My First Art Fair Experience – In one word “Fantastic”

It was Fantastic, not because I sold some pieces of artwork, but because I had the most amazing experience and (tent) neighbors.

We (Rob  and I) started to set up at 5:30 am, just like all the other artists. My level of enthusiasm was high. I greeted everyone that passed by. It helped break the ice and introduced ourselves to our neighbors. However, it was not the time for chatting. Everyone was on a mission to build their tents and get ready before the crowd arrived.

Once the art hanged neatly and the cars out-of-the-way, I changed my clothes and got our coffee fix. It was time to relax. Then we realized, we didn’t have chairs… heehee. Thank God the metro-rail was close by. Rob went to buy a couple of comfy chairs at a near by Sporting Goods Store. He saved the day! 😀 (lesson learned!)

Saturday was slow, as the experts said, but it gave us a chance to talk to our next-door fellow artists. Mano, the artist, and his wife Cucki, which by the way he won 1st Place in his category. Two amazing souls. At the end of the day, people zipped up their tents and went home. We knew that because our tent didn’t have a front (to close it up) we would have to take the art with us. That meant upload the car again, bring it down at home, reload the next morning to take it back to the event. In other words, a mission!! But like angels in disguised, Cucki and Mano, offered us to leave it all inside their tent. We didn’t have enough words to express our appreciation. They saved us!!! And we’ll forever be grateful for their generosity.

Sunday was busy! The weather was cooler, but still lots of sun. The good thing was that there were trees along the sidewalk, providing shade throughout the day. I had a chance to interact with the fair goers. It was a great experience. Some friends that I hadn’t seen in years, came by to visit. It was such a joy! 😀 I also had time to talk to my other next-door neighbor Witha, the artist, and her husband Bill. Witha also won 1st Place in her category. Adorable people as well. Rob talked to Bill the day before. I spoke to Witha on Sunday and she also gave me good pointers.

Through out the event, both neighbors (to my left and right side) were incredibly kind. They gave us years of advice (the does and don’ts) about fairs, tents, set up and much more. Positive energy was flowing all around us. And to keep that energy going, below is a list with the advice they shared with us and my experience about the event.

Things I learned:

– Make a List of everything that you need and will take to the event.
– Bring comfy chairs
– Don’t seat inside your tent, be close by and let people look at your work before approaching. 
– Have lots of business cards. In my case, i took my cute and a bit expensive ones (don’t do that) and the postcards with all my info. I realized that some people loved my little cards so much that took way too many. So, after a while I had to hide them and replaced them with the postcards, which cost nothing compare to the tiny cards. Below are some pictures of both types. If you would like to place an order for the tiny cards, here is the link.
– I believe on clearly pricing your art. Some people shy away because they don’t know if they can afford it. 
– Also, before I forget, a sign with your name or web address is important. I made mine with canvas. It was super easy and cheap compared to banners.
– Be ready to give discounts! If I saw someone interested, I immediately offered a % discount. Yours could be 10, 15 or 20, just make sure to know how much you are willing to sell it for. Some people will take what you give them, others will ask for more. 
– To make your set up fast and easy, know exactly where your art will be hanged. To do this, I put the tent up at home and hanged all my work as I wanted it, and then took pictures to remember how it was. If later, you want to change things a bit, which I did, it is much easier. The cheapest and most effective way to do mine was with chains. I will try to write about it and post it later, with pictures.
– If possible, have someone to help you through out the event. I was blessed that Rob was there the first day and my mom the second. There are times you need to go to the bathroom, eat, take a break, talk to clients or just do nothing. 
– Be ready to talk about your art, the process, why you choose that medium, how does it make you feel, etc. Some people love to ask all kinds of questions, to get to know the artist. Most people buy art because of how the piece makes them feel, but remember this is also an investment. You could help close the deal by answering the questions with confidence and enthusiasm. I helped me sell four pieces. Yay!!
– A good way to break the ice is by asking which piece they like the most. Usually, they tell you and the reason why they like it. If not, ask why. Introduce yourself and then ask them their name (most important, remember – I was so nervous that the second they uttered their name, I forgot.. heehee).
– When you sell a small piece, have a bag to put it in. When you have a big one, have the plastic to wrap it around. I totally forgot about it!!!
– One of the most important lessons was the tent. First of all, it needs to be white. Not only because it is a requirement in most fairs (I got lucky this time) but because light reflects better. I opened the top of the wall in mine a bit, to help with the light. There is so much to talk about it that I thought it would be best to share with you a post about it below. This article was written by Mona Majorowicz. Check it out! 
Tent: Shop around, eBay and Craigslist, are great places to get used tents. It will be much cheaper. If you are planning to attend a few shows per year, it will be a great investment to get a commercial type hut, new ones could cost up to $2,000. There is a lot of things to consider when buying a tent, but I found this amazing article by Mona Majorowicz listing all the different types of tents and the cons and pros about them.

 I hope this post shade some light on how to prepare for an event like this one.

Have a great week!! 😀

This are the more expensive ones. Good to pass around to potential buyer.
These are the more expensive ones. Good to pass around to potential buyer.
These are the postcards, which I paid about $45, for 1,000 cards. You need to register with them before ordering at