Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Selling in the Rain!

by Katy Brown of muchacha K

On its face, selling your art outdoors in the rain does not seem like an awesome way to spend the day. In talking to other seasoned sellers though, and being one myself, I have learned that less than ideal weather is not always the kiss of death. This is important to remember as our lovely New England weather continues to give us small heart attacks through the Fall outdoor selling season!

One of my favorite ridiculous selling in the rain stories took place on opening day a few years ago at the SOWA Open Market. The opening day crowd was way down from the usual, purely because of the fantastic downpour that had decided to baptize the market full-body style. As I stood there in my tent, wet-cat shoppers ran from tent to tent, in good spirits, because they were the few, the hardy, the committed, and because of that, they were there to shop. As I handed change to one customer, my tent sprung a leak and water POURED into the back of the neck of my this point my jeans had also wicked water up to the knees, and my Chucks were one with the puddles. But I made more money that day than on a regular weather day.

One of my other fave stories along these lines is from a woman that I met while selling. She said she'd gone to an outdoor hippie music festival...the rain just kept getting worse and worse as she got closer to the festival and further from civilization. By the time she had gotten all the way there, she was so far from reality that she had no intention of going back. So she set mud up past her ankles. And waited...and as the festival opened, her tent was flooded with customers, not just mud! Again...they were the few, the hardy, and the "ready to spend".

I'm not saying that every outdoor market day is perfect, or that rainy weather days are always fantastic sales days. But they're not always the worst either. And when you sign up to sell outdoors, that's really part of the package that you have to accept: you will never have total control, over the weather, OR your sales. That's part of what I love. But I love it because I understand that for it to be worthwhile it's a commitment, that you get the best results over time/over several dates spent in one place, and that sometimes a rainy day is a blessing in disguise.

Another important thing to remember at shows...leaving early is generally considered extremely disrespectful to the event you are participating in, as well as to your fellow vendors. BUT...if that's not enough to hold you in your spot ready for the magical hour to chime so you can stuff your boxes and run...there are ALWAYS last minute shoppers. It's the smugly enjoyed right of those vendors who stay to the end, those last minute sales gems. There are always people who come flying in at the last minute because they were stuck in traffic, or because they just drove by and went "hey, looks like a market!" or because they had one too many Bloody Marys at brunch and had to sober up to drive to the show. Whatever the reason they're running late, because of the time crunch, the impending "we're about to pack up" feeling, they have to make their decisions fast, and many of them are ready to do so with cash in hand. When I see vendors pack up early, even on a dripping rainy day I think "suckers...more last minute sales for me...".

Just another reason to love outdoor selling in New England...where the weather really does change in just a few minutes at times and people love to shop local (right up to the last minute).

(Photo by Katy Brown/muchacha K at Concord Arts Market in Concord, NH)

1 comment :

  1. LOL, I think I was at SOWA that day, too! I don't know which is worse - rain or wind. But you're right - invariably bad weather = good sales. You also get alot of karma brownie points for sticking it out. I think I officially joined the SOWA 'in' crowd after the parking lot flood on one particularly challenging day and I didn't leave!


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