Sunday, October 11, 2009

still figuring it out...

Alright, just because I've got my plot of land & need to watch my fruit ripen (hmm...) doesn't necessarily mean I have my act together enough to have places to put the fruit (uh..yeah), or even to let others know that I've got a sweet little farm goin on (I think my analogy has fallen apart)...

So I did the Sunnyslope Artwalk last night. The good news is that I got sweet new packaging for my finger puppets the day before, which just finished off what they'd been lacking in person for so long. Alright, then! Sunnyslope art-walkers, be prepared to fall in love with some delicious puppet pie! Booyah! In your face artwalk-y people! Yeah!

Ok maybe a little less than that...I had a few people tell me how awesome they were & how I should try to sell to children's boutiques in Scottsdale & I had others tell me that they recognized me from the Puppet Slams. I sold 2 finger puppets to some really rad teenagers who came back 3 times before they got money from their parents (Thanks, stranger Mom & Dad!).

So that's good, right? I made my money back from the booth fee plus three dollars! $3 is good for 8 hours, right?

I mean, it would be good if the people to the right & left of me hadn't been selling things every 5-10 minutes....I felt very over-looked. And I wasn't the whole night, I did get people coming by & telling me that my stuff was great, but anytime I had a lull, it was a long one & nobody else was lulling.

They sell so much better online, and I'm not sure why. Are people buying them because they like what I write? Do they just look horrible in-person? Are people afraid to pay $12-$18 on something 2" tall in person whereas they're okay with it online? Why did I forget to buy eyes while I was at Michael's the other day? Drat......And what about Naomi?

So I was sitting back and observing a lot. My friend Erin makes the most amazing Sock Zombies in the world. She just won a Best of Phoenix Award for them. We were in the same issue of the Phoenix NewTimes, I was in as an artist, she was in as a winner of "Best Zombie Related Art", & I'm all manners of proud..Anwyay, she was on one side, and some tweens were on the other side with bottlecaps-turned-magnets that they were selling for charity. I kept hearing "Whoopies" "Sock Zombies" all night...

Was anyone saying "Puppet Pie"? Well of course order to see those words anywhere, they'd have to walk over, pick up a plastic box & look at the bottom (of which the lids keep popping off) before they could even find the words "puppet pie". And even then, when they flipped things over the first things out of their mouths were "No choking allowed" and then they'd say the name of the puppet. Just walking by, from far away they could see some things in containers & a pig hand puppet inside of an unfinished wood dollhouse (I keep saying I need to put electricity in before I put wallpaper I'm stalling)--but nowhere could they see the fantastical words "Puppet Pie" to intrigue them to see what was in the actual booth. (On a side note, I dont think I'll use the dollhouse again until I finish it. because really...)

It's the same reason that nobody bought the painted dirt clods that Zachary & I sold from the playhouse in my parents' backyard when we were 7. Nobody knew we were there! Had they known, we'd have run out of the painted dirt clods, for sure--and probably have had the local paper come and do a story on the operation to boot! (It really was high quality work)

So long story short...ok not really short, but to conclude my long story, I'm making a banner. Well, I'm designing a banner & I'll have someone print it up & ship it to me.

I questioned whether or not I should just give up doing artwalks, but I think I can't give up just yet. I'll get a banner first, then I'll give up! That's called perserverance, and baby, I gots it!

Again, with the spelling...I hope I got at least a 97%.


Sharona R. said...

I don't do many craft fairs, but each time I do I wonder why I bothered. It's fun meeting people, but there are so many considerations for making sales.. I think you got a point though. Number 1 is letting them know you are there, in big bold letters.

staceyrebecca said...

I don't do many either...mostly the ones that are attended by dorky adults that collect things have been the ones that pan out okay.

do you wonder if it's the field of things we make? For the time that needs to go into a puppet, that people see it more as a toy than a piece of art?

I had one woman stop by & mention how she "made these for the kids when they were little" & I got all snotty in my head &, you didn't make *these* made toys.

Sharona, if you don't mind, take a peek at my potential banner (that took me ages & ages to make) & tell me what you think.

Kristen said...

Hi Stacey!

first of all I love you!

I think your finger puppets are lovely and adorable. I think it's important to remember what is art to us *is* a toy to someone else. Way back I took a business workshop with Pix and one thing I came away with is to know what people are buying (and how that is often different than what you are selling). The context he was talking about was puppet shows-- for the puppeteer it art and moving and beautiful etc. for the client, it's babysitting. I think there is power in acknowledging that. at the very least it helps with marketing.

