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Discuss the process of getting your t-shirt line into brick and mortar stores and selling offline. Topics include industry tradeshows, events, line sheets, sales reps and other retailing tips and advice.



Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

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Old March 27th, 2010 Mar 27, 2010 7:18:20 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Iím grateful for the tons of information, ideas, and tips Iíve gleaned from reading this forum and thought Iíd share some (hopefully) useful information in return. Iíve been selling at craft fairs, street fairs, and art & wine fairs for about 20 years now. I do about 30 shows a year. And on an average net 2-3K per show. So these can be not only extremely lucrative events for immediate sales but can also be great venues for marketing your brand and driving business to your website.

Now before you go running down to your local fair and snatching up a booth with big dollar signs in your eyes, I gotta tell ya that it is just as likely that youíll lose money on the event as make any, or your net profit on a weekend will come out to a measly $100. Which is the whole point of this post: sharing some tips and ideas on how to sell successfully at this type of venue.

One last caveat before I get into the meat of this post: In the following I am specifically addressing sales at craft fairs, street fairs, and art & wine fairs. And Iím assuming you have a unique line that you designed (as opposed to stock transfers). While some of this info is applicable to other types of events, a lot of it is not. So be forewarned. OK, so here goes . . .

Oh, wait: One more caveat: Iím long winded! LOL.

Pick Your Battles: All shows are not created equal. Failing to recognize this can easily doom you to dismal sales. There are big shows (100,000+ people) and small shows (500 people), large vendor turn out shows (300+ vendors) and small vendor turn out shows (30 vendors); upscale shows (usually any show with Ďwineí in its name) and, uh, Ďnot upscaleí shows (which I usually refer to as the beer crowd); shows in affluent areas with lots of disposable cash and shows in depressed areas where everyone is broke; paid admission shows and free admission shows; 4 hour shows and 10 day shows; local shows (meaning geared to residents of the area) and tourist shows (meaning geared toward the tourist crowd); cheap booth shows ($25) and expensive booth shows ($1,500).

So which is the best? Sorry, it isnít that easy. You can be successful at ANY of these venues as long as your booth, product, and marketing fits the proper demographic. You may decide to only do a specific type of show, or run a variety of shows with a different set up and marketing plan for each. Up to you. Itís your business. But hereís some positive and negative aspects on various types of shows:

Personally I prefer large shows with a few hundred thousand people packing the streets. The vibe works well for me and my line. But large shows usually also means lots of vendors and make no mistake about it - you are competing with every other vendor there, not just other T shirt vendors. If your shirts appeal to the masses, great. But if your shirts only hit a specific niche - you may do better finding a small show that attracts that niche.

I prefer an upscale show (duh) but do an equal amount of Ďbeer crowdí shows. Thatís because Iím lazy and donít want to drive more than 2 hours for a show so I have to take whatís available. So my real cool (and expensive) merchandise is center stage for the upscale shows, while my lower price goods get the spotlight when the less affluent crowd is filling the streets.

Especially with the current state of the economy, except for the holiday season, I avoid most paid admission shows these days. When your potential customer has already dropped $50 for admission, parking, and food, there may not be a lot of cash left to spend on goods. But this, again, depends on the demographics of the show: admission fees can have no negative effect in an affluent area or at an affluent show - in fact the right show can actually attract a better qualified customer by charging an admission.

A show that supports the local economy and one where the locals support the show is a true blessing. Whenever I do a show and the first few customers in my booth thank me for coming always makes me smile: itís gonna be a nice crowd and Iím gonna make bucks! I think the operative point here is the mutual Ďsupportí. Local-only shows where the crowd isnít invested in the show make for tough sales. Tourist shows can be great - touri love to spend money while on holiday. But if the show relies on the tourist crowd - make sure the venue still attracts large numbers of tourists! In todayís economy, many of these shows no longer bring in the number of customers they once did. (And obviously, your product needs to speak to the touristsí needs - if they can just as easily get something similar back home, why would they buy from you?)

Now of course it would be great to make a ton of money off of shows that only charge $25 per booth. But that seldom happens (note: seldom. Not never.) Probably more important is to realize an expensive show does not necessarily mean high volume sales. Some pricey shows got that way decades ago when anyone could make a good profit. So donít assume your sales will necessarily be in line with booth pricing. I do a $45 booth show close to home every year and gross $1,200 - not a lot of money but the up front cost is low and like I said, itís close. I used to do a $700 booth show that Iíd make decent sales at, but realized I could make a better profit at a competing $200 booth show with fewer sales.

