As I've been busy doing festive things since October I thought I'd share some of my experiences from attending Christmas fairs and markets (and a few fairs over the summer). I would never have thought that I would enjoy actively selling, but I have surprised myself and found that actually I quite enjoy talking to people about my work. I'm already looking forward to booking shows for next year when (hopefully) I'll be more prepared.
Each time I have to arrive and set up it's a completely new challenge. Every venue and organiser does things a little differently and I constantly have to adapt my stall arrangement. It's a bit like having to solve a puzzle before I can start work. As someone who suffers badly with anxiety, the initial arrival and set up is definitely my least favourite part of the job. I don't like driving and not knowing what to expect when I arrive makes me very stressed. I am hoping that when I've been trading a little longer I'll get more repeat events so I will know what to expect.
Once I've solved the puzzle of arranging my wares I relax a bit. I put on my friendly face and convince myself I'm confident. After doing that I find I can talk to people about my work or their pets quite happily. I usually take a sketchbook or some current work to do in the down time and I found this can be quite a good way to start conversations. Children especially like to see what to see what I'm working on and I love talking to them about making art. Maybe I've even managed to inspire a few.
I've started to get more of a system for setting up and I'm developing some hacks and shortcuts. Eventually I'll have a proper routine and hopefully arriving at the events will be less stressful. I've got two more full weekends of fairs before Christmas, but I might take some last minute spaces if I have time. It's been hard work trying to juggel building up festive stock, attending fairs and completing commissions. The goal for next year is definitely to prepare earlier.
On that note, if anyone wants any commissions before Christmas get your orders to me in the next week or two. I'm making the deadline 15th Dec for now, but if I get too busy it may be sooner.