was headed to the office of the new executive director of the Art Institute, which I think is pretty cool.

Saturday was a fantastic day. The crowds were steady and in the buying mood. Not only were the patrons friendly and nice, but the other vendors were super nice and helpful. Several of the other vendors have been doing Oktoberfest for many years and had good advice and knowledge to share. I am thankful to how welcoming everyone was to a newcomer!

Sunday morning started with a good luck sign. At breakfast I received a free meal courtesy of getting the "blue plate". I guess someone randomly gets the blue plate each morning and gets their breakfast free. Sunday was my lucky day to get the free breakfast. I ordered strawberry pancakes thinking I would be getting plain pancakes with fresh strawberries and cream. Instead I got plain pancakes smothered in thick strawberry pie goo, but hey, they were free, so oh well. I had a good sugar buzz going from that for awhile afterwards.

Sunday sales were much slower, but not bad. I think having so few clocks left actually hurt sales as people realized they had such a limited selection. Packing up was quick and easy and we made it home at a decent time.

A few notes:
-my credit card reader sucked. Friday night was fine, but on Saturday three cards read wrong and would not process and two didn't show up at all. That means five customers should be super happy because they got their clocks for free. Having to wait to run the cards at the end of the day was no good. I had to hope that they would all go through without problems and then suck it up and take the loss when they didn't.

~~~My solution? The Square. The best damn invention for a mobile vendor EVER. You plug this tiny little square into your smart phone and swipe the card. It immediately processes the card and lets you know if the transaction is good. The customer signs your phone and puts in their email or phone number for an instant receipt that shows their signature, the transaction info, and even a map of where they were when they made the purchase. Awesome. It gets even better, there is no monthly fee, no per transaction fee for swiped cards, just a flat percentage rate which is only .005% higher than other plans with monthly rates. I won't be using it every month, maybe only 4-6 times a year so I don't want to have to pay for a service when I'm not using it. So how much is it, you ask? $10 at Best Buy. That's right. What are you waiting for?

My prize for show success was a brand new Android Bionic. Hey, I needed something to plug the square into and my two year contract with my current phone was due to end. I was ready to move onto a new phone so I decided to get the best I could. Nick and I got bargain Blackberries last time around and knowing I would be stuck with this phone for two years I wanted to make sure it wasn't bottom of the barrel. Don't get me wrong, I liked my Blackberry, but it was soooo slow and Blackberries are not compatible with the square.
My new phone with the square......
A great perk I found out about working a show? Trading with fellow artists. I got two pretty pairs of earrings from the super nice man in the booth next to mine and two pairs of earrings from a lady a few booths down. I also got two beautiful glass pumpkins. Something I never would have thought I needed, but now I'm so happy I have them. I told Nick we will have a house full of wonderful handmade creations if I keep up on the art circuit.

Earrings can be found at www.guustie.com:

Earrings by Bart Ziegler:
And last but not least my lovely glass pumpkins by Jack Pine Studios:

I feel like I made out like a bandit with the trades. Plus I have a pair of totally amazing cast glass earrings on order from an awesome husband and wife team. They are also going to be at Winterfair in November so I will get those earrings then. Can't wait to post pictures of them.

Now this week. I have been distracted by the mad dash to figure out the phone and credit card situation. The rush was because the account that supported my card reader expires Friday and I wanted to find an alternative before then so I wouldn't have to renew. Now I have to catch up on orders and stock up on molded clocks for the show this weekend. It's going to be a very late night.

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