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Musings, art pieces, compiled mishmash of creative blobs and the daily life of Lyza Roderick – artist, visual merchandiser, + lover of the earth. Owner of Dreamsongs on Etsy Follow my creative + crazy journey discovering the ins + outs of well, everything.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Virgin Territory: Festival Prep How-To

This whole time I'm screaming in my head, "I've never done this before!" and my stress level is at an all time high.
But here we are. 15 more days. ONLY 15 DAYS LEFT UNTIL LOVE LOCAL FEST.

I have SO much more to do. Luckily I started this process months in advance, which is a miracle because I'm such a procrastinator. Smartest thing I may have ever done, actually.
Now's the time to not panic. Calm, cool, collected, and lazer focus.

So here is my own little

Poppin' the Festival Cherry How-To:

Step #1:

Relax. Even though you probably have no time for it. 
While also running Dreamsongs, I work full time at Wicked Thrift so my time for my own business is very limited.
What I do to relax and to keep myself balanced and clear (besides drinking wine, even though that makes you unbalanced and probably not so clear) is yoga.
I actually began a Yoga Challenge, which syncs up perfectly with the countdown to the festival. I take time to do it before I head off to work in the morning.
{via Free People}

I suggest finding something easy for you to do each day that gives you a little break from the real world and brings you back to your center. This will help you stay positive and focused during this crazy time.
If you can't find something small to do daily, then just take a day off.
It's ok, I won't tell anyone. 
Do something you enjoy. Go to the beach, indulge in your other hobbies, or just lay around on a rainy day and watch a few seasons of Sex and the City. Usually, when I do this, I end up feeling guilty for taking time to myself and then work slowly but surely while I watch TV.
So it's a win/win.

Step #2:

Make Lists.
Even if you are not a "list person" it's important to keep a list of things you need to have done or bring with you for the festival/market.
{via Julie Ann Art}
{via adventures-in-making}
Start with the basics: Your Inventory. (but more on that later) Next, move on to your main checklist. What exactly do you need to bring to make this a successful festival? Both of these lists pictured are great examples (and printable!) of checklists.
First off, make sure you have your basics: tent, table, inventory.
Then move on to the others: cash, food, business cards, your credit card reader, bags, etc.
Then the not so obvious: Tools, a notebook to track your sales, receipts, your sellers permit (you never know if you'll need it!), a chair or two, something to weight your tent down with, string/zip ties, scissors (I always feel like I'm gonna forget those), a water bowl for dogs (they are people, too). Literally ANYTHING can happen so just make sure you are prepared for something to break, a thirsty dog, your tent to fly away, someone to have low blood sugar and almost collapse into a diabetic seizure (ok thats extreme but hey, it could happen so bring candy, every body loves candy), or someone to hand you a $100 bill for your first sale.
In short, be prepared.

Step #3:

Inventory. Have stuff to sell, duh!
I'm sure you are going crazy (because I know damn well I am) trying to create all the things you wanna sell. It is important to make sure you have enough inventory but don't push past your niche. Make multiples of things so you can easily re-stock when something sells. If you have more of a "one-of-a-kind" business, then just make a lot of stuff that falls under the same category. You gotta have a lot of stuff to make your table look full. If it doesn't look full, people are gonna think you don't have a lot of variety aka anything that they may like and just walk right by without a second glance.
BUT make sure the things that you are bringing properly represent your brand or business. Have a good variety of things but don't go overboard. You only have limited space to display all of your items.
I know you're thinking, "what the hell do you know? You're writing this 15 days before your first ever  Festival!" (SHIT I only have 15 days and I'm writing a damn blog post! But I digress...) Yeah, you're right. I haven't done my first festival yet but I can tell you, you don't wanna over extend your brand. The more you take on all these different things because you "know they will sell", the more you are dissolving your business into just a mush of random stuff. Don't be a Walmart or a Target. Be You. That's like branding 101. Make things that make you stand out.

Step #4:

How are you gonna set up your tent?
Display your stuff. Market your goods.
Honestly, I haven't completed this rule/step yet. I have all the things I want to use for displays but I'm just not sure how to place things just yet and I haven't started working on the things that I want to make for displays.
This is where I start freaking out.

Think of your tent as your own little retail store. Make it reflect your brand and your personality.
Just like a retail store, first things first: have a sign. Whether you print it out on paper and tape it to something or make your own pretty little sign, make sure people know where they are when they are browsing your goods. Put your logo on EVERYTHING. 
I do actually know what I'm talking about when it comes to display making. That's my job job, like real life job. I do retail displays and fashion merchandising so you can trust me on this bit if anything.  
So you have a tent and a table and just under 2 hours to set up?
Don't panic.
Side Note: before you even get to the festival, you should do a mock set up the day before and make sure you know exactly how to execute your displays so you don't waste anytime.
Pop up your tent, weigh it down, set up your table, and get your inventory and bins out of your car.
Next, start beautifying.
Little things you're gonna wanna have and set up next: A table covering that will accentuate your handmade items, walls or a backdrop for your tent if you didn't buy the one that comes with them already, and/or a banner that displays your shop name.
This was me trying to make cool tie-dyed walls for my tent.
It was pretty cool, until I washed it. Now I just have a pink sheet.
Understand my frustration? Freeeaking out.
Once those basics are done, break out the display pieces.
When working with a table you wanna create height and depth. This creates interest. Nothing is interesting about a flat piece of land but when you add some trees and some mountains in the background, the scenery gets a lot more appealing.
  Find something to use as a riser for the back row of your table. Maybe a cool box or an old foot stool? Or even an easel. Just make sure whatever you are using, you can also utilize it. If it's an easel, put your sign on it. If it's a box, display pieces on top of it. Don't just put something somewhere for the hell of it. You don't have a lot of space so don't waste it.
After you have placed your max height displays in the back row, move to the next row. This would be a good place to add a cute vase of flowers, a picture frame with something that represents your brand, a mannequin head if you do some sort of accessory that involves heads/necks/faces... something decorative and fun.
{via tumblr}
An example template of a retail table display
Last but not least, the flat front row of the table.
This is where I intend to lay out all of my jewelry. This place is a good place for all your "flat" merchandise. Fold some clothes/scarves/whatever, lay out some jewelry, place some of your prints here, etc. This is where people are gonna dig in and touch stuff.
You'll also wanna add your business cards in a cool lil business card holder at the very front of your table so they are easily accessible and non-invasive (plus that candy dish for the candy I mentioned earlier).
And Voila! Take a few steps back and check out your tent. Would you wanna shop there? Is there anything you can move to fill in empty space? Taking a look from a distance helps you get into the head of your potential customer. Draw them in, make it look pretty and approachable.

4 steps, that's it?
Well, yeah, kinda.
Like I said, I started planning all my stuff months in advance. I can't even fall fast asleep at night without going over my countless to-do lists and check lists I have on my phone just to make sure I'm not missing anything and I'm on the right track.
Borderline Obsessed.
Nah, I am obsessed. Ambition, baby.
lyrics from So Ambitious -  Jay Z feat. Pharrell
So 15 days...
Bye bye, I'll be drowning in quartz and hemp and suede and feathers until then.
If you actually read this and take into account everything I've said and this helps you, thank you. I'm glad I could help and I'm happy that you have come here and read all of my nonsense and stuff and that you care. I hope your own craft shows/festivals/markets are crazy successful and you make your dreams come true!