Just before I took part in the Summer round of Urban Makers East Kirsty from the brilliant Riddell Doodles asked me a few questions about how I prepare for such markets.
Read the interview below and visit Kirsty's shop here.
Describe a bit about you and the products you will be selling at Urban Makers East.
I’m Ian Viggars and I’m an artist and primarily a painter. Aside from traditional paintings on canvas I also do occasional mural / street art commissions and make printed products and reproduction prints of my own work. My style is pop or graphic art and 80% of my work is food-related! I love painting and drawing food items in a bold pop art style.
Have you participated in the Urban Makers East before? If so, how was your experience?
I have participated once before, at the spring market of this year. It was an amazing experience. The organisers are lovely and very professional, and everything ran very smoothly. There was a huge amount of visitors on the day and I sold fairly steadily, but also got a lot of good feedback from people in general. That’s why markets like this are always worth it as even if you don’t sell loads you can canvas opinions from people who might not ordinarily see your work. These opinions have already informed my approach to the summer market.
Do you have anyone to help you out on the day with setting and packing up?
My wife Monica helped, and she’s also a maker who will be selling in the summer market! So we’ll be helping each other at that one. At the spring one Monica stayed with me all day to help look after the stall which was great.
How will you travel to and from the market?
We live within walking distance of both venues, so we’ll be dragging our stock along on foot! Which is lucky as neither of us has a driving license. I was too busy drawing and painting when I was young to bother learning how to drive. Who needs to drive in London anyway?
How long does it take you to set up a stall at a market?
One the day I was remarkably fast but only because I’d pre-planned it during the week leading up to it! And although I was happy with my set-up I saw some other seller’s stalls and got a lot of ideas about how I could do better. I’ve only done a handful of markets so I’m still learning and I’ll be putting a lot of the things I learned into the upcoming summer stall.
What are the main things you do to prepare before a market?
For me the main thing is preparing prints to sell. In my experience people don’t usually come to craft markets ready to buy large bulky expensive paintings, which is my main stock! So for these kind of events I have reproduction prints of my more popular paintings made and sell them unframed for a good price. I also get my designs printed onto smaller items, like badges and bags. The process is long though and involves lots of photography and digital editing. By the end I’m always keen to get back to painting again! Apart from that I promote the event in all the usual places on social media.
Do you hand make any of your decorations for the stall?
I don’t really have decorations as such as my stock is pretty colourful as it is and I don’t want to overpower it. But at the last one I did bring one of my largest, most eye-catching (but expensive) paintings. Not because I thought I’d sell it, but because I knew it would catch people’s eye plus I was selling prints of the same painting on the stall. I think it worked!
What are the most important things to make sure you have on your stall aside from the products themselves?
All the sensible stuff – card machine, change, snacks – I don’t tend to have too much apart from the products themselves! I usually have business cards and stickers too but I don’t give out too many, I usually wait until people look interested.
You can see more behind the scenes from Ian Viggars on Instagram @ianviggars and Twitter @IanViggars