A Beginner's Guide to Running a Successful Booth at Art in the Hollow
- Decide what you will sell and who you will work with. Working with a partner (or two or three...) can make it easier to carry in merchandise, set up, and sell art. Volunteers are on hand to help with set-up and tear-down, but the festival lasts 7 hours and customers tend to come through in waves. You'll also want time to eat, interact with other artists, and enjoy the festival. All of this is much easier if you have at least one other person who can run your booth with you. If you partner with another artist, you can team up to fill your booth with a greater variety of art and enjoy the experience together. Most artists bring at least one friend, partner, or family member to help them run the booth.
- Be prepared to talk about your work. Not everyone wants to know your entire story, but many visitors will be interested in knowing a little about you, your art, your creative process, and what you like best about your creations. It helps to be a good salesperson, but it isn't necessary; the key is being able to talk about your art.
- Be prepared for the conditions. Weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for various conditions-rain or heat wave. It's also impossible to predict when it will be busy or slow at your booth. Sometimes it can be overwhelming; other times it can slow down and get a bit boring (that's a good time to wander to nearby booths.)
- Prepare your work and display. Don't plan to take all your work to the festival unless it will all fit in a small space. Procure a tent, table(s), chair, signage, and anything you may need ahead of time. Practice putting everything up so you know what to expect and feel good about the process. Remember that everything needs to be carried down into the park in the morning and out again at night; even with volunteers to help carry things, it's obviously prudent to make the process as easy for yourself as you can.
- Be prepared to sell. Many festival-goers use cash, but our society is increasingly reliant on using credit/debit cards and app-based payments. Try to have some cash on hand to provide change for those who use cash (but don't feel a need to carry an excessive amount of cash!). If you have a smart phone or tablet you can use, it is pretty easy to set up an account with Square, PayPal, or another app service that allows you to accept credit card payments. You will want to explore this option ahead of time so it is ready the day of the festival. Using Square, for example, requires that you pick up a small device that plugs into your phone and accepts cards (found at most electronic stores/departments, or online). You will want to install the app and open an account, linking it to a bank account so you can access the money quickly and easily. Pricing your art can be more complicated, but you can always adjust your prices up or down as you go. Don't be afraid to ask what you think your art is worth, but be aware it might take some time to figure that out for yourself!
- Have fun! Art in the Hollow is set up to be social, fun, and allow everyone to experience and talk about art, nature, history, and performance. Plan to walk around and enjoy some of the shows on the Main Stage and the South Stage. AITH is a mix of experienced artists and newcomers, so it's a great place to learn, teach, and socialize with neighbors and fellow artists.
- Consider the costs. Art in the Hollow is a great place to start selling art. You can consider buying all kinds of display cases, a tent, tables, etc. But AITH is designed to give you a chance to sell your art without investing a lot of money. If it's your first show, don't go overboard. Use it as a learning experience and later you can consider investing to succeed at other shows, and come back as an expert next year!
- Ask some questions. Other artists are a great resource. Be prepared to ask questions about their art and their business. This is a great way to find out if you are interested in a career in the arts, or if it would make a good side job or hobby for you. You might also ask others about their experiences selling online or other forums to explore other paths to engage an audience or customer base.
- Check out a few resources online: