I may or may not be pretty partial to the shows that take place right in my back yard.
Oh who am I kidding?! I am definitely partial to these Northwest Metro Reptile Expos. This last show I did on the 17th, though is the first show I ever vended last year. It was where I leapt into the vending business and where I began my journey of connecting with more people and throwing myself out there to meet more.
I had done some educational stuff for the year before hand, and had originally started the educational club Western Oregon Reptile Keepers to get in on the local reptile community. That had me showing animals at expos before I had ever even thought I'd vend to sell. While I met a few folks through the outreach style vending, I really met with the local reptile keepers by drawing artwork and offering it at my table.
When you tell someone you're an artist, you make a great connection with them. I've learned that from traveling, as well. I have met with so many artists while traveling, and do my best to encourage them to chase their art dream--that if they work hard enough and if they really truly PUT themselves out there that it's possible for them to acheive their goals.
There I go, off on tangents again. :) Tis the life of an artist, I suppose--going off on tangents. ;)
At the Portland Metro Reptile Expo, I am now one of the major sponsors. I'm so proud to be able to say that. Having vended the BIGGEST ones in the country, I have found that I do very much so prefer the one-day shows that Joel throws. And he really takes care of his vendors, too. Joel is probably the best curator I've ever vended for just because he's a dream to work with and goes so very far out of his way to make sure you have everything you need.
This show was fan. tas. tic. When I had vended last year, I had been so very excited to just break even. That was the goal, and that was the outcome. Now, though since I've grown I've been able to do so much more than that. And people are excited to see me. I still blush thinking that.... More people know who I am at shows than I know who they are. But I truly want to know all of you! :) (So, at shows introduce yourself, even if you have before. It takes me about 3-6 times of you introducing yourself for me to even remember. I have a very forgetful brain so take no offense! I do that to everyone... heh.)
Set up was a blast, I got to vend near Katie from Zombie Reptiles and oh my goodness I just love her so much so the whole show was a huge fun ball of jokes and laughter. One of my good friends, Saille helped me vend at this show. She's my designated Northwest Dealer and will be vending the shows in the PACNW after I move next month to North Dakota (I'm crazy, I know. What the heck is in ND??? ;) ). She really killed it. I was blown away by how good she is with people and even learned some things from watching her talk with folks. I will still be vending the Northwest Reptile Expo shows in Portland and Renton, but not really any of the others here.
At the show, I got my regular NW peeps coming up to say hi and a few new faces, too that didn't realize that I started at Portland. So far this show has been the best I've been to in the Pacific Northwest. My quilt that I have got a lot of attention, too. Lots of people asked if it was for sale. While this particular one isn't, I'm working on getting some quilts done that will be for sale at shows, and maybe we can get some more done for USARK benefits. The quilt everyone saw, though featured my artwork on it, and had all five axolotls that I call my babies. You can see it in the above photograph. I use it as a backdrop.
At the end of each show, all us NW gecko freaks get together for dinner. I couldn't imagine missing one of these dinners. They are the highlight of any show here. That's the time when we all get together and share what we saw, what we did, who we sold to and who made us laugh throughout the day. And also to share hilarious stories that happened to us while vending.
Rachel is the owner of HGSS and Geckos on the Beach. She has a big love for all things reptile and amphibian.