Ever walk through a craft fair and say, "I could do that." Ever hear someone say "you should sell your stuff?" Admit it - you wish that you could make a living doing the thing that you love doing the most...your craft. I understand exactly how you feel because I used to feel exactly the same way.
I longed to make a living as an artist but I held myself back. Fearful and intimated of putting myself out there, I ignored my dreams. Fortunately, someone pushed me right into my business. I participated in a charity event as a favor to my wife and her friends. During that event a woman came up and invited me to participate in a craft show which was going to take place just before the holidays. Anxious to begin a business, I agreed.
Not long thereafter my dream of earning a living as an artist came true. Let me share with you some secrets that will make your next craft show a success!
First, do your research. I recommend purchasing a trade magazine called "Where the Shows Are." You will find all of the art and craft shows listed in this publication. More importantly, artists that attended the craft show in previous years share their insights and reviews of the previous year shows. These artists discuss the types of items that sold well, what price point did well, and rate if they would attend the show again. Find the show that matches your work!
Next, determine the demographics of the show. Who attends? Look at the location of the show. The majority of people attending will come from that area. Is the show located in a middle class community? I recommend displaying work under the $500.00 level. Is the show located in a very high end or "ritzy" neighborhood? Make sure that you display and price craft work that matches this buyer. Avoid diminishing the worth of your craft by selling it too cheap! Use the demographics to understand the perception of the buyer.
I always recommend producing items at all different price points. Don't ignore the power of the lower priced items. A lower priced item allows people to easily purchase from you and increases the amount of multiple piece sales.
Educate your customer! Share with them the other potential uses of your craft. Be creative, expand the possibilities and expand the amount of people that will buy from you. Give suggestions on other uses for your work. For instance, I've sold a glass platter to one customer that another purchased as a glass wall sculpture whereas someone else became the proud owner of a glass centerpiece. It's all the same piece of art, but every buyer made a purchase unique to their needs.
Another secret strategy to a successful craft show - network with other artists. Before the show begins, usually during the time when everyone is setting up, introduce yourself to non competing artists and let them know that you will be happy to refer people to their booths for their line of work, and in exchange you would like them to do the same for you. Consider working out a commission for any buyer that comes to your booth referred by another artist. This little known strategy will surely put many more dollars into your pocket.
Art Marketing Resources: Advice for Marketing Art
Tips & Tutorials for Artists