Sunday, July 11, 2010

Help For Anyone Who Would Like To Start Selling Their Art At Shows Part 1

Hi everyone--back from my long weekend at my art show.  It was in Westlake, Ohio--just outside of Cleveland in a lovely setting on the grounds of St. John's Medical center.

Lots  of  shoppers  and beautiful  weather.

And you'll always see all kinds of "shoppers" there too--

So, first off, I wanted to thank everyone for your wonderful comments on my last post,  and I also wanted to reply to some of you asking me if I was going to start selling my work online.  Well, I'm thinking of starting an Etsy store probably in November--I'm not quite sure about how to set  it up, but I know that everyone will help and give me advice when the time comes.

Plus, a few of you have asked  me  for any  help or advice I could give  about getting started at  selling  your art  at  art/craft shows.  So I decided to tell you how I got started and what I've learned  throughout  the years.  I know that it sounds a little  intimidating  if  you've never done this before--but if you just take it in baby steps, it's  not so daunting.

The First Step
I started in 1990, and  way  back  then, I didn't even know what a paintbrush was.  My craft was florals for many years, which  I was very successful with, but after a while, it started to become  a job, not a passion. But, that's another story.  The first thing I did, and what I feel everyone should do  is start small--local craft show in a school or church--a craft/ bazaar show.  It really gives you great experience of display, how much you should make and bring.  And before that, you can visit the show/shows that you're interested in.  Look at the customers--are they just walking around or are they shopping-- and talk to the crafters about the show (are they happy with it) and  their overall  experience.   All  crafters  are very  generous  with  their help and advice.

You can also find items similar to what you sell, and check their prices to stay competitive.  I've heard  alot  of  different  formulas  for pricing, but I feel it depends on where your selling and who you're selling to.  Obviously at an art show, you can raise your prices as opposed to a craft show. The customer base is different. I tend to keep my prices on the lower side.  I want my art to be affordable so people can purchase it and enjoy it for their own home. It  thrills  me when people are thrilled to be able to purchase my art.  And before I go any further--if you want to start selling your art hoping to support yourself with your sales, then stop reading this, because most likely, you won't.  The term "starving artist" is SO true. If  I was just doing this for the monetary reasons, then I wouldn't be doing this at all.   I'd be in another line of business.  All  I can say, is  that   I'm very grateful  that  my husband  has  a good  enough  job  to support my "job"! 

Another good reason to visit art/craft shows is to get ideas for your display and presentation.  It's all about the presentation.  Look at the booths that are more crowded.  It has ALOT to do with how the artists display their work.  I read somewhere that people's attention span is only a few seconds, so you need something to grab their attention, or else they'll just move on to the next booth.  The best way to do this is to have your biggest, most impressive piece  right out in the front of your booth displayed in a creative way.  Some of the display items that I've used throughout the years, I've found, where else, at garage sales and flea markets.

vintage suitcases, shabby small benches covered with linens, preferably vintage

And this is my "check out" table that I purchased from the wood

This is a great website if your looking for display items--they can be a little pricey, but they will last forever and they're all collapsible.  Here's what the table looks like without anything on it, front and back--
I've had it for almost 20 years--it's the best investment I've made.

And earlier this year I had decided to upgrade my display by getting the artist panels that you see all the time at art shows--a MAJOR investment, but I decided to stay with the lattice panels that I've always used. They just seem to suit my type of  art, and I like them.  I spray painted them a cream color lightly so they have a white-wash look to them.

Another way of attracting people to enter your booth is to demonstrate your art or craft whatever it may be.  People LOVE to watch artists at work, and they'll ask questions, which makes them appreciate what you do that much more--to see what's involved in your art process.

Best Time to Start Out
And don't give up if you're sales are slow.  In these times, people just don't have luxury money anymore.  Some barely have enough to pay their bills and buy food for their families.  Case in point--the show that I was in this weekend was not  that  great  for  sales.  It  was  like  that  pretty much  for all of the artists there too, but this is how it is--you  never  know what  to  expect  anymore  with art shows.   But like I said, I'm not in this for the money--I just enjoy the whole art show experience. Don't get me wrong, you can do very well at a show--you just have to find the right ones for you.  When I first started out---shows were amazing.  It didn't matter what you had to offer  (especially in the fall), sales  were  excellent.   But  the  fall  was  and  always  will  be  the best time to start, because that's when sales are the best.

So I hope I've helped everyone who is thinking about selling their art  in art shows.  There's more I want to share, but I'll save it for the next post.  Remember to email me any questions you might have.  My email is on the top of my sidebar.

And on another subject, I want to thank Cheryl Richards from Artella  for publishing my metal embossing tutorial post in her online magazine, The Art Journal Journey.  This is very cool to see an article in a magazine written by me with my name , Diane Salter,  right there on the page!--I love it--Thank you Cheryl!


Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Congratulations on being published. I bet it does feel good to see your name in print.

I see you also put your name and info on the tags you use for pricing. I think that is important. I know your art is "large" compared to some, but I think if you have some form of contact info after the sale, it could bring future sales. I've been to so many shows where there was nothing but a tiny circle sticker with the price on things. No way to do business, I don't think.

Thanks so much for your tips. I've never done a show, don't have the ability to do one, but I sure appreciate all the information you have offered. And if I ever do have the chance to do one, you'll be the person I'll contact! Thanks dear friend.

Katrina said...

Hi Diane,

thanks for all your art show tips. I'm just in the creating process just now and blogging is my first way of sharing my art with you like minded folks.

I would love to participate in a show...for now I've started to paint on canvas rather than just pieces of carton, then I'll see...

Your pieces are really lovely Diane, very inspiring!

Buffy said...

