So on to the Gallery Night:
I knew I wanted a local artist who had never had a showing before. That way their local friends and family would come out to support, and I could build up my clientele.
What I didn’t realize, was that my first Gallery Night Artist would become one of our greatest friends and really help champion our business.
SOCIAL MEDIA STALKING PAYS OFF (even if its creepy)
I started looking around on Facebook for local artists. I had friends and other artists in mind for future showings but no one was quite ready and I wanted someone in town for our first one. I came across the Montclair Animal Shelter’s Facebook page and there were these beautiful pictures of rescue dogs and cats by local photographer Eric Delmar.
Perfect! I mean our slogan literally is “We like our furniture like we like our dogs. Rescued.”
I facebook stalked Eric and saw his other photos of Montclair, the Jersey Shore and just had a gut feeling that he was the perfect fit. I messaged him and gave him the gist of what I was thinking for our first gallery night and invited him to come by the shop. He called me the next day to say that he wasn’t interested… GOOD TIMES.
Ok so back to drawing board. Then the day after he called again and said he changed his mind… MEN…
FINDING YOUR KINDRED (everyone has a lil crazy)
Eric came by the shop after work and settled on an opening date, the # of pieces, pricing and our artist/gallery % split. He sent over images to choose from and we narrowed down to a general theme. Then he went off to print and frame. I took a few of his photos to start promoting. I created a flyer and had them printed locally making sure to state free booze. I compiled a list of all the people who I thought I should email in the off chance they would swing by. This included the local art museum, the local papers & online sites. I handed out flyers to other shop owners, left flyers at coffee shops, at the train station. Anything to get people in the door.
Eric’s Gallery Night was approaching. He dropped off his work and I started hanging. We were very lucky in the 1st Pop Up Shop that the owners were knocking the building down. So they didn’t care if we put holes in the wall. I mean the wall was straight up cinder block but if something was crooked, I could just hammer in another nail and hope it didn’t bounce back at me and take my eye out. The amount of nails I swept up was astounding.
FREE BOOZE CAN MASK 90 DEGREE HEAT (in June, not July)
I went to my local liquor store who I realized I frequented a little too much… and told him I was going to be hosting a lot of events and needed a cheap booze that didn’t taste like nail polish remover. My man directed me to 2 options both under $5 each. I got a case of white and a case of red which I knew I would use for future events and purchasing cases knocks off 10%.
Then I went to the grocery store to get those fancy-ish plastic wine glasses that have the fake crystal cuts. I like them. I think they make a difference. They probably don’t but it makes me feel like they make the cheap wine taste $3 more at least.
Threw in 2 cases of those tiny water bottles, because people constantly open the regular size water bottles, take a sip and leave it some where. Then open another. Nothing like dumping full water bottles at the end of the night. The tiny ones are perfect. And you need them. Not just for people who don’t drink, but because people need something to do with their hands… and it was damn hot.
Bonus: We finally used the wide Champagne bucket from our wedding registry! Filled that with ice, brought a few wine openers from home and we were set.
FRIENDS, FAMILY & COWORKER GUILT = SALES
So the day came, I started to set up and boy was it HOT… (did I mention that?) Like standing there and you can feel the sweat drip down your stomach HOT. But like I said earlier, I was on such a positive high I thought it would all work out.
AND IT DID!
Eric’s crowd was awesome! His family came, his friends, his coworkers and local people on the way home from the train stopped in. My entire family obviously came (and we roll 10 deep). We sold a bunch of prints. I had that giddy feeling putting those round pink SOLD stickers next to the frames. People were definitely visibly warm and uncomfortable but like I said they were a good, respectful crowd. So I was over the moon.
THE FRIENDSHIP THAT KEEPS ON GIVING (hopefully forever)
After our 1st successful Gallery night I knew we were on to something. Eric’s work basically stayed hung in some area of the shop for our entire POP UP duration and continued to sell. We even planned a 2nd Christmas Gallery Night and Hipster Santa Dog Event which we will get to later.
And then we became friends. The kind of friends that end up talking for 2 hours to the point that your partner calls because you went out to grab lunch from the Corner so where are you with my Avocado Toast, damnit!?
Every time Eric popped in he would take photos of the shop for me. New furniture that Chris just made, new artwork, my latest attempt to move the sofas around. He would send me the link, I would download, post on Insta and FB and actually look professional, making sure to call out our in house photographer.
He always tried to pop in for our other events, to see what was going on and meet new people. I love introducing artists and pointing to their work on the wall.
Fast forward to now: Eric has an awesome website and instagram which he constantly updates with his life adventures, and a side business shooting product photography for local business. He is constantly upping his photography game by taking classes like super microscopic photography so he can shoot those bugs up close. I currently sell his work on our website and also at our future shop once I find it...
Eric also offers personal lessons on actually using your DSLR camera that you spent all that $$$ on (which I took and it has helped me immensely. I mean I am no Eric but I use Adobe Lightroom now so… yeah progress).
Basically, just an all around amazing human.
And that’s the moral of the story right? Be a good person, and good things come to you. Like awesome friendships.
And when one of us gets rich and/or famous, we will look back and think,
“Damn that ridiculously HOT night was totally worth it."