Friday, 28 June 2013

Holmfirth Art Market: The Rundown

So, here is the post I promised - details of my first (but hopefully not my last!) Holmfirth Art Market. I think it's always good to go through these things afterwards and reevaluate them, especially the first time around. I've interspersed this post with photos of a few of the things that sold. As usual, I didn't have photos taken of quite a few of the new pieces that I designed with the fair in mind. Some of them are now in my etsy shop, but quite a few others have gone off to new homes in Yorkshire! 

So, the market started on Saturday night, 8-10pm. Initially, I thought this was a little strange - a bit late for a Saturday night, and although it was *kind* of a preview night, it still seemed a little unusual to start a market in this way. 

However, the organisers (unsurprisingly!) knew more than I. Not only did we have an extra 2 hour window for making sales, meeting customers, tweaking our stands, but it allowed us to come along to the market on the Sunday morning, with the stalls all set up and ready to go. We started at 10am on the Sunday, and so it was really nice to turn up at 9.30 - no desperately early morning start, no panicking to get it all set up before customers arrive. And on the Saturday evening, I had decided that I wasn't happy with my selection of earrings - restocking two bricks and mortar shops and a big FB earring sale with do that for you! - and so I had stayed up late on the Saturday night cranking out some new designs. So I both had the time to do that, and also had the time to go in and do a little rearranging. 

This photo - the only one I took of my stand, unfortunately! - was taken just before we opened on the Saturday evening. (When I say we, I mean me and Helen - I was very lucky and had her to help the whole weekend! What would I do without her; I really don't know :-)). The pale blue 'walls' you can see are the boards I showed in this post. On the second day, we took down the back board. We felt it was blocking the light a little, and not really adding much to the stand. With hindsight, we didn't really need such heavy duty boards. Perhaps next time, we would use fabric, or just make a simple, half-level corner piece. We'll see. It's all a learning curve, isn't it!

At the end of the weekend - which was just fantastic; pretty busy, made lots of sales, made even more contacts with customers and other artists alike, and handed out loads of business cards - I thought about the new set up. The space I had chosen in Holmfirth was a lot smaller than the space I had been luxuriating in at recent markets, but it is almost exactly the same as the space I will have at an Edinburgh fair in August (more details on this to follow). A good first run, and I think I did a not bad job! There are a few things I noticed though. The earrings on the stand to the right barely got noticed. And the large palette on the RH side isn't ideal either - we did sell a few things from it, certainly, but there was definitely an element of having to peer round the corner to see 'in' to it. 

In Edinburgh, I think that I will be able to sit around the front, as the booths are all separate from one another, rather than joined as they were in Holmfirth. So I won't be blocking anyone round at the front. This will allow me to use the space on the back left, which is were I was standing in Holmfirth. But, we'll see! You never know with these things until you turn up. 

I would love to hear any thoughts you have, in looking at my stand - even in just the one picture, and not a great one at that! Where does your eye go first? Do you want to look at those earrings to the RH side; what would you put in their place? I'm thinking another bust, perhaps. Putting the chain-necklace palette to the back left, and then maybe some more earrings on the RH side, perhaps with something else so it doesn't look too empty. I've a shutter I used to use, which I might give a bit of a makeover and put it in the palette's place. Less bulky, and easier to angle so that it's facing outwards....you never know until you try though! 

 As a market, Holmfirth was one of the best thought out and most organised that I have exhibited at. I was one of those very annoying people who sent a million emails beforehand, as I just couldn't envisage the set up of the stand, and as I'm a bit of a worrier, I was panicking a little that I was going to turn up and get it all wrong!