So how do you pick? Research! Lots of it! If you need affluent customers - use the internet to see what the demographics of the area you are considering are. Talk to other vendors . . . you may not find out what the good shows are, but we all love to ***** about the bad ones! And know your product: you need to match the show to your customer base . . . bodies alone wonít result in your walking away with your pockets full.

Getting In:
Great shows sell out months in advance. I pay and book my top shows as soon as applications are available - sometimes that is a full year in advance. Even so-so shows can fill quickly, and some assign spaces as applications are received - so procrastinating can mean the difference between a good spot and one stuck in the netherworlds.

One of the most problematic application issues seems to be the Ďonly hand craftedí issue. Truthfully, I know of only 2 promoters in N. Calif (my area) that honestly put on only handcrafted shows. But there are tons that make this claim and then fill their shows with imported goods. And surprisingly it is the latter that will give you the hardest time! There seems to be a rampant, "Oh, no! T-shirts" attitude among these folk which is only second to the, "Oh no! Jewelry" attitude (which I also sell). But I have no problem getting into any show . . . hereís my "trick":

I include with my application a nice, PROFESSIONAL, full color brochure showing my design work with tons of info about my "artisticí endeavors. I use words like ĎArtistí and "handcrafted" liberally AND NEVER use either the T word or J word. Wearable art and art for personal adornment are two of my favorite phrases. I donít show a picture of a T shirt, but rather a close up of the design. Works every time!

Who Is Your Customer?:
Maybe I should have started with this. And it doesnít really matter where or how you are selling your T shirts, if you can not immediately answer this with specific demographics, stop what you are doing before you waste anymore time or money. Your design and the product, color, style, and size you decided to print it on should all be based on the answer to this question. Think of it as a road map. If you do not have a destination in mind, how will you ever get there?

Assuming you have the answer, now apply it to selling at a festival or event. Everything you do should be geared toward that customer. Everything. It should enhance that customerís shopping experience. Thereís a big difference between selling to a cool 20ís crowd and middle aged matrons. Your booth and layout, display, and product selection should be specifically geared to the target you are trying to sell to. Fail to make a perfect match and youíll make very few sales.

At the same time, your customer base may have some odd quirks depending on the show you decided to sell at. Tapping into that vibe can be profitable. I did a show in SF that drew a lot of 30 something affluent women (good match for my product line). A group of us vendors were laughingly referring to the crowd as the ĎItís All About Me" shoppers as the booths making sales all were geared to pampering these women. Second day of the show I put a sign by one of the shirts displayed at the front of my booth that said, "Yes, It Really Is All About You!" Got lots of smiles and laughs. And sold out of that shirt.

Who Are You?
Few of us are natural born salespeople. We all have our own style of dealing with the public. So what works for one person may not be a good fit for another. Know yourself. If you are not comfortable with a high pressure Ďmake the saleí attitude, trying to adopt that persona will never work. Itís not you and customers will instantly read this as your being dishonest. Not to mention if you force yourself to be someone youíre not, the whole experience will be a drudge. Much better to make a pile of cash while you are having fun.

Now I hope whatever you created as your line already matches the inner you. If, instead you just came up with something you think will sell, it wonít. Assuming the former is what you are marketing, match your sales technique to your line . . . and to you.

Me? Iím a pretty laid back kind of guy. I joke that my sales pitch is when someone walks into my booth I smile and say, "hey." But that is actually what do. I let them look around. If that hand comes out and touches . . . Iíll make some innocuous statement like, "Thatís my favorite design", or "Thatís our newest shirt". Possibly give a bit of info about the material or design. Their response will tell me if they need to be Ďsoldí or not. And usually the answer is Ďnotí. Theyíll make the purchase without any additional effort on my part.

The point here is that by making both your customer and yourself comfortable with the shopping experience you are presenting, you will be far more successful than youíd be by trying to force a sale.

Self Promotion: It almost seems an obvious Ďgivení that you should be wearing your product when you are selling at a show. But while that may generally be true, it will not always works to your advantage. For it to work, you, and your body, need to fit both your customer base and your product. If your T shirts are Affliction type shirts for the 20-30 year old crowd, and you are a 45 year old with a few too many pounds on ya . . . donít do it! The result is not going to be flattering to your product.

If you are a good match and model for your shirts, make sure the shirt you wear is clean, preferably new (but ironed to take those fold creases out) and that you have plenty in stock. Why everyone will want to but the shirt you are wearing Iíve never figured out, but they do. In fact, wearing a slow moving shirt will greatly increase its sales. Go figure.

