One of the quickest and more effective ways to expose your art or crafts to the public is by opening a booth at an art or craft show. Thousands of people come to these art shows each year with the intention of buying something, and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.
Before you pack your bags and head out to the next show, you should definitely learn as much as you can about art shows. This type of work requires planning, research and various expenses, and may not be for everyone.
A great starting point is to check out the magazine Sunshine Artist. Sunshine Artist is a great magazine that covers art shows in detail. They provide listings of upcoming art shows and information on how you can participate. They also evaluate art shows and provide reports on sales, attendance, and other important details.
It may be a good idea to head out to your first art show as a visitor before actually setting up shop. Once you arrive, walk around and just observe how everything works. Observe the booths that have the most traffic and see what they are doing right. Introduce yourself to the booth owner and see if they are open to talking about their success with you. As long as they are not in direct competition with you, they should be happy to give you some pointers.
When you sell your work at an art show you are selling directly to the public. You make all of the profit. There is no need to share a huge percentage with an agent or gallery owner.
It is probably best to sell items at various prices to accommodate the different buyers that come to your booth. If you typically sell paintings for thousands of dollars, offer smaller, more affordable prints as well. This way, your art can be available to everyone.
Make sure you can accept credit cards. Many people who visit art shows pay by credit card. If you aren't set up to accept credit cards, then you will more than likely lose sales.
Setting up and running a booth at an art show can be challenging. Bring a family member or friend along to help you set up and help customers. It's also nice to have someone to keep you company and provide support and encouragement.
Art and Craft shows are a great way to build a customer mailing list. Set up a little section at your booth inviting customers and browsers to provide you with their name, address, and email address. Next time you attend an art show, you can send out a mailer to your list. You can also let your mailing list know about any new art or crafts you have for sale. It may not be easy to build a mailing list, as people are a bit hesitant when it comes to parting with personal information. To entice people to join, you can offer something for free. You could create small color postcard prints of your work and put them in inexpensive frames and give those away to each subscriber.
Make sure you keep track of your expenses and sales. You want to determine if you actually made a profit, otherwise you may have to make adjustments or possibly not attend the same art show again.
Don't get discouraged if you don't make a huge profit your first time out. Like I said in the beginning, art shows may not be for every artist. Many artists sell at art shows exclusively, while others only use art shows once in a while for marketing purposes.
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