A while back I talked about a bike I did for a friend. Seeing how that paint job effected him was reward enough but then I was blessed to have him run around town spouting off great things about me and showing my work to anyone who would look. That single bike has made a lot possible and one of those things was Oak Grove Chopper's Anniversary that I was invited to June 26th. What made it amazing was they invited me to come out there for this for free. This was how it went:
Note: Before even going into the event, my wife was smart enough to get me to write down a game plan. I, being the hardheaded dork that I am, fought her on it but in the end (and as almost always) she was right. Even though there really wasn't a lot to consider, getting the ideas out there really made for a great set up and break down of the entire event.
Setting up was easy enough, but that had more to do with communicating with the people in charge of the event. I made sure I found anyone who could tell me the person in charge. In this case everyone in charge was family and they were all pretty much on the same page. I have no doubts that this will not be the case every time, but thankfully my first event was with a great group of people. I brought a ton of stuff, including my compressor and substrates. I'd planned on putting some outlines down so I could just airbrush but that didn't really happen. That actually worked out great because a lot of people ended up wanting to talk to me.
Once set up it was almost immediate that I had people asking me for more information. I brought a book to write down any strong leads. I also made sure that anyone who looked had to take a card. It didn't matter if they kept it or not, it was the fact they took it. I also made sure that if I caught someone taking a card I would ask them if they were interested in getting some work done. If they talked to me, even for a moment, I made sure to get their name and shake hands. I could tell this really resonated with people and made it obvious that they were important to me.
Having my wife there to help really made a difference. Though she wasn't there for all of it, she was there for enough of it. This let me get up and take a look at the bikes in question and it allowed me to do some airbrushing. Doing the demos really got people's attention and was sort of a way for them to see the work in real life. I also made sure I had a lot of different types of artwork to show off. Not just styles but on different surfaces. Even though I showed a helmet and a wide range of items, I was asked if I could do tanks - which tells me I need to do a half tank to bring along.
Luckily I had a piece done before I went. It was a huge piece of Brando from the Godfather that I had done to see if I could do a piece quickly. They were having a raffle and I was able to donate the piece to that. It made me feel good and ensured that I will probably be invited back. Also, it got my work on someones wall.
There were plenty of things to work on in this, but none of them were major. A game plan and plenty of work to show were what made it a success. Interacting with people, even those that didn't seem too interested, made sure that at the very least my name would get out there. I was able to meet a great group of bikers that turned out to be incredibly generous and kind - and as thankful for me being there as I was for having been invited.
Here's the bottom line. That single, 8 hour day got me more strong leads than the last 6 months of Craigslist posting have. People saw my work in person. They met me and I was able to talk to them. People who thought they couldn't afford me are signed up for a second consultation. People will remember, at the very least, that there was this guy out there airbrushing - which means that maybe they will tell their friends about me. All-in-all this was so much more than a success, it was another reason why I do this at all.
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