Monday, 17 October 2011

Day three on the market stall: things can only get better

After my disappointment on day 2, now 3 weeks ago, I was afraid that this might be my last post. I now feel a bit more revitalized and I'm happy to say that it is not. The most important thing was that I was able to make a profit, and that's what ultimately keeps me going, otherwise what's the point. Thankfully the weather was ideal - sunny, if slightly chilly. My colleague and I also ended up having separate stalls (for a small supplement on the rent) and fortunately we had enough stock with us that the stalls didn't look bare. This was the first time that I had a full stall in my right and it was the first real measure of selling my pictures in a properly organized and dedicated space.

Here's a pic from Saturday:

Anyway, things were a little slow to get going but by the afternoon I had quite a bit of interest. Lots of business cards taken. I also included a card with all my sold items - definitely a good idea.

I've found that loose, un-mounted prints are actually selling well. People seem to like rifling through the mounted prints that I had boxed too. It's akin to that feel if going through album sleeves I think. My current concern is how best to package them, though, (wallets, for example) and also my base price that I'm prepared to ask.

I still think the look of the stall needs some work. A couple  of thoughts here:
  • A backdrop banner, but I'm lacking a proper Identity at the moment, so...
  • Develop the brand
  • Pricing sheets and offers need to be laminated
  • Better use of the space and general layout, still feels a bit bare
  • Keep a check on damaged frames
  • Keep a good track of items sold and how much for
  • Have a few framed presentation pieces, but keep the main focus on the mounted and loose prints
The other important consideration I need to make is to how the prints balance with my Canvas Portaits, available to order online, but how do I market them at the stall? I still don't think it's working enough for me as a 'shop front'. It's my ambition that ultimately the canvas service will take over from the stall, but this at least gets me recognized locally.

With regard to subject matter, the popular prints I can, of course, get re-printed, but I also need to keep plotting my next shoot. I can harvest what I can from existing archives, but I will need to replenish with new images. I still think that my stock is quite light, but as I get more printed I will need to think about topics/themes and how I might classify them. Maybe: Travel; Local; Music; Abstract; Landscapes and so on. I need to explore the local area a bit more. People find that interesting. The Emirates is close by as well as other famous landmarks like Highgate Cemetery. Overt time I think I'll get a better feel for what people want.

I still think about other stall locations away from Archway, but would need to do more research or investigation on fees and rates. The top of Portobello market, perhaps? Still possibly too expensive for my turnover right now. Camden Market would be great but I think that's even further off financially.

Organization of time is also important. As this is still a weekend enterprise, I need to plan my weeks carefully - when I can do mounting or wrapping, when I can think about evening shoots, and the nights are now drawing in very quickly.

Finally, feel free to tweet/follow me @manchego_photo (I will periodically post my thoughts on all things photography) or add a comment below.

Well, the next stall is on the 29th October, and further afield there's a festival at the end of November, and I'll bet it starts getting really cold by then. Brrrrr...

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