I started selling pottery at Village Art in the Park In Leavenworth, WA in 2015. The very first day I showed up here was Mothers day weekend. I would not say that I felt like I new everything, but I will say that I have always been confident in whatever I do, which usually translates to me thinking that I know what I am doing.
There are about 17 vendors at Art in the Park and everyone is welcoming and eager to help you succeed. Looking back, my booth was absolutely terrible! It was ugly and I was unprepared and I had homemade little weights that could barely hold down a piece of paper and even when Mary, the director of the park gave me better weights, I still was too afraid to ask for bungie cords or anything of the sort to attach them. Fast forward to day two of VAIP. I come rolling in from my 1.5 hour drive because I needed to bring more product back, and I look down the hill and notice that my booth was literally on its side and all of my pottery was scattered on the ground. Well I get to the booth and everyone is gathered around, picking up pieces, telling me not to give up, two people even gave me money! I held it together pretty well, until I hear all of my pottery crashing into the dumpster. That was by far the worst day of my life thus far. I make sure to tell pretty much every vendor that starts at art in the park that story... Not because I want to scare them, but to demonstrate that even though you know things, there is always something that can go wrong and taking help/advice from people is never a bad thing... especially in a vending situation.
Fast forward to now. I have a booth that has shelves that hang off of it and I think I literally scare everyone who walks into the booth because they do not realize that swinging shelves are better than shelves that fall over. I cannot tell you how much I have learned in the past 3 years about vending, business, and people. Stuff that I almost do not even want to know how to do. One of my fellow vendors that started vending last year with us told me recently that I had mentioned that it took me a year to really get my shit together. He said that last year when I told him that, he kinda laughed and quietly disregarded what I said and then came back this year and told me that I was right. A year is about the sweet spot for where we sell to really understand, not only your audience, but your own product and how to sell it.
It is amazing the difference between my 20 year old self and my 28 year old self and the amount of listening and compromising I do now, as opposed to when I was younger and prideful. I am much more willing to take the advice of someone else now then I would have been in the past. I almost crave advice now... because if someone could tell me what to do in order to be successful I would be all ears. But I am constantly learning, I am constantly trying to make my booth/shop/business better. It may take me 4 tries, but I usually get it eventually. I have come so far, it would be a shame to stop now.