Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10 Tips for an easier festival season **Two post Tuesday**

It's festival season, a busy season for henna artist. From trial and error I've developed a list of 10 tips that will make your festival season easier. Yes, it can be stressful and overwhelming.

1. Learn a bit about the festival you've applied to.

How was attendance the previous years? How far in advance is the event being promoted and how? Will you have competition (another henna artist)?

There's nothing more frustrating than vending at a festival that's not well attended, people were not aware there would be vendors, and vendors are stuck in an area where they're not visible. Doing your homework on an event can insure you'll have a successful money making day. A video on this topic alone is in the works. 

2. Mix your henna in advance and test the batch. 

There's nothing like getting to a festival and discovering that you should've sifted/strained your henna. Or finding out that the henna isn't staining well. Bring more henna then you think you need. There's nothing like running out if henna at a festival, I've had it happen and it sucks. 

Festivals are not an opportunity to try new henna powders or paste mixtures. Stick to what you know, and use what has worked well for you in the past. 

Avoid premixed henna cones, we don't always know what's in those cones. You can be liable if you apply chemicals to skin and a bad reaction occurs, even if you weren't aware the chemical was in the cone. As the artist you need to know what's in your henna. 

3. Bring business cards and promotional materials. 

I get a lot of repeat business from festivals. Make sure you have plenty of business cards on hand. Business cards should have your name/business name, phone and email, a line that includes the word henna, website/Facebook/Instagram ect. Examples of your work should be available online. 

4. While applying the henna talk to your customer about aftercare and give them realistic expectations about the length of time their new body art will last. 

If you have aftercare instruction sheets, give them to your customers but also talk to them about how to care for their new body art. The number one question I get is "So when can I wash this off?". Education is key. Be very clear about how long they should expect their new henna tattoo to last. If they want a henna tattoo on a part of the body that doesn't stain well, tell them. That tattoo not going to work on that part of the body? Let them know, you're the artist/expert after all. 

5. Accept debit/credit cards. There are so many card readers on the market that are compatible with smart phones and tablets. 

I personally use the square card reader and find it to be very user friendly. It will boost your sales too, especially for customers who don't carry cash, or have spent all of their cash. 

6. Decorate your booth and make it look attractive. 

You'll attract more customers. Nice table cloths, signs and banners, maybe a little ethnic decor, and keep a smile on your face. Dress in something comfortable and professional at the same time. 

Having a clear idea of how you'd like to set up your booth in advance is always helpful. Be prepared for extreme changes in weather and bring a canopy. 

7. Bring designs that take 5 minutes or less to apply. 

Festivals usually are not the place to do 30 minute henna tattoos. Long tattoo application allows your line to get long, people get tired of waiting, people walk away, and you lose money. Some artist have clipboards where people can write their name instead of waiting in line, this doesn't prevent people from walking away. Remember, this is a business and you're there to make money. 

This also isn't the time to try out new designs. Get familiar with your festival designs and know them well. If there are designs you struggle with or designs you don't like, don't bring them. 

8. Make a list, check it twice, and pack two days in advance. 

Are you a last minute packer like myself? I should probably take my own advice in this area. Packing last minute can leave you without essentials, under a lot of stress, and running late. 

Festival organizers tend to be strict about load in/out times. Often there are street closures for festivals, show up late and you may have to cart you booth and supplies for several blocks. 

Making a list will help you remember all of the essentials. I once forgot to bring henna to an event, how embarrassing. 

Don't stress! Pack two days in advance and get plenty of rest the night before. Nothing like being sleep deprived on festival day. 

9. Bring a booth babe!

A booth babe is a helper. The babe can help potential customers select designs, keep the booth organized and clean, and run quick errands. If your booth babe is also a henna artist her/his help during a rush of customers is invaluable. 

I like to henna my booth babe, splash some glitter on her, and send her walking around the festival. This is a great way to get customers at festivals during slow periods, or at the very beginning before people have a chance to spend money on food. People will take notice of the booth babe and she directs them back to the henna booth to spend $$$. 

10. Make a good impression. 

Be confident in yourself and your skills. You are the artist/expert and people are excited to meet you. You are their ambassador to the world of henna, make it a positive experience. Enjoy yourself and make MONEY!  

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