Now if you decided that you really arenít the best model for your shirt, be careful of what you do wear. Donít wear anyone elseís T shirt. And make sure whatever you do wear fits properly and is clean. Youíd think that was obvious but it always amazes me how may apparel vendors are dressed poorly. It may not be your stuff you are wearing, but it will still speaks volumes about your line. Donít give off a negative impression.

Creating A Buzz:
So you are in a 500+ booth show. How do you attract customers to your booth? Well, forget about all that crap about balloons, banners, medieval tents, free drawings, etc. Thatís not marketing. Itís desperation.

I think I already said Ďeverything you do should be geared toward your target customer.í (Yup, I checked, I did.) What do balloons have to do with your shirts? Probably nothing unless your shirts have balloons or clowns on them. A medieval type tent is great when your shirts feature hobbits, and does nothing when you are selling biker designs.

My problem with banners (besides that most that use them donít properly hang them and the result is a drooping sign that you canít read) is that while I understand you are proud of your creations and are trying to establish your brand, a big "Trishaís Tís" banner not only takes up what should be valuable selling space, but screams, "Look At Me!". And people do. They look at the banner. And never see your merchandise.

Go do a show. Watch the crowds as they walk by your booth. Count how long they take to pass. And look at where there eyes are. Hereís what youíll find: You have their attention for about 10 seconds. Do you want them to see your name, or your product? They will generally be looking at waist level, chest level, or up (usually depending on what was displayed at the booth before yours). Color, movement (or yes, a banner) will make them adjust their level. Once. And then they are gone. Make sure what they see makes them stop for a better look at your merchandise.

As for drawings and give-a-ways, great idea if you are selling Lotto T shirts. In fact, then Iíd make my own scratchers up. But more than likely that isnít what you are selling. Do drawings attract a crowd? Yup. But so do accidents. And neither translate into sales. People who queue up to enter a drawing are after a free prize, they have no interest in buying what you are selling. In fact, an "Iffy" customer may decide to see if they win a shirt for free rather than make the decision to buy one. Good job!

A lot of people will avoid a booth with a drawing figuring you really are just collecting names and addresses for future sales calls - which we all hate. A large crowd entering your drawing can also mean no room for a real customer. And though having a big crowd in your booth always gets attention, when a potential customers looks and sees the crowd isnít buying but filling out entry stubs instead they just keep right on walking.

What you want to do is attract customers, not bodies. That means a display that reaches out to your customer base. Get their attention by highlighting your most "customer-based" shirt. Put it out front and center. Use a mannequin, or a real cool display (that fits your style). Instead of the banner across the back wall, hang a few shirts. Get creative with catching your customerís eye. Selling rock n roll shirts? Put out a nice hand painted electric guitar. Biker shirts? Use a motorcycle frame to drape a few of your shirts over. Whatever you do, make sure it gets your customers quickly involved. Thatís what will get them to stop and really look at your merchandise.

A Clean, Well Lit Space:
Seems like the further I write on this the more I think about errors Iíve seen being made and so many have to do with booths and displays. Maybe I need to go back and retitle this posting. Ah, well. Now I know how tempting it is to fill your booth with tons of merchandise. I mean, if it is not there itíll never sell so you got to display it all right? Well, maybe. Too much and too cluttered means nothing sells, so you may be better off offering less items and making more sales off of what you do offer.

Your booth is a storefront albeit a small one. It should be designed to be attractive and shoppable. At a good show the customer who just stepped into your booth just stepped out of a crowd of people. Nice if he or she can stop for a moment, take a relaxing breath and start buying something. When your booth is packed with merchandise, it is like they never got out of that crowd . . . so they might as well just go get back in it.

Now there is the T shirt only booth. And the T shirt + apparel booth. The T shirt + apparel + accessories booth. The T shirt + apparel + accessories + mugs + sunglasses + mouse pads + flower arrangements . . . sometimes pluses are not. Be careful of trying to be everything for everybody, itís difficult to achieve. And while I personally canít quite wrap my mind around this fact, the truth is for far too many people, too many choices is confusing and they stress out and flee rather than making a decision.

Displays should be appealing to the eye. They should further Ďyour story" meaning they should fit your lineís design. And you should be creating a shopping experience that matches what your line is all about.

When you are laying out your booth there are 3 shopping elements you should keep in mind. The first is ĎRight to Leftí. Most customers will enter your booth, move or look to the right and follow through counterclockwise. You can use that to highlight something you are trying to move (put it in the front right corner) or in the same spot put out a display that really says what you and your line is all about. Do nothing that will stop them from making that full circle . . . or theyíll miss half of your booth.

