Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Key to Getting to Market on Time is......................... Part 2

Welcome Back

Gary and I have sat down many an evening at the computer designing and perfecting labels for my numerous projects. The next stage in the process is to print out and cut out a label for every single one of my freshly completed goods. I like to finish my work to a high and professional standard and the labels add the finishing touch that satisfies this standard for me. For a long time I just used a good old fashioned scissors to cut out my labels. One day I spotted a super fancy cutting device called an XcutShape Cutter System in a hobby shop. I requested it as a birthday present and my good parents willingly obliged. Now I use this to help make the labelling stage a little more efficient. In a very short period of time I am surrounded by paper clippings, my single-hole punch and piles of market ready key-rings. This generally takes place the day before the market and it is all go go go until the last minute.

The second last stage in the process is my most loathed; packing. I bloody hate packing! I have to wrap everything in bubble wrap and tissue paper, put things in boxes and arrange them all in the giant suitcase I take with me to markets. I find it really stressful and all my nerves about the coming day show up as I try to organise the mess into a one-stop-shop for all my marketing needs. I get snippy and worried about all the details. Do I have enough stock? Did I remember to bring the sticky tape? Is my work any good? How many paper bags should I bring? Am I wearing any trousers? It is at this point that I think Gary would like to drown me. But he doesn’t, good man. He tells me to put down the scissors and go to bed. I resist for about ten minutes and then fall down from tiredness.

The last stage of the Bad Bear Key-rings journey is to arrive at their destination. Market day starts early. Sometimes I take the bus, suitcase in tow; on a lucky day some lovely person will be available to drive me and my wares to the market location. After finding my allocated spot, I then set about unpacking, arranging and displaying my art pieces on the table provided. I will bring tablecloths, props and different receptacles to display my work. I would sometimes do a mock-up table the day before to get a sense of how I want the finished table to look.

I feel it is very important to present your work well, so much effort has gone into getting it to this stage, it is only right that it should be shown off at its best. I feel attention to detail is key; plenty of colour and variety, well displayed prices and information and interesting or unusual set-ups always catches the eye in my experience. I will admit to having a bit of a pet peeve about poorly displayed prices at markets and in shops in general. I know it can be a sales tactic to get people to ask the cost of something in order to be able to engage with them as the customer. But having worked in retail for a good few years, I feel I just can’t employ such devices to get sales. I prefer for someone to buy something if they really want it, know they can afford it and don’t feel pressurised into the purchase. Strong feelings! Me?? Never!

Anyway…….. The final thing to do is smooth the tablecloth for the umpteenth time, straighten yourself out and sit behind your (hopefully) beautiful table and…….RELAX. Take a deep breath and take in your surroundings. The day is about to begin and the market is just about to open. There is no knowing how the day will unfold but I always feel I am glad I have taken the risk to be the person behind the table, proudly declaring that “Yes, I made all this myself”.   

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