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5 Steps Vendors Should Consider Before Their 1st Show

Preparing to Vend at events

One of the first things you’ll need in order to vend at an event is a toolkit for setting up your space; this is going to be something you can put in a bag (or suitcase, depending on the size of your vending space) and bring to any and every event. You will also need stock or at least samples of your wares to show off (that’s the easy part). Setting up is where things get tricky, so here is what you need to bring:

A Table Cloth

There’s nothing worse than having to display your wares on an old pock-marked table covered in paint, glue, or just plain wear and tear. If a table is supplied to you, bringing a table cloth as a backdrop for your polished final pieces can add a touch of professionalism as well as allow you to curate the mood you want. Are your pieces bright and colourful? Maybe you want a dark backdrop for them to stand out against. Do you produce a lot of fanart or pattern pieces? A piece of fabric with colourful characters on it might draw the eye of potential patrons. You can easily purchase any length of fabric for this purpose at a fabric store.

Display Furniture

Display furniture is anything you use to prop up or otherwise display your art. This type of item can be purchased from amazon or made at home depending on your needs. Wire cubes you can deconstruct are popular because of their ability to build height; displaying your work at different heights is imperative because if someone is standing in front of your table, you still want other patrons to be able to see your work. A table with wares that are difficult to see is not a successful table. You can use simple cardboard boxes covered by your table cloth, or easels, or (if you’re lucky) sometimes the curator of the event will offer you wall space to display your work on.

Branding/Signage

The simplest way to network and popularize yourself at events is by having business cards available. How your card is set up is up to you, but generally it’s a good idea to have the name of your business, your name, a way to contact you, and a link to your social media or online portfolio. Even if someone doesn’t buy from you the evening your showing is, giving them your card increases the chances they might buy from you at a later date. Banners are also a good idea, and they’re surprisingly affordable! Services like Vistaprint can produce a small, full colour banner for around twenty dollars. Most banners are vinyl or cloth that you can tape directly to your table or pin to your table cloth. You want your banner to have your business name and logo (if you have one) and some sense of who you are as an artist, usually through previews of your art.

A Float

If you anticipate selling anything (and you should) then you should be prepared to offer people change for their cash. Bring either a cash box or some kind of cash apron with $50-100 in small bills and change. This way there’s no chance a customer will have to decline to purchase when you don’t have any change to offer. It helps to have your items priced to rounded amounts so less money juggling needs to happen at all.

Miscellaneous/Incidentals

You never really know what’s going to happen at an event, so it’s best to plan for the potential of anything happening. I keep a small bag with scissors, tape, bulldog clips, thumb tacks, sticky tack, twine, price stickers, plastic bags (for customer purchases), extra print sleeves, two markers, pens, pencils, a notebook to keep track of sales, a Square (credit card reader), a water bottle, and a power bank/portable charger for my phone during shows. You never know what piece of equipment or mounting material will fail you, so it’s always good to have extra.

A great opportunity to try out vending (or continue vending) is at #TAAP6 in December with CreativeUTO!

5 Places Toronto Artists Can Go To Create Art in 2018

5 Places Toronto Artists Can Go To Create Art

Sometimes you just need to get out of your living space to explore new artistic ideas. Or maybe your house doesn't have the space you need to work. Whatever your reason to get out, here are five places you can go when working on your art at home just isn't an option:

The Toronto Public Library

The library is a great place to go if you prefer a quieter space; it's ideal for the planing stages of projects, simple sketching, or use of other dry mediums. The library usually has a variety of long tables to work at as well as a number of cozy armchairs nestled in quiet corners if all you're looking for is a spot to doodle in your sketchbook. While this space might not be ideal for your large painting or sculpting projects (the librarians will likely frown upon your messier endeavours), this space is the perfect spot if what you need is four different walls to take your sketchbook and headphones.

A Pub, Coffee Shop, or Bar

This is one of my favourite options because it allows you to set up work dates with friends! There's nothing nicer than sharing ideas with other artists over an ice cold pint or cider. The benefits of this space also include the availability of table space and the option of snacks. Like the library, this space is not ideal for larger or messier projects, but you can likely get away with working on smaller watercolor pieces and covert life drawing; public spaces offer the opportunity to sketch the many other patrons of the space.

A Park or Field

Landscape artists look no further! A public park or field offers the perfect opportunity for a picnic while you work. Provided your supplies can be packed up neatly, this is also the perfect place for you to do your larger paintings and other wet medium work without worrying about paint fumes. You can rest wet brushes in the grass, set up your easel, and get creative! The green space offers opportunities to capture your local flora in natual light.

A Friend's House

Taking turns working out of one another's houses can help to keep you motivated to produce more art; your friend is there to keep you accountable. Your artist friends will also likely have a functional work space that you can use to work on a variety of projects (wet or dry mediums) and possibly new materials for you to use and experiment with. If you're good enough friends, they might even provide snacks!

An Artist Co-Op Space/Studio

This is probably the most difficult space to find; you'll need to do some research to locate spots in your city that function as a place for artists to congregate. Frequently university and college campuses will have studio space available for use, but you may need to be a student (or have a friend that is a student) to use it. Public co-op spaces sometimes charge a rental fee or a monthly membership fee in order to use the space, but sometimes this will be your only option if you're working on large exhibition-style art or massive paintings.