Hi Diane,Congrats on being published,how exciting! And thanks for all the tips,i loved seeing pictures of your booth,I love the way you set up,especially that little suitcase.

Joella said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and you wonderful comment :) As you know I'm of BIG fan of your work as well !!! xoox

Theresa said...

Great info Diane! I really like your lattice panels. Your art looks wonderful displayed on them.

Maybe folks were too depressed over Lebron to go shopping...? Cav fan here.

lori diane said...

great post and love all the craft show info-I'll have to check out that site for tables!

Terri Kahrs said...

What an awesome post, Diane! Your booth is amazing -- colorful, beautiful and welcoming. All of the advice you've given is priceless. A few years ago I did the local "craft show" circuit. Wish I'd known half of what you've mentioned!!! Hope you had a great show!!! Hugs, Terri xoxo

PBsArtStudio said...

Wow Diane, this was a great post! Great information, I have done shows also and found that all you have said to hit right on the mark! I Love your displays, they are beautiful!!! Might take some pointer from that when shows start back up again in September here in Florida. And I just love your art! :D Patti

Rebecca Anthony said...

You are a wealth of information Diane. Thank you for being so generous and sharing your strategies in the world of art festivals. I love the vintage suitcase idea. That's such a great way to store things as well as display things! I am going to have to go searching for a few for my first art festival in October!

Marilyn Rock said...

Kudos on your publication and also great advice here on selling and when and how to get started; lots of great tips and info. You are such a sharing person; but I knew that right off the bat! Your presentations are beautiful! xxoo

Fair Rosamund said...

Thank you so much for all of the advice! I would really like to start doing some craft shows, but it is difficult to know where to start! All of your tips are very helpful, and your booth looks really beautiful :) ~Lauren

Emelie said...

Everything you said is so true, and even indoor art shows in the fall are good, sometimes if outside I think it is the stimulation of natures color that makes things sell. However the coming of the gift season is also a reason.

A friend and I did sales at deer hunting time at her home, those were good also. but then you have just local people and have kept a list of buyers and possible buyers and friends and send a post card.
But people stayed long and looked long and bought. They also came back the next day after some thought bcause they were not that far away. We also had a section of second hand things like you buy at sales and furniture that was big that we had redone with paint.

It is a hard game I know that, it is fun and boy some shows you just sell, some of the samll towns had
great shows where you hardly had a moment of not talking with customers and maybe even taking orders.

I hope Bob is doing well and that your resting a bit today the vim and vigor for more art work. I know what a Monday feels like after an art show.

Faerie Moon Creations said...

Thank you, Diane, for sharing SUCH wonderful and valuable information! I've never thought about venturing into doing shows - but if I did, you are the first authority I'd start with for advice. :) Any help you need with etsy - just let me know! I'm no expert, but I'll help with what I can! :) Theresa

WrightStuff said...

Thanks so much for this Diane. I must admit that is the display aspect that puts me off. I am wary of investing the money in materials if I don't make many sales. But as you say, it is an investment and you can pick up stuff second hand - though I wish I went to some of the flea markets you go to, all I ever seem to find is complete tat!

Linda said...

Hi Diane....I've just had a lovely time catching up with you. So many interesting much beautiful work.
What an inspiring lady you are!
Love Linda x
PS Love the photos of you - especially the one with Johnny ;-)
PPS Bob is SO cute...hope his mouth is ok now.

Oxana said...

Congratulations on being publish! Your ART is amazing!!!

Lynda said...

Congrats on your tutorial post! Isn't being featured the best feeling ever? :) I was wondering, how many paintings do you take with you to the shows? Im trying to build inventory :)

Marlynn said...

Diane, great post and I loved it. Since I frequent craft and art shows I was very impressed with your set up. It was pleasing to the eye and would draw me in the minute I passed it. PLEASE open an Etsy shop, I will come and look and buy! Hugs

Kristin said...

WHAT a cool post! It really is great to hear your perspective on art shows. Your displays are gorgeous (and the lattice was worth it!) and your art, of course, is the star (love the mirror below)!
Thank you too for your sweet comments about Somerset - it really is a dream. Congrats go out to you too, Kristin xo

Mechelle said...

That is great advice for those considering exhibiting in outside shows. It is a look of hard work, and very challenging during these economic times. At this time it might not be profitable but may be later on.

Deb Harvey said...

You've been busy! Looks like you're having a great time, and your artwork is amazing, as always!!!

Love your pictures of NYC. I will make it there sometime...can't wait!

luthien said...

hello diane :)
thank you so much for leaving such a lovely message at my blog :) i'm so glad you found my "rusting" experiment interesting :)

your art is extraordinary! i love the vivid colors and they are so fun! i can't wait to explore your blog further :)
luthien :)

Cary Cameron said...

Thanks so much Diane! I have been thinking about having a booth in the local "Art in the park" that they have here in Albuquerque about 4 times a year. The tips are a big help!

Janny said...

Congrats!And your work is still fabulous;o)

Serena said...

What a wonderful and helpful post...thanks, Diane. Btw, your stall displays are SO beautiful!

Sunny Lee said...

Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog Diane. And thank you for your tips at art shows. I would like to attend an art show as well. But I get chickened out not knowing much about it.

Patti said...

what a fabulous booth! I'm definitely going to add you to my blogroll so I can keep up with what you're up to!

JBeaudetStudios said...

Thank you for all the art show tips! I'm not sure when I'll actually be ready to do one but your detailed info has been very helpful! Let me know if I can help with your etsy. I think you will do very well there! Jennifer:)

Kelly Lish said...

Wonderful advise! I have my first show coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited! Great information you posted-I'll post some pics of my booth after the show, so you can see what I did!
Love to you!

andrea chiu said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for inspiring us.
Keep it up and continue on what your doing. Visit my site too.


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