I like your banner! I agree with some of the comments on flicker (that the sandwich could be brighter and the letters could use a thin black outline to help it read) as well as the schooching you mentioned. Maybe a font with a little more personality-- but still super easy to read.

I think your farming gardening metaphor works. We're in the process of buttoning up our garden for the winter so my head it totally in the gardening metaphor zone. it takes work-- but the work is in phases-- it's not all the same type of work all year long. Planning and seed selection are large components and from year to year you move things around to help the nutrients in the soil remain balanced. You're also adding nutrients like compost (this is like taking a class or workshop) to enrich the soil.

This comment is getting awfully long winded. Let me know if I can help with anything!

and there is nothing wrong with making toys

staceyrebecca said...

Yay! thank you Kristen!

It's funny because I've been working on the farm at Noah's school, getting beds ready, irrigation lines down, composting the soil,'s on my brain, too.

I think I'm going to make the font brown. I tried fonts with more personality & they left it looking kinda cheesy.

Yeah, I totally know what you mean with the art vs toy. I recognize that most things I make are toys, but then there's the detailed finger puppet that takes 3-5 hours & *that* is art. I don't mind selling to children's boutiques or to have parents buy my puppets for kids, but I'd much rather be in toy stores & galleries that cater to things for grown-ups...And to be honest, my work sells better when it's marketed to people at comic book conventions vs. to people wanting toys for children. I'm being rebellious & telling the world what I am, instead of the other way around. (take that, world!) It'd go more smoothly the other way, but smooth is for babies. ;)

I'll put a link up on flickr to the new banner soon. :)

Night Owl Craftworks said...

Question... why don't you make your banner? It would be a TON of work, but it would make you stand out! All I can think of when you talk about your banner and the name puppet pie is Word World on PBS. I can see puffy letters in the shape of a pie with some of your wonderful puppets hanging all around you! I hope I'm not being too "crafty".

My husband sells pottery and he has a similar problem at shows. We really had to step back and look at where we were presenting his items. It is always a crap shoot, unfortunatly. When we'd find a venue we thought would be great, we'd bomb... usually HARD! No one knows what you do, or how much work and love you put into your creations as you do. You have to tell them that! You have to tell them that it is an Art! I think your puppets would do VERY well at a renegade craft fair, or art vs. craft.

Have you thought of actually doing a little play about your puppets & puppet pie at the shows? I think that would be fun. Good luck in the future, your work is exquisite!

staceyrebecca said...

thanks night owl!

Usually art shows frown on doing performances in your booth. I did think of bringing a finger puppet stage for people to use & *completely* forgot to do that until just now. But then again, my finger puppets are tucked away in boxes now. (I could have testers, I suppose)

I'd thought about making a banner, but honestly, I'm not a banner-maker...I'm a puppeteer. I'd much rather spend my time making puppets or writing shows.

You're likely right about the venue. I'll try it again with the banner & maybe a better display. But I think about the display that I'd like, & it's all rather pricey.

I could get creative & build something, but it's difficult to know what will be effective & what won't. It's hard for me to decide to sink time & $ into it when I don't know if doing art shows is something I want to continue to do.

I'm sure it will all work itself out without me having to put any effort into it at all...right?

Night Owl Craftworks said...

lol... what ever you do it will be amazing and work out great, I'm sure!

Vicki said...

I had a similar experience recently... my friend and I who do a booth together watched as the people to the right and left of us sold things frequently, but in our booth people weren't buying.

In our case, I think we hadn't gotten our prices right or something, because we had plenty of people coming into our booth and saying very nice things about our work.

We did have a banner, and I think that made a HUGE difference. People were drawn to it like a magnet, and would wander all the way across the street to see what was inside because they saw the banner. If only we could have turned those into sales!

I used to print the banner, it was the cheapest for the best quality that I could find!

staceyrebecca said...

Vicki, I think you're onto something with the prices. I think they'd fly off the shelves if they were $5 each, but that just doesn't cover my costs.

I have another show coming up this Saturday. I have my banner, I have my swanky shelves & stands. I've even got a little puppet stage so kids can walk around the back & do a puppet show with some "tester" puppets. So we'll see!