Azalea Trails show ~ Tyler, Texas
We did the Azalea Trails show in Tyler, Texas over the weekend, and enjoyed it tremendously.. Didn’t do well sales-wise, but we’re okay about that. We only sold one painting, but if it hadn’t been for the hotel cost, we would have had a small profit for the show. As it was, we lost money. But, in spite of that, we both felt it was a very good, positive experience. The visitors were wonderful, all very nice, all very complimentary. We got a ton of traffic in the booth. People came in, stayed and looked a lot, and asked a lot of questions. One lady told Nell my prices were too low, but she didn’t buy anything, so I guess she meant for everybody but her.
Aside from lack of sales, there were only two real negatives for us. There were kids’ activities set up in the center of the park, one of which was a rock climbing thing. When a climber reached the top, they hit a button that made a loud whistle sound. We learned to ignore that, but by Sunday afternoon, they discovered that if they held the button down, they got car alarm sounds, which continued as long as they held down the button. It got a bit obnoxious, and made it difficult to carry on a conversation with potential buyers. The other negative was the two ladies behind us who, by Sunday afternoon, were shouting “30 percent off! Everything’s discounted!”, like hawkers in a circus midway. Sadly, during breakdown, I actually saw one of them toss some of the “crafts” that didn’t sell into a trash barrel. So much for pride of workmanship.
Regarding my own work, it appears that one of my roles in life now will be to single-handedly educate the world about gouache. I need to make a couple of small signs that say “It’s pronounced GWASH”, because that was the most asked question The second question was “What is it?”.
Tyler people made us feel very welcome. In fact, one of the things that struck us was how many people thanked US as they left the booth.
I need to give credit to my friend, Mary Grace, a photographer and photoshop whiz, who printed some beautiful postcard handouts for me.
I met the mom of one of my former co-workers. She’s very active in the Tyler art community, and we knew of each other, but had never met. Aside from being so sweet, she introduced me to a few people, and we had quite a number of art league members who came in to say hello, all of them saying that Jo had told them I was there, and by the end of the day Saturday, they all seemed to already know about the demo. (I got invited to do a demonstration for the Tyler local art club on May 21st.)
After the show in Austin a couple of weeks ago, we discovered that everything does fit into the Trailblazer, so we’ll probably forego getting a trailer until it makes sense economically. It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but it does work. Setup wasn’t bad… we learned a bit more this trip. We got the tent set up on Friday night, mostly in the dark, and then did the rest on Saturday morning. It did take us two hours, but we put up the last item exactly at show time. We think we can trim the setup time a lot with experience. We’ve already found a few shortcuts for next time. Break down took us about an hour and a half, but we moved slowly because another exhibitor was supposed to come buy a painting, and then changed her mind, but didn’t let us know. We decided that we won’t wait for someone like that again.
In addition to the sandbag weights that came with the tent, I had made some concrete weights with big coffee cans. We didn’t use them on Saturday, but attached them before shutting down Saturday evening. Good thing. We got some pretty good wind Sunday afternoon, which probably slowed the breakdown a bit as well. But the tent stood firm.
Nell and I have been discussing framing. Even though we got a couple of nice comments about the framing, Nell’s about got me convinced that it would make more sense to use only one or two frame styles for everything. I also read an article this morning with that recommendation on festivalnet.com. When I look at the photos, I can see where it might give a more cohesive appearance. If we can find some nice, simple frames that we can buy in bulk at a reasonable price, it would sure simplify things. I’d be interested in comments anyone has on the subject.
It’s been eighteen years since we did these shows, and we’ve discovered some muscles today that we forgot we had. But we both agreed on the way home that we would do this one again.