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learnin's from the yaller house (which ain't) spring sale

updated fri 7 may 04


Russel Fouts on fri 7 may 04

I've been off list for about a month and a half getting ready for my Spring
"Studio" sale which was last weekend.

I decided not to have any more at my studio; not enough space, no direct
access, etc.

Instead I had it out at Enzo's. "La Maison Jaune" is the local name of the
building where he has his appartment. It isn't yellow any more but it's
still known that way. I'll me moving to that area sometime anyway so I
thought I'd test the market. The ground floor is the Parish hall for Enzo's
parish and they rent it out for a pretty reasonable rate. It's a nice
space, lots of natural light, good lighting, not too big, not too small,
connected to a bar, toilets and a kitchen. I got some of those knockup
"Ivar" shelves from Ikea and filled them with the new maiolica work.

When the parishioners(?) came by after mass, they were really surprised at
what I'd done with the space. "OOh it's so nice", "We never thought to do
anything like this", etc. The couple that are responsible for it were also
a great help, showing me where things were, how they worked, helping get
things out of the way, etc.

I think I didn't do too bad. Maybe 100 people came to the
opening/vernissage and the two days. The great thing was that almost
everyone who came bought something!

Several learnings were:

- It's common in Belgium (probably Europe) to pay phone, electricity,
subscriptions, etc, with bank transfers, people don't use cheques much
here. And the banks make it really easy. When someone said that they wanted
to buy that pot but didn't have any money on them, I suddenly found myself
writing my bank account number on the back of one of my cards. No problem,
I've already received the money. I had 6 or 8 people pay that way, no
problem. One even made the transfer from his phone while I was bagging the
pot. ;-)

- If you can get charming (and Hugh and Patrick are the best!) friends to
help with tending the bar (a couple of nice wines in "cows", juice, water,
munchies)taking the cash, wrapping and bagging the pots, it leaves you a
lot more time with your customers. And Enzo's timely entrance with a plate
of chicken wings was REALLY well recieved.

- Put the food waaaaaay down at the other end of the room so people have to
at least walk past the pots to get to it.

- When you send out invitations, say "All Welcome" and "Bring a Friend" on
them and THEN put two or three in the envelope.

- A parish hall could be an interesting venue.

- Sure beats doing craft fairs!

- I have a several people who I invite but have never come. I was about to
take them off the list but decided to give them another chance. A couple of
them are teachers and some of their students showed up. Seems that they'd
talked about my work to the class, told them about the sale, they went to
my website to have a look and decided to come. Maybe a case for not being
too hasty in taking people off your list.

I'm going to do it again before Christmas. They have a nice Christmas
market on the place that "La Maison Jaune" is on. Maybe I'll do it then. I
want to have two annual sales. Also, a friend who owns the
restaurant/gallery across the street organises an "Artist's Corner" in
"our" corner of the place as part of the Annual Market (over 500 years! The
parish is 900 by the way ;-) I'll have a bench and do demos.

All around a great experience. I still have to do the accounts to see how
profitable it was. ;-)


Russel Fouts
Mes Potes & Mes Pots
Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 223 02 75
Mobile: +32 476 55 38 75

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