Setting up and tearing down at art fairs can be a hectic time. During each phase, there are many trips back and forth to the car.
While the initial items (for me) are the tent, poles, panels and bins, eventually the product (prints) and “office” items are transported. In between trips, the items located at the booth space remain unattended.
So far, in the times I’ve been doing shows, I have never had anyone steal anything from my booth, during a show or during setup/teardown. Unfortunately, I have heard of others having a different experience.
Prints and Office Materials
After my tent and panels are up and the print bins in place, I’ll get my prints from the car. Unless I have a lot of room around my area (some shows offer more than others), the prints just get in the way. It is more convenient to bring the prints once space opens.
Following placement in the bin or on the wall, the prints become readily available. I’ve never had anyone walk off with one.
My office items, on the other hand, could easily find a path out of my booth. The “office bin” contains those items for my art fair “office”. Pens, stylus, business cards, credit card reader, ipad, etc.
If I lost this, I wouldn’t be out of business, but would be severely hampered. For this reason, the “office” bin is the last item I retrieve from my car during setup, and the first item taken to my car during teardown.
The Showtime Office
During the show, my ipad, (used to capture newsletter signups), is secured in the locked pedestal stand. This stand is further cable locked to the poles of my tent.
If someone were to grab and run with the ipad, the unit won’t go very far. The cable is rather short, and the tent isn’t going to move.
My iphone stays with me throughout the show. It is essential for a lot of reasons, not the least of which, sync’d with my credit card reader, it is the tool I use for PayPal purchases.
The credit card reader itself is either in my pocket or in my show desk. I also keep a couple of pens, stylus, and extra business cards as well as receipt book in the desk.
No Cash Box
I do not carry a cash box. Rather, with the prices of my prints as they are, almost everything I do is with credit cards.
When I had smaller sized prints, they were priced more for cash. I then used a money waist belt to hold cash, always with me.
I do know of photographers and other artist who use cash boxes. Whatever works is the key, as there is no right way.
Watch Your Cash
Whether during a show, set up or tear down, don’t lose sight of the money!
Cash boxes, money belts, or iphones left unattended during shows are easy targets. They become much easier targets during set up and tear down when our attention is on that activity.
We all want to believe no one will steal our money at a show. I just don’t want to find out I was wrong!