There are two books that have helped me through this past year, the Bible, my life time friend, and "Yes Attitude" by Jeffrey Gitomer. My life has been a work in progress, building and helping my personality, trying to keep a more positive attitude, correcting and balancing areas in my life where I need it most. My favorite book through the years, that has been the biggest help is Proverbs. Reading one a day for each day of the month, 31 proverbs and 30 to 31 days in a month. Proverbs 1 for day one, for the first day of the month, and so on. Great system!
The "Yes Attitude" book has a very direct approach at helping me with the ups and downs of everyday
life. This book teaches you how to have a positive attitude and how to deal with those who don't. The cover alone is a constant reminder to me to keep a Yes attitude. It is a great sales book and I highly recommend it!
This was put to the test on our trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan this year, where our transmission line broke on the truck. This put me on an emotional roller coaster ride with the ultimate attitude test! Having to get me on the right track quickly was a challenge, because we all know sales are better when we smile and feel good. Right?
My husband, Lee, is always amazed to see the way I react to hard circumstances. Especially when I battle through it and come out smiling. I am so blessed because he is my biggest helper! He is very good with dealing with people, customer service is his strength.
Looking for the positives in the middle of disaster can be seen if we look hard enough.
The first positive was that truck broke down in the parking lot where we needed to pick up our parking pass and unload for the art festival.
The second positive was that the manager of the parking lot system had his men bring my tent and ceramics to the street where my booth was to be set up.
The third positive is that we have a AAA membership which gives us a free tow.
OK, we are doing really well so far with the positives, and the opposite of positive is a negative, correct? Because it was a dealership that we had the truck towed to, we had to wait our turn to get it looked at. That is great if you live in town but not when you are seven hours from home. This was a four day show, so I knew we had some time, but when they didn't look at it until Monday that was hard.
Then we found out...(Take a deep breath)...the parts were on back order and wouldn't be in for two weeks!
So going back to the beginning of the story, we were now without a ride and were camping a half an hour away. We called Uber, a car transport system, and had a ride to our campsite Wednesday evening after setting up. They also picked up the call on Thursday but on Friday no one would pick up the call. The show started at 10:00am and I always like to be there and hour early. So we called a taxi service and their car broke down on the way to pick us up! So we called another taxi service and he insisted we pay with $50.00 cash. After convincing him that I had the money he came and picked us up. We were only 15 minutes late to open, a positive!
My husband had to walk to rent a car and I'm happy to say he only had to walk a mile, a positive! He has bad knee! Also, he was able to get a SUV which was large enough to move everything from the art festival back to our campsite on Sunday night.
This whole adventure was a process on trying to figure things out as they unfolded, right down to how we were going to get everything back to the campsite when the show was over. Because we didn't find out until late Tuesday about the status on the truck, we were able to enjoy a vacation day together. Spending quality time with my husband was a treasure! After we found out that it was going to be two weeks before we could get our truck back, we had to drive into Ann Arbor to rent a U Haul so we could drive everything home.
Two weeks later, the truck was fixed.
I received another positive when my husband's boss needed him to deliver a broken part to be repaired by a shop in Michigan. That shop was only 2 hours away from the car dealership. The rental car and our traveling expenses were paid for!
It was very hard watching the money that I just had earned fly out the window! A very big negative!
But, there were many more positives as I ended my third season of outdoor art festivals.
I won Top Notch Booth Award at the Letchworth Art and Craft show in October. Fun!
I received a beautiful ribbon, $100.00 check, and a free booth for next year!
I was also able to upgrade my tent, where another artist was selling theirs. This
was a huge cost savings!
The moral of the story is...
Life is hard but with a yes attitude it makes it so much sweeter!
This is the third full year I'm going into with my ceramic business. Art and Craft shows can be a lot of fun, but also there is a lot to be learned. Last year I learned that you really need to bring a lot of business cards to a show. Because when you are getting low, and are at the end of a show, you don't want to have a problem of not having enough, especially when little girls want to collect them. For what is it really, but a piece of paper. Another vendor told me some wise counsel, she said if you are running low on cards, to take a picture of it, or better yet, put one aside and have them take a picture with their phone of the business card. Then there's no issue.
This year I'm applying for shows once again. If you are like me, you are still learning and making mistakes. This mistake is on my Zapp account for applying to shows, on the picture submission section. It doesn't matter how good you are, if one picture is not correct they will throw you out of the juring process.
This is what my mistake was. I took a shot of all my different size vases together in a professional picture. Sounds good and looked great! But...on the Zapp application it asks for height, width, depth and for price. You can't give them a description for all the vases so I gave one for just the largest vase. WRONG! Hard lesson learned, give them your best item with all the correct information and you will not be shocked when they tell you your are not invited.
I was still accepted into some great shows this year because I didn't use that photo. I also had enough time to apply a second time, for jury, for the show that I had used the wrong picture in.
Lessons don't always have to be learned the hard way, but this time it did!
I came across this quote today that I wrote down years ago. I thought I would share it with you.
Have no fear of new challenges! Don't get discouraged when you make mistakes, and never reach the point where you are not willing to learn. Author Unknown
It is that time of year, after the holidays, when I start to apply for my festivals shows. For me this is my second season. When I applied to enter shows in my first year, I didn't have a sign made yet. I took pictures without the sign and applied. I knew that I needed a sign so I painted one and took a nice picture of my booth at my second show.
