Fall is here for sure!! It's cold outside in Chicago. On a whim, I said YES, when my friend Martha called to ask me if I'd like to participate in the Ravenswood Art Walk, in one of the outdoor locations where a volunteer organizer was looking for more vendors. While I did debate a bit about how to make it happen & if I even wanted it to happen in just 2 weeks from that phone call, I decided to just go ahead and do it--even though I had to cancel a scheduled chainmaille class at Lill Street. Why not, it was free to me & I just had to show up & sell!
Saturday morning setup was ferociously windy & only about 45 degrees. Jose (the boyfriend) & I struggled through setting up the tent & went to grab all four of the 60lb sand bags for each leg of the tent, when the wind decided to grab the tent & throw it over the power lines, laughing at our attempt to set up in this weather. Three people jumped in to help go after the tent & return it to the ground. He bungee-d the tent to the chainlink fence, put the weights on & I started setting up the jewelry displays, when our backs were suddenly were smacked with someone else's tent, ensuring that all the neckforms, and table displays would fall down! OK then, so what now? Well we decided to duck tape all the neck forms, bracelets forms, ring forms, etc to the table & the risers and yet again, the wind said "Haha! Good Try!" and with a mighty blow, knocked various bits & pieces off the table & into the gravel lot ensuring they'd get full of chalky, wet & grey yuckiness.
What happened next is I called the organizer and begged her to see if there was an indoor spot. Nope there wasn't one. So I started packing up to go. All the other artists who also were trying to set up kept asking me if I was leaving and yes, I had to go as I couldn't afford to replace hundred of dollars of jewelry & display pieces. People got talking & it turns out that 2 of those people were show organizers also and asked for my card for upcoming events they were having. They didn't even get to see my work, but they saw my persistence & maybe, just maybe that is what made them want to get to know me a bit. At that point, the other artists also called the organizer and begged for an indoor spot & she found us one!!
Sitting behind the fermentation tanks in a brewery with just my 6' table and 3 other artists with their tables, made for an interesting rest of my afternoon. Guess what, I sold 2 pieces, drank some free amazing beer & networked with the other artists! Not so bad, considering a few hours before I was packing up thinking I'm going back home. What about the next day on Sunday?? Would I be allowed to come back and sit in the brewery--not likely. My friend Martha told me about a spot that opened up in the building where she was selling her jewelry & I decided to go take it.
Yay for Sunday! Great location, people giving away free food, really personable & amazing artists, lots of traffic, and my positive & engaging attitude = SALES! A few hundred bucks, networking with local artists--one that I knew from a previous collaborative project--, and almost running out of business cards made for a great weekend that cost me just my time. Though time is money & precious, I believe that I gained a lot from just saying YES.
Moral of the story: I think you get it, but can I just say it again?! Say YES, when you are presented with opportunities that are relatively easy to make happen and extend yourself just a bit more to make it work in your favor--even when it seems hopeless. Remain positive & open and you just never know what could happen!
Sand bags & tent are officially retired for the season...