My Festival Fiasco, Part Two: Lessons Learned

105053-499824-thumbnail.jpgThe fact that Autumn has, indeed, arrived, should be reason enough that my feet are still cold. But of course you know I'm blaming it on my handful of hours at the Asheboro Fall Festival on Saturday. When the cold and rain soaked into me so deeply that I still seem unable to extract it from my bones. Even looking at the lone photo I took that didn't feature the booth I shared with Dena Harris, who has written her own eloquent observations this morning over here, still makes me cold. I'll bet you're cold, too, looking at it. Arentcha?

Okay, so I just left the room and put on socks and now I'm gonna' try and be a little more concise than yesterday, and share the lessons I learned about festival participation and how they relate to me and my ability to share my great fun jewelry with the world. Then move on to the To Do List that awaits.

Lessons I've (Hopefully) Learned 

  • Always, always follow your intuition. Even When You Don't Like What It's Telling You. Even When It Goes Against What Confident Others Are Telling You.

    Relative Translation: In spite of the fact that this festival has been in existence since I was in diapers, and is widely lauded as one of the best around, if the weather report says it's gonna' be cold and rainy, and you, like me, happen to be one of those people who does not like to sit under a tent in said rain and cold and be exposed to the elements for hours on end, maybe this isn't the year for you. Much as you might want it to be. Wishing doesn't make it so. (I'm directing this one specifically to my inner Denial Girl.)

  • Make a decision about festivals in general. Stick to it.

    Relative Translation:  For several years now, I've been feeling a wishy-washy ambivalence to festivals, fairs and markets. I love going to them, of course. Love, LOVE visiting them and finding way cool things to buy. But setting up a booth of my own work (cool as that work may be,) and sitting by while strangers and occasional acquaintances and even more occasional friends walk by and see what I have, and hoping I don't have that "Are you gonna' get something?" look on my face that so makes me uncomfortable when I'm on the other side of the table...well, that's something I've got to give some thought to. Some serious thought. Sure, there are excellent elements to being a festival participant, and I'm thinking of all these elements in relation to my upcoming festivals, already scheduled.

    But now that I've successfully begun to market my work to boutiques, I find I much prefer the way such transactions occur: I make the jewelry. Somebody else sells it to their customers. They take a cut. I get paid. I make more jewelry. Happiness Ensues.

  • Be Prepared. Really. Especially when you're selling outside.

    Relative Translation: In spite of the fact that I've acquired (and constructed,) rather a lot of remarkable presentation materials over the past years and can create a fairly nice booth for one of these festivals, regardless of where it's held, more than one unfortunate windy day that's coincided with the Day Of The Event has again reminded me that it's really, really tricky to showcase jewelry in an artistically compelling manner that's also professional and stable. "Stable" begins to carry as much weight as "artistically compelling," now that this weekend's wind is so fresh in my memory.

    Wonder if I should just consider not doing anymore outside festivals, period?

No doubt I could go on and on but something occurred to me this morning when I was anticipating writing this second part. I loathe the practice of rehashing old news. Before too long, it begins to smack of a whining inability to Just Get Over It Already. I much prefer the idea of learning necessary lessons and then letting things go.

And in so saying, she wished her readers a fine Monday indeed, signed off, and got to work on a website update for a client she met in Seattle lo these many months ago and wondered what the weather's like in said city...