2016 Spring Art Market: Unexpected in the best way possible

Posted by Jason Lowrey on 9th Apr 2016

While sitting in the Rome Civic Center the afternoon of Sunday, April 3, my mother and I came to a realization: we’ve been running Hoot Owl Creations for nearly five years.

It genuinely doesn’t seem as though it’s been that long. Each year we’ve steadily built Hoot Owl Creations up into a business of our own and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. As we’ve grown our business at shows throughout Northwest Georgia we’ve developed a set of expectations for shows. In general they state the following:

We will sell more earrings than anything else by a wide margin.

The last two hours of any show will be nearly dead and we can expect our sales to drop off accordingly.

There is no way we can anticipate and have every color combination and type a customer will want.

The Rome Spring Winter Art Market confounded the first two expectations and confirmed the last. However, that’s not a bad thing. Quite the opposite.

I can say without the shadow of any doubt earrings are our bread and butter for sales. They were the first thing we ever made at Hoot Owl Creations and they’ve always been our most popular item. Whether it’s because people wear earring more often than any other piece of jewelry, if it’s because of the number of styles we offer, or if it’s based on price, I can’t say. No matter what we’ve always sold more earrings than any other single piece of jewelry by a wide margin at every show we’ve ever been at.

The Spring Art Market took that idea and threw it out the window. Saturday we sold six pairs of earrings, and five necklaces.

While the numbers themselves may not sound terribly impressive they were shocking for us. Prior to the Spring Art Market the largest number of necklaces we ever sold were perhaps two during an entire event, so here we go and sell five during one day. It was astounding.

Two of those necklaces went home with a very nice lady from Vermont. She was traveling through Georgia after spending the winter in Florida. We had pieces that went perfectly with her Red Hat Club wear and it was a pleasure to talk with her. That really is one of the best things about doing arts and craft shows: you meet such interesting people and get to know them for a while.

We had a somewhat similar experience on Sunday. A lady and her daughter stopped by the booth. The lady loved a hematite and pink bead mix we had on a choker and bracelet and she wanted the matching pair of earrings. I was convinced the earrings were in The Last Stop Gift Shop next to the civic center, and even sent my mother over there, but it turned out I sent her on a wild goose chase, unfortunately. The lady and I talked quite a bit as we waited, and she then decided to order the pair of earrings. After we got all the details worked out she gave us both a hug and mentioned how life was too short to be boring.

Meeting people like that is such a pleasure.

Also, we got the earrings made that night and shipped them out the next morning. 

I mentioned previously how the last two hours of any show are always dead. Sunday was the major exception to that rule. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. we sold three pairs of earrings. By 2:30 we had settled in for the afternoon. Somewhere around 3 p.m. we got busy again and were processing our last sale as every other vendor was well into their packing up. This type of steady, building sales momentum at the end of a day has never happened before and it goes against every other experience we’ve had.

Yet we aren’t complaining. The last sale we made was one of the more interesting ones as it involved a woman Facetiming a relative who lives in California. She was showing off the different red earrings we have to determine what would go best with a dress. Hoot Owl Creations had exactly what she what she was looking for and she walked away after 5 p.m. very happy.

Of course during the slower periods we weren’t sitting about twiddling our thumbs. Being able to walk through these shows and see what other vendors and artists have on display is one big benefit of being at these events.

That other big benefit is being able to barter.

April Godfrey, a great ceramic artist who runs MudMade, traded a few pendants for a pair of our gold foil magatama earrings. She was tempted by many different pairs and managed to pick out just one. We understood how she felt as we had trouble choosing just a few pendants. They were all beautiful.

Right behind us was Yellow Barn Soap Studio. We hadn’t seen them at a show before so it was interesting to see all the different colors and scents Brittan Burton puts into her soaps, bath bombs, body frosting, and other products. After talking with her through the entire weekend we were able to come to an accord: a necklace and pair of earrings for two handmade candles (with wooden wicks that burn beautifully) and a few bars of soap and shampoo. Everyone walked away happy. Very happy.

With our spring off to such a good start we’re excited for what spring 2016 has in store for Hoot Owl Creations. We will be down in Sandy Springs next and we can’t wait for it.

Thanks for stopping by.