A very good woman pyro I know from the UK recently expressed her frustration and fear at tackling her first market and not selling a thing. Many of us told her to hang in there, that she had very worthy work to show. I know she must have felt slightly terrified it was going to happen again at her next show. After all, her friends and loved ones must have told her she was good....were they all wrong? No....she just had one of those markets...wrong place, wrong time. The next show report had me jumping for joy on her behalf. Not only did she sell, but sold very well indeed. She was naturally very relieved:) I knew it was just a matter of time.
I remember my first show was at a Sunday market and I was just about sick before it! I also remember it didn't go very well. With a lump in my throat I returned the next week and did much better. The next fell somewhere between the first two...the following was a boomer! (Aussie for 'really good') At the time I couldn't understand why the sales were all over the joint. (Aussie for 'place'...not a naughty cigarette.) Now, with experience, I know several factors can influence how the cash box ticks over.
There are many external factors that can influence why a sales day goes good or bad. Some of them briefly are: Crowd numbers, buyers or lookers? Close to Mums day, Dads day, Christmas? Is there another event going on to draw the customers away? Is it holiday time and people are away? Do you know people tend to spend more after a long weekend when the shops have not been open? (A craving to shop needs to be filled) The weather, too wet, too cold, too hot? The football. The rotten sods in the next booth who are in direct competition with your product. The type of venue and area, (white collar, blue, tourist, art area, earthy area?) Does this area suit what you are offering? Are you targeting the right audience?
I could go on and on, but already you can see that there are many external influences to consider in your success or failure. I wont even start in on the 'ínternal factors' that greatly influence your sales...your stand, your product, yourself. That's for a whole other newsletter and not a can of wriggling worms I have time to tackle right now.
And lastly there is one other mystery factor...when all the 'T's have been crossed, the 'I's dotted and you made sure you put on your lucky undies...and STILL it went terribly wrong! Why? Who knows why, but one thing I try to remember when walking into any show is to expect the unexpected. What I mean is, there is sometimes no rhyme nor reason when it comes to customers or shows. One week you are at Joe Blog Market, booth #13, stocked to the gills with the best you could muster and walk away hugely disappointed. The next week, same market, same lucky booth, same customers and you walk away with a bum bag full of dollars. Just have faith that you will have a good day again. Keep learning, keep fresh, be unique, research your targets well.
*Do I still get scared before big shows? I SURE DO! *Have I had a day where I sold nothing? Yes...one small artsy affair. *Am I confident my work will sell well? No. I am sometimes absolutely certain no one will buy anything and am amazed when the first sale takes place. *Even though my set up seems to work well, do I continually try to improve my stand, my product, my knowledge? You BET I do! It's a dog eat dog world out there.
I know this was long winded, but I hear so many of you express fear to chance your hand at exposing your work to the dreaded public that I felt it needed addressing. If they don't buy you feel they almost hate you. If they buy you feel like leaping about like Sally Fields, shouting, 'they love me, they really love me!' Just remember, you are NOT alone. As much as you think the next pyro is selling more than you, it's not so...they have their own bad days too.