I learned pretty fast when researching for shows to apply for in the next season, the nice new sign need not be in the picture! I'm writing this to help you as a new artist not to make the same mistake,
so you can be better prepared for your show applications.
Every show seems to require something a little different. Indoor and outdoor booth shots should never have your signage in the picture. This was my number one mistake. It is very hard to get a picture to submit for jury if you make this error. You will have to try to block out your signage in your picture. This might hurt you in your jury process if it isn't done well.
The jury judges also like your tent sides to be down when taking the picture. Some show judges also like a picture of you in the booth tent shot. This is to prove it is your product line. They also like if possible for the booth shot to be on grass. So take several pictures.
Let me tell you a little story! My husband is a very patient man and it was a little hard to convince him that I needed a booth shot on this Sunday afternoon. I needed to set up my entire tent outside and make it look like we were at a show. I needed a picture without a sign!
It was a beautiful, sunny, 40 degree day in November and SNOW was in the forecast. He agreed, so we set out on this project that was ahead of us. It was a great deal of work, he was a great sport, and we took some very nice pictures. Then in the same day we took everything down and put it all away. Mission accomplished!
We live in New York State and snow can come in the month of October. I knew when the forecast called for snow, it could be a sure thing. The next morning when we awoke, there was snow on the ground. I felt so relieved and happy that we got that job done, and the pressure was off! Now I could apply for my next season's show without any apprehension.
Summary and helpful hints for your photo shots
1.) Booth pictures on grass, sides down, and no signage.
2.) Booth shot with you in the booth with your product line.
3.) Indoor shot should be well lit. If you use your tent make sure you leave the canopy off. This
is a must, because unless you have electric in your booth, you will look like you are in the dark.
4.) Make sure your pictures are the correct Mega Bites, (MB). Different shows ask for different size
MB's to apply. If they are to large they will not accept your application. Each show seems to
have a different level of MB acceptance.
I hope this is helpful to you and makes your application process go smoother!
If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter,
but if you continuously compete with yourself,
you become better!
Don't listen to negative thoughts. Be thankful to God, be what God called and created us to be!
I know many of us share in the common weakness of fear. That lack of self confidence and the fear of failure. That awful question of "What if"! So here is my secret. If you try and fail you are not a failure. If you don't try, you will never know what is inside of you waiting to come out! There are gifts inside all of us waiting to be encouraged and nurtured. So be true to yourself and believe in the gifts you were created with!
The first show I did was in June at the Corn Hill Art Festival and my tent was kind of plain. Lee, my husband, thought I needed to make my tent space stand out more, to draw more people into my booth.
To my advantage I like to decorate and have a decorative painting background. This experience helped me to pull my skills together for a profitable conclusion. Even though we were in agreement that change was necessary, he did not agree with my analysis of the situation, which was BLACK BURLAP! However, having experience also in how to work around Lee, (LOL), I went full speed with my idea. He was now seeing how I was pulling my idea together and loved what I was going to do.
Burlap is a popular item right now and can be pricey depending on how much is needed. I determined the need to be 10', sufficient to cover the entire back of the tent. Off we went to the fabric store on our exciting treasure hunt. Lee, who hates to shop, was the one to find this material....on the Clearance Rack, no less! The fabric measured just enough for my project. Now this man is beginning to show himself very profitable indeed! He scored points on that one!
The fabric had a plastic backing which made it a good canvas for my paint. Now, things are really beginning to look up! The next step of the task was to paint on the fabulous fabric 15 birch trees! OUCH! Yet another project demanding my attention with only eight weeks to finish... along with everything else I needed to accomplish before my next show. At this point I became aware of another situation brewing. My left eye was twitching!
From the first show you learn what people like, listen to their comments, and apply what you learn. Here I am at my second show, the Clothes Line Art Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery with a better idea of what people like and with a better idea of how to market my product. At the end of the day, will this new backdrop prove itself worthwhile? YES, IT DID! No doubt about it! Although there were 48 other potters at this show, my sales went up. People were drawn into my tent space with my appealing backdrop. Some came to look; some came too buy. It was such fun!
I'm so glad I took the time to make the investment in this aspect of my business. Now I need to work in the Production Department at full speed ahead. I hope this has been a help and a blessing to you.
Being a ceramic artist inspired by nature, I'm finding that creating beautiful pieces in clay is a wonderful expression for my flair for sculpture and realism.
I've created a line of pottery called Birchware that I'm sure you'll be interested in. These pieces have a beautiful outside texture. My home dec pieces, candle pillars, tea lights and vases all have tree nubs, which adds a nice touch of realism.
This all began by a desire to bless my nephew and his future wife with a real keepsake for their wedding gift. I decided to make a birch vase and carved a heart and added their initials to it....just like you would see on a tree. I didn't know if it would work, but when I opened my kiln I was very pleasantly surprised to see that IT DID! IT WORKED!! It not only worked, but it was beautiful! I was so pleased, and so were they when they received their beautiful keepsake gift.
My Birchware Pottery is food safe, functional and decorative. As with my Keepsake Wedding Vase, I also offer pottery and sculpture that is a one-of-a-kind creation.
I'll be keeping in touch in a later update. Until then, explore your gifts! You'll never know how far you can go until you try!