Take a moment this Christmas season to relax, to sit in a quiet space and breathe. This thought has a new meaning for me this year, as I find myself in – while it's not exactly retail – it is somewhat in the realm of selling things. I left the retail industry years ago, vowing never to go back. Like a friend of mine said, "I have a finite number of retail Christmas seasons in me and I think I might be done." But, this year I set out with artist friends and we are selling... well, we're selling art. Artisans making ceramic dishes, hand-blown glass, paintings, textiles – everything. We mostly set up in small(ish) festivals that we mostly put on ourselves, for reasons that I will get into in a future blog entry.
This year, more than previous ones, I found myself in the position of organizing and promoting. It's like retail in that we are selling things, but the onus is on us to sell or starve. (Maybe not quite that dire.) There is no corporate headquarters in New York telling us how to merchandize, how to arrange things, which items to promote. There is no central office taking care of the advertising. We are it. There is no sales goal, except what we need to pay the bills.
Barry had several of these festivals close together this year beginning in October, with the crescendo being his own Studio Show – his 25th to be precise. I tried to help by doing social media promotions, creating events, boosting the events, selling his jewelry. For his own studio show I did a lot of the organizing of the artists, a lot of the promotions, set-up, communication, etc. I did all of this when I wasn't at my full-time job. So, things got a little hectic.
While we were in Dallas I did manage to slip away and have a cup of coffee at a nearby local coffee shop. I walked there with my notebook and pens, thinking I'd write or draw. But, the quiet and the coffee kind of captivated me and I just sat still. It was more fulfilling at that moment to just be. Back at the festival I was surrounded by people talking, the ideas being tossed around, the deadlines, the communicating with artists and planning... A quiet, peaceful moment was perfect.
I won't say that I miss retail, and I'm nowhere near a workaholic. But, there is something about moments like these. You can't really have them if life is quiet all the time. It takes a busy season, a hectic period of time to fully appreciate a moment like this. The sight of a crude wooden table in an empty mezanine would never be so appealing otherwise.
So, take a moment this Christmas season for yourself. You deserve it.