 Victoria, one of the organisers, was extremely patient with my tirade of emails, and I got there in the end! She and her team did a really amazing job, and there were lots of little touches that made all the difference. All designer/makers had our own name badges so we could be easily identified by the general public, there was a lunch service for stall-holders on the Sunday, and on the Saturday evening, the cellar of a local bar had been booked out for us, complete with delicious nibbles, and half-price drinks vouchers. This was a lovely occasions on which to meet the other makers, and chat in a relaxed environment. I so appreciated it! Being relatively new to the craft market scene, and naturally shy, it was a nice, low-key way to chat with others over a glass of wine. 
All in all, it's one of the best markets I've taken part in! They hold Art Markets in November/December and I really hope I will be accepted next time around! I know that they like to mix things up and keep them fresh, so it's no guarantee. I need to make sure I send in some damn good photos with my application!

Phew, I've spent an hour writing this post, so I'd better get off now and get on with some making. I have a bunch of copper findings overdue for Curious, so I need to get cracking the whip on myself! 

6 comments:

me said...

First of all I’d like to say - Well Done and it’s good that you had a good time and sold well!

I’d just like to give an outsider perspective, as I don’t know you so I can be totally “customer eyes” for you.

At first glance, your stand looks very... brown. It’s not a very flattering colour to make your jewellery stand out. Colours change depending on what colour they are next to, and all your pieces are suddenly looking very dull colour wise. Which they are not.

The shelf thing on the left of the photo looks as if you might knock it over if you reach in to touch things - I think it is a bit over stocked, and each piece would stand out more if there was less surrounding it. People don’t like to be overpowered by choice. If someone can’t decide, a lot of people choose nothing instead of something.

Similarly with the display on the right - people like to touch and pick things up, try them on. If they feel uncomfortable or like they might knock something down, they might not touch at all. They are nice displays though and I wouldn’t discourage from using them.

I like your fancy mannequin thing, but in my experience people tend to leave jewellery alone that's on a stand out display - as if they don't want to “spoil” your stall(!). Therefore I suggest making a feature out of it, and not really expecting anyone to buy what you put on it. Just have it as a trick to lure people in. Put it up on a pedestal.

Also, do you have signage on your stall with your company name on? (A banner or some such thing). People need to know and remember your name so they can buy later on the internet. A mirror is also a must for any stall for trying on stuff etc.

So all in all, good job! I know one can become too close to the project when you’re preparing for a fair. I’m trying to give good criticism, the type of things that I’d like to hear from someone with fresh eyes.

You can obviously ignore it all if you like ;) Again well done for everything!

Libellula Jewelry said...

I like that you don't have too much competing color going on in the background. The neutral wood lets your jewelry's colors stand out--but it might not translate that way on some peoples' monitors.

The only thing that seems problematic are the lower items. I have trouble bending for items that are low to the table (tall and bad back) but I'll admit to having that problem with my own display, too. I just don't know how to get around it.

I wish that I could give your display a better critique but I'm afraid that mine is in need of one, too!

Beautiful jewelry & best of luck. :)

Claire Lockwood said...

Wow! This sounds like a fabulous-ly organised event! You've done a pretty darn impressive job given the compact space. I would try to go into responding to your thoughts on the stall but... I'm too frazzled to think about standing up even. (Sorry!) But I'm so glad that bracelet sold! x

Lottie said...

Sounds like you have found the perfect venue for your stunning jewellery - it's so nice that you made good sales and lots of contacts. You staging looked wonderful - but it's amazing that the little 'tweaks' you have discovered for next time.

Thanks for sharing with us

scotknit said...

My comment on the positioning of the earrings is from my point of view as a customer. Earrings are my favourite kind of jewellery, therefore wherever you stick them, I'm going to be looking for them and homing in on them. Sorry to have such an un-sophisticated approach to your carefully planned and beautiful display, but that's the way my mind works. I would notice and admire all the other things, I'd get excited about loads of them, I'd admire the layout, but you couldn't manage to hide from me the bit I most want to see.

My Life Under the Bus said...

It always fascinates me and I am sure there must be a science behind display but I notice the same - things have to be facing people. What about stair stepped shelves on the back half of the table so you get a little more stacking /display space across and smack at eyeline? Looks awesome though! XO

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