How it went at my first festival....advice for festivals...

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Posted by Erika on June 16, 2002 at 14:15:33:

Here in Florida, you can count on rain every day. I was terrified
that the party would get rained out. It rained for about an hour
before the party. Stopped and cleared up in time for the party,
then started again when I was on my way home. Talk about henna
I didn't make a ton of money, but it was only a 3 1/2 hour street
party and it was the first time that a henna artist had ever set up
there. I basically made $120 after paying for my space and the
babysitter for the kids. That's a whole lot more than I was making
working part time at H&R Block so I can't complain.
I have been asked to come back next month though and I made a few
contacts for future appointments. I'd say it was a pretty positive
I bought a 10.5' x 10.5' screen room from Sports Authority for $40.
My husband went to "Play it again sports," a used sports equipment
store, to buy some weights that he attached to the tent. When we
made a practice shot at putting up the tent, a light gust of wind
picked it up. Weights are a necesity if you are setting up on
concrete. I had some funky curtains and tapestries to decorate
with. My husband stood out front and showed people my books and
told them about henna, he was terrific and charming. I highly
recommend having an assistant at your booth when setting up at a
festival. He took care of the money part so I could focus on
henna. It was a bit of a slow start, but when it started, there was
a steady stream. Besides having my book with prices marked in them,
I had a poster with some very simple bracelets that were $5 each. I
also did bindis for kids. I would stick one nice bindi in the midle
of the forehead, two smaller ones at the corner of the eyes, and
then paint dots with kum kum paint over the eyebrows to look like a
bridal bindi. I only charged $3 for those. I had plenty of
brochures made up with my business cards attached. I also made up
an aftercare sheet to let people know how to get the best results
with their stain.
The things that we will improve for next month: More extension
Better signs. I had signs that said "Mehndi" with a picture of a
painted hand, but I think a lot of people didn't know what Mehdni
was. We live in a bit of a strange geographical location. On the
beach (East coast of Florida) but not in a major city. Down in the
Bible belt, low incomes and a lot of retirees.
I'm going to just sell bindi packs instead of doing bindis for the
kids. I'll set up a mirror so people can put their own on if they
want. I only did about 7 bindis that night, and they were a bit
time consuming for $3.
I'm going to make up brochures about doing birthday parties for
teens, I had several inquiries about this.
BETTER LIGHTING! This was a night time event. I was fine until
around 9:00 PM, then I had to keep repositioning my lamp.
We're going to buy a carpet or rug so I can be barefoot and show off
my henna. I saw some rugs at Walmart for $20.
I think I'm not going to bring my book with all of the designs next
time. It took up too much time for people to decide. I think I'll
put up signs with a few different hand and foot designs and my
bracelet poster. It seems like a better idea to leave the intricate
stuff for private parties. I kept having people ask how long it
would be, and I never had much of a line, but they would still hem
and haw about waiting 10 minutes.
The next day, I was set up at a Health food store. I should have
put up signs at the street party, so people who didn't want to get
done that night, could meet me at the Health food store the next
day. I actually made signs but forgot them. I also forgot a
mirror, my "Black Henna" warning file, and my camera.
I would suggest making a checklist several days ahead of time so you
can add things when you think of it.

So...about the health food store. I didn't do any advertising that
I was going to be there, because I only knew I was going to be there
a few days ahead of time. I stayed there for 5 hours. I only did 2
paying customers, made $22, and did 3 of the store workers for
free. But, it was still a great experience! I made 2 private
appointments, had a guy that wants me to do his daughter's sweet 16
birthday party, and met a guy who makes drums and wants me to start
doing henna on his drums. They want me to come back to the store
every Saturday and we can advertise in the local healthy living
magazines. Those are free publications that have a calendar of
events for health/alternative living type things.
I also got free luch from the cafe! Altogether, I'd say it was a
blessed weekend.

But....everyone has to pay their dues, here was another incident
with my neighbor....
My neighbor knew I had leftover henna from the street festival that
I did on Friday, so she asks if I can come over a do a couple of
designs on her. I said sure, grabbed my stuff, and told my husband
I'd be gone for 15-20 minutes. Two hours later....I had done both
of her hands, one foot, her niece's arm and belly, her friend's
foot, her son's two arms, and her step-son's back. Then she
says, "see how nice we are to let you experiment on us. Now you
have some more pictures for your book.'re going to do the
other foot to match, right? Since you don't have anything better to
do." SO instead of spending some time with my husband, I spent
another half an hour doing her other foot and fixing the kids
designs that they had smudged. I guess you take the good with the
bad, but a simple "thanks" would have gone a long way.

Thanks for listening to me ramble. I hope I've had a couple of tips
for some of you setting up for the first time.


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