Participating in Sunday's Made In Nevada Marketplace at Reno is Artown event at Idlewild Park was an out of this world experience! I participated! Me! And gasp - my one of a kind photo scarves and gifts SOLD like hotcakes! Driving home, I had so many "ah ha" thoughts... Participating in life with nearly 3 dozen distinct personalities/businesses was exhilarating!
1. Treat your vendor neighbors like family from the get-go! You'll feel like old dance partners on the same stage after putting up your booth and unpacking your wares! Smile and be agreeable! Your "bitter" vendor neighbor may become your priceless "Square Tutor" before the day is over! I highly recommend Carson City's High Desert Botanicals for unique bitter flavor kits!
2. Write down the quirky questions and ideas that the consumers present before you forget them! The suggestion for creating a Christmas or seasonal line was spectacular! Grandkid photo fabric? I almost laughed but I'm not a grandmother...so I explained that fabric designs are possible with any photo. The ideas for other venues to sell scarves or places to contact to help promote my upcoming solo exhibition were heart-warming! Again, priceless!
3. Compliments. Priceless. Each one made me smile. A genuine, appreciative smile. When a stranger says, "I'm a photographer. I know photography. Let me just say you are a GREAT photographer if you just said you don't use PHOTOshop!" I had to admit-publicly- I don't know what Photoshop is. "Yes, I can edit, resize and crop. I take time to take photos I can use. If I can't use it, well, it's deleted. Sometimes I wait for days for the right light or stormy sky. Many times I take the same photo of an object or location over and over to try to get the exact look I want. Like this saxophone photo took 3 days and I love it!" I responded.
4. Following the Burner principal of gifting is as ingrained as my own name... I gifted all day. It felt right. One instance, was especially memorable. A chiffon scarf and the bag that matched went to a lady who wanted to buy the bright sunflower/heart scarf for her mother's birthday. Her mom was about the same age as mine... As I shared the story behind the photos I felt an immediate connection to this young lady's own sweet story. However, I didn't have the wifi connection I needed to complete the transaction. Who hands you their credit card and says go outside and see if you can get wifi? My phone was too busy scanning. FAIL. So I gifted her the gift with a happy heart.
That Sale $$ priceless
(see #1 about my marketplace trail angel aka my square tutor)
5. Lastly, but perhaps the most valuable lesson gained: taking a small business risk on a big dream pays off! The California Building was booming from 10am to 4pm with nonstop foot traffic. Most of the people were really interested in the Made In Nevada Marketplace phenomena. Made in Nevada. Unique gifts. My scarves were no exception! It was a huge confirmation that I'm on a fast*track -while it may be not Vogue trendy- it is unique and suitable for everyday gift giving! I feel honored to have been invited. I am thankful to have been physically and emotionally able to create a special Artown 2018 product line, and to set up a booth that looked like I've been doing it for years.
(teachers can create the best "centers" in their sleep-even retired teachers)