Second is High to Low. Customers will look, and shop, down then up. That generally means waist level to whatever you have hanging on the wall. This also is important for the depth of your booth. Up front, for the most part, merchandise should be at waist level and displayed higher as you go deeper into the booth. Visually this is appealing and if someone is standing outside Ďjust lookingí this layout allows them to see everything you have on display.

Lastly is Cold to Warm. I donít understand this one. But the eye will naturally travel from cold colors toward warm colors. It is comfortable. So if you have multiple colors of shirts on display, put your blues and greens to the front of a display and your warmer colors to the back. Might not make a big difference, but any and everything you can do to make your customer more comfortable in your shopping environment is a win.

And Iíd think I wouldnít need to point out the obvious, but I know better, so I will: Be Clean! Dusty or dirty shelves, displays, tent sidewalls are a no no. Diligently pick up all the trash that floats into your booth. No one likes to shop in a garbage bin.

Touch Me!:
I cringe when little girls walk into my booth! They have to touch everything! And theyíve usually got some sticky highly dyed food stuff all over their hands. But the fact is that for many people touching is an integral part of shopping (actually it is an integral part of their thought process . . . and that covers 43% of people, adults as well as children!) So suck it up: if you donít let them touch, you will lose sales.

Iíve mitigated this by putting one of each of my designs on display with one of each size below. The rest of the stock I keep behind the counter. Then when I sell an item, I put a fresh shirt out in its place. Still lose a few shirts to spoilage - but I give them away to friends who are pleased for the freebie and donít mind having to wash it first.

Sometimes the whole touching thing can even work to your advantage. I started a higher priced soft hand soft T line that I displayed with a sign that said "Touch Me Please." Really worked. Heard a lot of "Ooooo!" And I never had to explain why I charged more for them. Also brought in a load of blanks from the manufacturer printing Sure Designs in Bangkok. These are a great light weight shirt designed to be heavily wrinkled. Great seller for the tourist crowd as they donít have to worry about wrinkles from packing. By the shirt displayed I laid out a few more with a "Play With Me" sign and encouraged people to tie them into knots. Customers had lots of fun, it drew a crowd, and sales were incredible (and forces me to go back to Bangkok to buy more... such a shame!)

Roadblocks & Detours:
I think (?) this is my final word on booth displays! You might have noticed Iíve mentioned again and again about Ďwhen your customer walks in your boothí. This is important. The Ďwalking iní part. When you put a table across the front of your booth and sell from behind it, it does not allow a customer to enter your booth. They have to stand out (in the hot sun) and look at what you have. Meanwhile they are being bumped by the crowd and blocking other potential customersí view. Bad dog!

Iíve heard the argument about putting everything right up front where it can be seen. Well, one family of 4 shopping your front loaded booth means no one else is going to see what you have until they move. Guess this would be a good time to hang that banner.

Having a booth laid out to allow a customer to walk in gets them out of the sun (or rain), gets them out of the crowd, and gives them time to actually shop. And this type of layout gives you a whole lot more room to display your merchandise. (It also gives them room to line up, hands full of merchandise, while they wait their turn to pay for the stuff).

And where should you be? Not sitting at the front entrance to your display, thatís for sure! Customers hate to have to walk past a vendor to get to the merchandise. So most wonít. Get your butt to the back of your display - you are there to sell not to stop someone from buying. I prefer putting up a cash/wrap counter that I stand behind. This is an obvious Ďcheckoutí area so customers are not confused about where to make their purchase. The counter between you and them is a road block - but a good one. The more timid souls shopping your booth will feel more comfortable as your are Ďcagedí and they are safe from aggressive selling tactics (no, really!). This counter area also gives me a Ďback roomí for storage out of the publicís eye so my booth remains attractive and uncluttered.

And remember that 10 seconds you have to grab a customerís attention? Well let me tell you about detours and your damn neighbors! I make it a point to check out a showís rules, specifically looking for something stating vendors have to remain within their selling space. Hereís why. If your neighbor put out a table or display two feet further into the crowd, people walking along will sense this and move the corresponding distance out and away . . before they even get to that blockage. Once past the blockage, they are looking for the path to take them back to where they were. By the time they find it, they passed your booth, and missed your incredible merchandise. Worse, if your neighbor is standing out in front of their booth and accosting customers (seems to go hand in hand) the same thing will happen. The customer will have already passed your booth before they get back into Ďlookingí mode. If the show has a rule against it, I put a stop to either practice at the get go (nicely, then emphatically, then call the promoter). For those shows that donít care where people put themselves or their displays, I have several displays that I can extend too, so that my booth now becomes the new perimeter and they can deal with the customer loss.

