Expres-So exposes at Bouyon Kiltirel…10 lessons for new artisans

presentation of lsl
My beauties and I. Photo Credit : Safire-Dizay

my hand painted scarf, SOLD
my hand painted scarf, SOLD
scarves
My hand painted scarves. Photo Credit Richarson Dorvil

One of the things that I dislike about owning a blog is how you lose the balance that it fits in your busy life. I am sure it happened to you as a blogger and it happened to me as well leaving my little place dry as a desert. While it looks bad on one end, it also means that I have a few stories to write about. Besides my daily routines, I was busy trying to find the perfect fabrics to paint and make scarves out of them. On top of the scarves that I was painting, I hand painted with my handwriting on T-shirts with a popular Haitian Creole folk proverb which is “Lakay se Lakay”. This sentences is translated to “Home is Home” Btw, those Tshirts were a hit at the fair because everyone can relate to a place where they feel the most at Home whether it’s Port-Au-Prince, the beautiful country sides of Haiti or other place in the world they call home.my table

The first that I want to write among many are my experiences at a cultural fair called “Bouyon Kiltirel” which is Haitian Creole for “Cultural Soup”.The Staff of the event are Oze Haiti, Divine Connection and ReklamLakay. The purpose of this fair is to give a big exposure to local artisans who are not well known yet to the public’s eyes or ears. This is where an artisans grabs the opportunity by the horn and promote their quality and their work through that curious crowd.

wawa and i

Before I jump in right away about my own lessons from this event as an artisan, I want to take my time to congratulate the Staff of “Bouyon Kiltirel” for holding on to the idea since the launch of the 1st edition back in December 2013 to the 2nd edition. I was able to take a small peak of their plans and goals they wanted to accomplish for the 2nd edition of this cultural event therefore I can proudly write about the efforts each team put to realize this annual event.

The phenomenal staff of Bouyon Kiltirel Oze Haiti with Divine Connection and Reklam Lakay
The phenomenal staff of Bouyon Kiltirel Oze Haiti with Divine Connection and Reklam Lakay made the National News Paper

Here are my immediate lessons that can help you out.

1-If you are just starting out always make sure that you go to other fairs to judge, to take notes and imagine yourself displaying at these fairs. Table display is key to attracting people whether or not they will buy. You may have great products but if the table display isn’t eye catching, you will only hear a few people tell you that “Oh Your work is wonderful” those are wonderful to hear but making the sale is part of the thrill as well.

TNetty Desir; a national folk singer wearing the handpainted Tshirt posing with Taisha and I
Netty Desir; a national folk singer wearing the hand painted Tshirt posing with Taisha and I
K'ss, a group of young ladies who make handmade jewerly
K’ss, a group of young ladies who make handmade jewelry

2-There’s a lesson that I learn in my management course that can be applied outside of the classroom. You should allow your mind to be flexible with your plans. You might think that plan A would have been perfect but since life has its unexpected curves, plan A may not work well so after a minutes of complaining get right back on track to work on that plan B, C,  D or Z

friends
My ladies, Olgine and Anna
Miss Taisha having fun at the fair wearing ‘Lakay Se Lakay’ Tshirt

3-If you are starting out make sure that you have enough articles to expose  on your table as display, You don’t want to put too much on your table, you don’t want to put too little on it as well. It’s all about balancing and how to place each article on the right spot. This is still my biggest challenge.

Gaelle fashion
Gaelle Fashion makes beautiful handmade purses and clutches. They were a hit at the fair

4-If it’s possible for you to stand up near your booth, do it because it’s easier to engage with the flow of people going up and down and around your aisle. Work on your presence to engage conversations, keep up with your smile when you are greeting your guests, it can starts a conversation that will make the guests see how passionate you are about your work.

school friend
My classmate Waline was also present at the event

5-Chit chat a little bit with the other artisans closer to your booth whenever the flow decreases a little. Chances are they are as nervous as you but smiling at each other every now and then makes things a little bit easier.

explaing
A candid shot of smiles and conversations

6– This is basically the continuity of number 5 but it’s great to exchange business cards,Facebook pages among the other artisans who are there at the fair with you. The chances to link up to other opportunities increased for people to know more about your business.

public
An idea of the public at the Bouyon Kiltirel fair

7-After the lights go down, take sometime to evaluate your attitude toward the day. What do I mean by self evaluating? To take the time to see what items caught the attention of the public, what items did not get any attention at all and how can you still improve on the items that caught people attention. At all times, don’t compare yourself to the other artisans unless you want to start feeling miserable.

Handmade crochets hoops by Klinous Boutique
Handmade crochets hoops by Klinous Boutique

8-Take advantage of the social networks. I won’t be the one telling you that you need to be on all the  possible social networks to succeed, what I will tell you is that it is so important to engage your audience to your work. Don’t just post a picture and expect people to be interested, transfer that same passion you have for your work through your posts online.Attentions, getting ‘Likes’ is totally awesome BUT don’t get hyped up about it either. Stay neutral and keep grinding day by day.

Our special Afro Alice; a community who encourage women to love their natural hair in Haiti
Our special Afro Alice; a community who encourage women to love their natural hair in Haiti
Annie; Afro Alice Founder and I

9-Pictures of your products are so important to have. Whether you have a professional camera, or a good quality pixel of camera phone on your hand, Do take advantage of them to showcase your products online. You can even print those pictures and place them on your table during exhibitions hour to trigger people’s curiosity.

10-Keep a positive attitude about your work. Whether you need to adjust, add or change some of your products, do it with a positive attitude.

Photo Credits : Safire-Dizay & Richarson Dorvil

It’s All Love

lovely

Sophie

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