Thursday, September 17, 2009

Craft Show: Entry Level

When looking at the craft show market, there are three distinct levels of craft shows, in terms of the artist: Entry Level, Recognition Level, Serious Money Level. None of the levels are better than others, but they do serve a different purpose. So, when you are participating in that event, you need to be particularly focused on certain aspects of the show.

Today’s topic will be the Entry Level. This level can be described as those fairs that are inexpensive to enter (less than $50), do not have a large attendance, and, typically, last one day or a single afternoon. These fairs include Farmer’s Markets, small holiday craft shows, small town craft fairs, etc. The attendance can be seen to be around 50 to 1000 people. The people who come to these shows are tourists, locals who love craft fairs, or random people looking for something interesting to do. The marketing effort by the craft fair producer’s is generally minimal.

At this level, it’s okay to experiment with your setup. This is a great time to put out new and experimental pieces to determine what the public’s reaction to them is. It is also helps you get out of your comfort zone and forces you to engage the customer. You can work on what to say when a customer approaches, how to engage your customer in the booth, how to collect your mailing list name, and how to set up your booth to allow the most customer flow. Since the cost is minimal, you aren’t really worried about making back your booth/stand fee. The point is to work on your show presence and presentation.

For the entry level shows, it’s generally a good idea to have prints and cards made of your artwork. Most of the people coming to these shows will generally spend around $20 - $50. There are rare occasions where you may get someone to buy a larger piece and, if the timing is right (i.e., Christmas time), you may make quite a number of sales of originals. However, for the most part, the print/card will be your bread and butter.

Personally, I love the smaller shows. My first year of doing a craft show, I minimized my outlaying costs by doing these shows. I spoke with a lot of the other vendors and studied their setup. I watched what worked and what didn’t. I watched how they made sales, how they completed the sales and how they engaged people before they came into the booth.

In addition to setting up in the smaller craft show, it’s a good idea to visit some of them. Watch what sells and what doesn’t. Talk to the vendors and see what type of sales artists make. There are some shows that are perfect for artists and some that are perfect for jewelry. Even with the small outlay, you are only wasting your money if the people coming to the show aren’t interested in purchasing paintings.

The next topic to follow will be the Recognition Level shows.

No comments:

Post a Comment