Mr. T and I made our first foray into attempting to sell his art by signing up for a holiday bazaar downtown Anchorage the Saturday before Christmas. We hated it. But it did get us creating, we sold a few cards and ornaments, and we learned a lot from the experience. Here are a few of the things we learned:
- Alaska is Weird – We knew this already, but this holiday bazaar had a booth for Costco, a booth for tasers, and several booths for knives.
- Bazaars are not Markets – Mr. T and I love the Anchorage downtown market in the summertime. It’s like a big party of farmers, crafters, and artists. This bazaar, even though it was hosted by the same people, had a very different vibe, a very different clientele, and very different vendors. We are definitely more market people than bazaar and I might be interested in selling at the downtown market at some point to see if it is a better experience as a vendor.
- Holiday Bazaar does not mean Holiday Merchandise – We sold some nativity art created by Mr.T as well as Christmas ornaments and cards. But we were literally the only vendors at “Christmas Village” with actual Christmas stuff.
- People Hate Christmas the week before Christmas – Our timing was probably the thing that was most against us. The Saturday before Christmas, everyone was very angry and sick of Christmas. One guy came in our booth and said “So, your whole business expires in a week?” – Merry Christmas to you, too! Everyone at the bazaar was looking to get last minute $20 gifts for last minute fill-ins and no one seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was really sad. The vendor next to us sold quite a bit of her jewelry made from cut up CDs (who knew?). She had sold at several bazaars and said that this one was the least fun and everyone was much more angry and stingy than the ones she had sold at previously. She only made a few dollars profit.
- Getting Out is Scary but Worth it – The whole event wasn’t a total flop. We did manage to sell a few things and we took that first leap of fear making the first attempt at selling our own creations. We got a great deal of positive feedback, which was helpful. Lots of people loved the art. The biggest benefit of selling at the bazaar was meeting one lady that loved it so much and used to own a retail store. She gave us a few tips on where we should be selling and wished us luck. About 30 minutes later, she came back, asked for a paper and pen, and wrote out a marketing plan for us complete with stores we should pitch to, when to do it, and how to do it. That feedback and advice was super helpful and worth the entire experience.
Now it’s a new year (I love those!) and we have some Christmas inventory and a tentative marketing plan. Pitching to stores will be part of our one-thing-a-month for self-employment goal, so we’ll keep you posted on how that goes later in the year (it sounds very scary to me and even scarier to Mr.T, the introvert). And I don’t think we’ll participate in the bazaar again next year (though we may try some friendlier, earlier bazaars… we’ll see how we feel about those in a few months).