The bags under our eyes have not fully dissipated from the Minnesota State Fair, but the show must go on! As entrepreneurs in the art world, Art Fairs are an important opportunity to get our work out there to the public. We love when we are given opportunities to head to events that are new for us, such as the “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison WI this weekend. If this isn’t your world, you might not realize what it takes for artists like us to prepare ourselves for these events, so I thought I’d take a little time to share what a week before an art show looks like for us..
This weekend we are at “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison WI. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art puts this show on. I have actually applied for a few years for this show, as with these higher end art fairs there is an application process. The first year I applied, we didn’t get in. Then, in 2020 I was wait-listed, which ended up being canceled. This year I was on the wait-list again, but was eventually invited to join this year’s event, so we are so excited for this opportunity.
It’s always a guessing game going into a show when it comes to what products we should bring to an event like this. We look at the context of the event and aspects of the area that might help influence our choices.
Not only do we need to think about our collection offerings, we also need to think about the format of these offerings. How many pieces should we bring? How many of each piece? What sizes do we bring? What colors? We’ve discovered that what might be super successful for one show isn’t a big hit at a different show. We’ve really had to find ways to interpret our audience as best we can before we get there. A perfect example would be of our mini moderns. At a smaller fair we sold 50 of these pieces. Yet, at the massive Minnesota State Fair, we only sold a few of these pieces. Instead, other items were the big hitters. It’s a bit of a crap shoot, honestly.
Once we have everything built and ready, the task of packing and traveling to an event is the next step. We have learned a lot about this through trial and error. We have learned to pack efficiently, and the way we present ourselves at these events has evolved over time. Our drive this weekend is seven hours one way. However, the most challenging aspect of the fair this weekend is it’s location. Due to being downtown and surrounding the Wisconsin State Capitol, we are given a mere 15 minutes to unload everything we need for the fair. This is something we have never done! We have to unload a six by twelve trailer and the back of our truck, including our booth walls in that minuscule amount of time. It sounds impossible, but we are just going for it, hoping that Nathanael and I, as well as our sons Isaac and Lincoln can work together to make it happen!
Art Fairs are integral to a successful year as artists. We have high hopes for the “Art Fair On The Square” this weekend, as we’ve heard really great things about this event. We met another artist at the Ann Arbor Art Fair who got into this fair one year and sold out on day 1! We know that won’t be the case for us, as we always overpack for these events. But hopefully we will have the right amount of variety that will successfully engage our audience.
The exciting news regarding our decisions for this event is that we are launching more Gatsbys at very large sizes with a more affordable price point. These pieces will be up to 5 feet long. We are bringing 4 large originals that are very tedious to create at the higher price point. We will also be bringing replicas at a much more affordable price point, offered online as well, starting today! We will have color choices available to choose from, so make sure to check those out at the fair and online.
The “Art Fair On The Square” in Madison is our last art fair until our final one of the year taking place locally. The Duluth Winter Village will take place in December. I have to admit, I was feeling a little bummed when I thought about the fact that we’re leaving home again for long days at the fair, after having been gone so many days for the Minnesota State Fair. In that month, we slept only 4 days in our own bed. Traveling can take a toll on you, especially with family. Yet, it’s our choice and part of the reality of being in the business we are in.
And there is a great amount of excitement and satisfaction that we get to experience because of it. In the end, we love what we do and take all the aspects of our business in stride.
When we get home, we’ll be just a few days away from one of our favorite months! October is the Birthday of our Business and we love celebrating all month long! We have some really exciting things that we have brainstormed in celebration of our 6th Birthday this year. We have a limited edition, 11” round Bailey Buildable which we have created, and will be free with a purchase price of $250 or more, in store and online. We will also have a fun deal when shopping locally at our storefront. We have created Bailey Builds Mosaic Cash tokens that you can collect the more you spend, and use them as cash towards a Bailey Builds art purchase in Nov. and Dec. We can’t wait to share and celebrate our journey so far with you!
Thanks for being a part of making our year amazing!