Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A letter from Hal

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Last year I met this really nice guy up at Sundance. His name was Hal. He was selling his photography up at the Harvest Market, and as I talked with him, he really gave me a lot of encouragement to do it too.

I sent him an email the other day, asking what to expect (as well as odds and ends which I won’t include here). However, this is his reply to me about what to do/what to expect.

I laughed.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…


Ahh…but of course I remember you! We spent time talking, and I encouraged you to “just do it!” And now you are! Congratulations!
We will be there also. I will answer your questions in the body of the text.

Bring $100 in cash. A couple of 20s, about 15 or 20 ones, and the rest in 5s and 10s. If you don’t you will be running around trying to find someone with change.

Bring a ticket book. Someone will want a receipt.

Bring a jacket…supposed to be cool…or worse.

Bring enthusiasm.

With regard to using credit cards, forget it. It takes weeks to set up a vendor account. You decide whether or not to take checks. I do. In the beginning, I sweat bullets over it, but not anymore.

With regard to setting prices, remember you have to recoup every penny you spent to bring your offering to the market. You only get it back one way...with sales. Remember in art you are dealing with the “magic” factor...the universal appeal some of your photos will have. I still haven’t found the top of the market. You have to get back your costs, but there is no top. Don’t sell yourself short, though. It is a thing you just have to learn, like everything else. If it sells well, I raise it. If it doesn't sell over a period of time, I put a new one in the frame. Some never sell. They teach me.

I put matted photos in a transparent plastic sleeve. Don’t buy the kind that have the adhesive on the flap. You can figure out why.

You asked what to expect. Expect to have fun. Expect to have 1,000 people to come in and go out of your tent, unhindered by any purchase. Expect someone to say “I like your work.” I still have trouble with that one. In my own mind, what I do is “stuff.” I don’t personally elevate it to the level of “work.” When people say that, I am embarrassed. Expect other photographers (you can tell them by the camera around their neck, with their finger on the trigger, who expect to take your work home free with them) who don’t have the courage you do, to come in and offer you a free evaluation of your “work.” One lady came in a few weeks ago, and said she just came in to see if my “work” was as good as hers.


Or someone will comment how they like your piece, but how it would look better if it was just a little this way or that. I thank them for their thoughtfulness, and ask where they are selling their stuff.

Expect the unexpected, not the least of which is the weather...

Expect to meet some really nice people, from any number of strange places, and expect to share your knowledge and encouragement with others who inquire, because you look like an expert now.

Get my drift? Congratulations for joining the rather limited group called, “doers.”

Good luck,


P.S. If you sell way too much, send the overage my direction.....

Well, I think you get an idea of how much fun this might actually be…I’m now so looking forward to it.

Scared? Absolutely.
Nervous? Right on.
Terrified? Check.
Excited? More every day.
A Doer? I am now.

Thanks, Hal.


Gerb said...

Hal sounds like a great guy. I mean, how many people do you know who are so willing to share their experience & advice with their "competition" (so to speak)? Best of luck with everything this weekend!

Panama Jones said...

Good luck. I'm sure it will be a great experience for you. Where is the Harvest Market and what are the hours?

Anonymous said...

I think you are going to have a blast! This is going to be a moment you will never forget, and talk about forever.
Good luck! I think you're already a lucky person, so all you really need is your smile...it looks good on you!

annette said...

What an awesome letter! I tend to get anxious too and some clear cut advice from someone who's been there helps a ton.

Teachinfourth said...

Gerb - He really is. Pretty laid back. Good thing too...

PJ - Well, it's this weekend. However, I put that in a post so this really isn't 'late breaking' information.

KJ - Tomorrow will really determine the feelings I have for the Harvest Market.

Nettle - Yeah, I did feel a bit more prepared than I'd have been otherwise.

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