Spare Change News
Many of Spare Change’s vendors have creative passions that define their personalities. Mark Montgomery, last issue’s featured vendor, was a singer. Jeffrey Power’s creative expressions come in the form of artwork.
Powers, one of Spare Change’s newest vendors, began selling Spare Change newspapers around two months ago, drawn to the organization by his girlfriend who worked as a vendor at the time. After attending a few meetings and speaking with other vendors, Powers decided to join the team.
“I was homeless and I had a girlfriend who was selling Spare Change. When my girlfriend started selling, I thought ‘Wow, maybe I should get on board with this,” Jeffrey said. “I came to a couple of meetings, met all the personnel, who gave me an idea of how lucrative it can be. So then I got the vendor ID, and I started selling. It’s been a very positive experience, no problems.”
When selling the paper, Jeffrey works hard to present the paper to the public as effectively as possible.
“When I present the paper, I look to see what works, what doesn’t work. I don’t just say ‘Spare Change, Spare Change.’ I try to invent a working presentation,” said Powers. “Pretty much anybody that hears my presentation is going to be drawn to the paper. I put the time and energy into presenting it correctly. Once I do that everything seems to work itself out on its own, and people generally seem to like what I say.”
So far, Powers’ methods have been very successful. He attributes this to his carefully planned vending strategy, which stems from his experience as a salesperson.
“I don’t get too personal, I give people their space, I am a very polite vendor. I am a successful salesperson. I sell artwork as well, so I am very sensitive to what people like and don’t like. I’m very in tune with that,” Powers said.
Art has been Jeffrey’s lifelong passion. He fell in love with art in his teenage years, and has been going strong ever since. He specializes in the technique known as pointillism, which is characterized by the use of small, distinct dots to form an image. The inset self-portrait of Jeffrey is an example of one of his pointillist works. The process of perfecting this style was not an easy one.
“Developing the style I use, pointillism, was a long process. It took me about six years to perfect the style. Once I perfected it, it became my true passion,” Jeffrey said.
Powers’ artwork has come to be much more than a hobby and personal passion. He says selling his work over the years taught him how to form a relationship with members of the public, an ability that obviously translates into being a successful Spare Change vendor.
“As an artist I usually sell art on Boston Common, in and around Berklee College of Music. That’s how I have developed a love for the public and an appreciation for salesmanship,” Jeffrey said. “Once I got into the whole presentation of art and how to present it to the public, that’s when I learned how to appreciate the public as a whole, the freedom of being out there and interacting with people from all walks of life.”
Powers runs his own business called JAP (his initials), through which he sells his fine artwork. He has run this business for the past 20 years. If you are interested in seeing and/or purchasing Jeffrey’s work, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now working as a Spare Change vendor, Jeffrey typically sells his papers around Back Bay station. Don’t be surprised if you are drawn in by his carefully honed and practiced sales method.
LIAM CUNNINGHAM is a writer and editor at Spare Change News.