Tips to Make Money with Art Fairs
Selling Art at Craft Fairs
Here are some tips to make money with art you create by going to arts and crafts fairs. These are things I've learned over the past 15 years selling my artwork at fairs that will help you get more people to buy your work. They are especially helpful during times when people are less apt to spend much money on art.
I love being at art fairs and having people appreciate my work. I also enjoy having people buy my art. Better yet, I love having people come back and buy more of it.
But, for any of this to happen, you've got to get people to stop and look at your work.
That is the challenge!!
Free Prizes at a Spin of a Wheel
Draw People In
Getting people to come into your booth is a challenge. The newest thing I tried was a prize spinning wheel which I made myself. I wrote a "How To" article with all the steps to make it, so I thought I'd give it a try.
People flocked to my booth and were overjoyed when they won free cards made from prints of my art work. Other winners got discounts on all purchases that day which range from 20% to 40%. Many didn't use the discount, but others bought multiple purchases with the discount. It was a very successful day and helped clear out some of my overstocked inventory.
Word about the wheel spread through the fair, and I got many people coming to the booth who wouldn't ordinarily stop, and several took advantage of the discounts.
The whole wheel was made from left over items I had in my workshop. I did spend $2.00 for some nylon bushings and a 1/4-inch dowel. The cards cost .05 cents a piece to make since I do them myself on my laser printer. All in all, It was profitable and fun day.
Colton, New York
To Raffle or Not to Raffle. - That is the Question.
I've never really been very lucky having a raffle. You set up an item to give away and people give you the information you want, but they really are not interested in what you have to sell. Granted it does bring them into the booth but it doesn't really produced any significant sales. People are just looking for something free.
I live in a very small community and am very involved in volunteering. For lack of time, I usually donate some item from my painting collection to be raffled for a fundraiser for the organization.
This always generates a lot of interest, brings people into the booth with a very positive attitude, and usually generates sales at that time or in the future. Public relations is key to the success.
I not only get contact information on the people, but they get my contact information and readily call when they have a situation where they'd like something special.
So think about what and why you raffle.
Ultimately the raffle is to get more people to come in and buy, but they have to feel that you are giving for their benefit or the community's benefit more than just for your self.
High Priced vs Low Priced
If you only have high priced items, you are going to walk away with very few sales
You need what I call "rent payers". These are little, inexpensive items that sell for $2 to $5 and represent the quality you produce in larger items, but at greatly reduced prices.
In my case, I started with refrigerator magnets which were miniature prints of the larger works. These sell like crazy, and usually produce more than enough income to pay the rent for the booth.
They were affordable, packed well for travelers, fit in note cards for people to send to friends and best of all, they acted as a reminder to people of my work and the larger print they were considering.
It is not unusual for people to call or come back to the show and purchase the larger print, because the magnet gave them time to see if the print worked in their home or if their family agreed with their choice. And, of course, my contact information was on the back, and unlike business cards of the same size, these were placed prominently on their refrigerators to be seen everyday, all day long, rather then being thrown away or stuck in draw.
Magnetic Art Business Cards
If you would like to see how to make the magnets, I explain it step-by-step in my Hub, Art Magnetic Business Cards.
Once I saw the success of the magnets at the art fair, I developed other products with my art work on them that ranged in prices from $2, to $10 to $20, to $40, to $80 and on up. My sales dramatically increased and I started getting more repeat customers which is always nice.
You can see more of these on my website, www.filarecki.com
Getting People to Stop and Look
I had a 10 x 10 tent with three walls of paintings hanging up, plus tables along the walls. On the outside front, I had a 3 foot wide by 6 foot high shelving that had individual slots to display about 24 different 8x10 prints. People stopped and looked at those prints, but I could rarely get them to come in. It was like they were afraid that if they went in, I would trap them.
One windy day, I decided to put the shelving in the center of the tent to help stabilize it, and I moved some of the smaller tables out front with the less expensive items on them.... Bingo!! More people stopped to look at the variety of things that caught their eye and they came into the tent.
The shelving created a u-shaped space that enabled them to walk in and around and back out without threat. If I, or someone else was blocking one side, they could turn around and go out the way they came in...Non- threatening... That was the key.
Spotlighting Your Best Seller
You always want to have your best-selling items out front. They are the ones that make people stop. Once they stop you have the opportunity to talk to them, without being pushy, as you see what items interest them.
People like to "just look" and give you a cue if they want to interact with you or not. Usually, when you are sensitive to what they want and don't "pitch" them, they are more receptive.
Once they feel comfortable with you and you have an a feel for what they want, you can suggest items that might interest them outside and inside the booth.
Just Say "Hi"
So many times I have watched other vendors sitting reading a book or talking on a cell phone, and they don't even acknowledge that the customer exists.This projects such a negative atmosphere to the display. It is like the customer is of no importance.
I don't mean to say that you should fall all over the customer, but at least say "Hi" and let them know you are there if they have questions. It is the rare customer that doesn't appreciate the "hello".
Periodically a customer ignores your welcome, and that is expected. When that happens, though, I feel kind of slighted. If I feel that way, I wonder how another customer feels when I ignore them.
Stormy Sky Painting
If you have anything you can demonstrate, DO IT.
I'm lucky because art work is easy to demonstrate. People love to stand over my shoulder and watch as I paint or draw. The one thing it does is answer the frequently asked question,"Are you the Artist?" Children especially are very intrigued and draw in their parents to watch.
I've been doing a lot of painting on my computer with Painter X3 and a Wacom tablet in more recent years, and this is great for demonstrating techniques. I wrote a Hub on painting the clouds seen here and actually videotaped the whole thing. If you get a chance, check out my Hub, Painting Clouds . There is a video demonstration of painting this "Stormy Sky."
I also produce instructional DVD's on how to paint. I set up my netbook computer and play the entire DVD over and over again. People are fascinated and stand and watch for long periods of time. It really opens up an opportunity for discussion. It not only results in sales of the DVD, but it also gives me the opportunity to tell them about classes I teach and that results in new students.
Any demonstration that is well done is an immediate draw for people and opens up the opportunity for questions and answers. Just don't be a huckster and make it sound like a carnival act. Make your demonstration interesting and people will stop to watch on their own.
The interesting thing about people is that if one person stops to look, then others think it must be good and they stop to look, too. It's the old thing about feast or famine. Either there are no people in your booth or it is packed full of people.
Are you a Go Giver or a Go Getter?
Probably your first response is that you should be a "Go Getter." After all we have always been taught that you have to get out there and promote yourself. No body is going to find you if you don't.
Well that is true as far as doing things to get yourself out in public such as you do by doing arts and crafts fairs. If you don't bring your creations out to the public, how are they ever going to know they exist.
But there is another side to it. If you get it all out there, but you try to force yourself on the public, then they will turn away. This is where you need to be a Go Giver.
More recently, marketing specialists have started focus on the principle that it is better to give than receive. I'm sure that you are all familiar with that phrase. It dates back centuries.
I read a great little book that demonstrates the effectiveness of this philosophy in marketing. It tells five different stories about the five principles that support the success you can have when you focus more on being a Go Giver rather than the go Getter once you are face to face with your potential customer.
The interesting thing is that these same principles are appropriate for your personal life, so if you apply these principles, you will not only succeed in business but also in life.
The name of the book is "The Go Giver" by John David Mann, Bob Burg.
it is available at your local library and book stores as well as though Amazon.