Charge It!:
To charge or not to charge. Or more appropriately, to take credit cards or not? I donít. I like cash. And I donít like giving my profits to Visa. I seldom lose sales because of this. Now I fully accept that if I accepted cards there is the potential that someone would buy 5 shirts instead of 2, but I can live with that. What I do know is that if you accept cards people will pay with them instead of cash every time. Lots of profit going to somebody elseís pocket!

Under $20 sales are easy for cash. Over $50 - you need to consider taking cards. I make a point to locate the closest ATM to clue customers in when they are short of the green stuff. And I take checks. A lot of vendors donít. I get maybe 1 bad check a year. Last year I didnít get any.

More Selling:
Mailing lists are great. You can tell your customers where you will be, entice them to come shop with special discounts, and alert them to new designs as you bring them to market. But a mailing list filled with names and addresses of people who have no interest in your product is a waste of money. And thatís what you get when you hold a drawing to obtain names (yeah, I know, I already told you drawings suck). I offer to allow someone to sign up on mailing list AFTER they buy a shirt. Then they are pre-qualified. And I only use snail mail twice a year for 2 holiday shows I do. The rest of the year my promotional info goes by email.

(BTW: if you do a mass emailing, make sure you hide the recipientís addresses - people really get pissed off when youíve emailed their address out to a hundred folk!)

Now Iím willing to make less per shirt when someone buys multiple shirts, so I have a selling price for both a single shirt and for customers who buy more than one. The lower price is actually what I want (so the single shirt price is higher than what I really want to sell them for). When someone buys a single shirt, as Iím bagging it I give them a "just between you and me" look and quietly tell them Iím giving them a coupon for use at a later date that will give them the lower 2 for 1 price. Amazing how many of those coupons show back up over the year. And the customers are always so grateful for the discount!

And I always include a business card, too. It is amazing how much web business I get from people who either bought or saw me at a show.

What is Profit?
"So how did you do?" I ask at dayís end of the newbie selling at the booth next to mine.
"Great! I made $100!!" she replies.
"Good for you! Is that net or gross?"
And get a bewildered look which tells me she collected $100 during the day. Not bad. But the booth cost $200. She spent $20 on gas getting there. And then the cost of her merchandise that was sold . . .

If you are selling for a hobby, have fun, who cares what you make. If you are selling as a business, well you better know if you are making money or not!

I read a post on this forum in which someone detailed their costs against sales and really got it wrong, so let me take a moment to talk about this.

First, you need to know what your merchandise cost is. That would be per shirt. Which means the shirt, the printing, hang tags, a bag . . . everything you spend that the customer walks away with. At the end of the show, your merchandise total would be this figure times the number of shirts you sold. Not the number of shirt you have to sell, but just those sold (left over stock you will sell at the next show). The exception to this is if you made a bunch of shirt for that specific event and they are not sellable after the event ends . . . then youíd include all of your stock.

Your other costs are your booth space, gas and tolls, prizes and giveaways (if you really went that route), parking costs and hotel costs if you did a show out of town. Do not include food (the IRS wonít allow it as a deduction and you shouldnít view it as a business cost either).
Subtract these costs from the amount you collected (less sales tax . . . which Iím not touching here) to give you your net, or profit for the show. This should tell you whether the show is worth doing again or not.

Iím only addressing specific shows and their costs here. Youíll also have postage, web site hosting fees, costs for business cards and other promotional material, etc. But those are your year end costs.

Plus Tax:
Ah, hell, Iíve rambled on for pages already so let me do the sales tax thing. I charge sales tax. Always. Where I live it is now close to 10%- and Iím not giving 10% of my profit away! I used to get a lot of flak from customers but now price everything with Ď+ sales tax" on the signs and donít hear as much grumbling. When I do, my reply is, "It is a state law" and look aghast that theyíd think Iíd break the law.

I have to submit my state tax ID number for every show I do. And the state has schedules they use to judge whether or not you are forwarding the right amount to them for the type of selling you do. You really donít want to play games with this. You will lose. Collect the tax, and send it to the state like you are suppose to . . . just like a real business!

So did anyone really read this whole thing? lol

Hope it was if some use . . .

Happy selling!
 
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Old March 27th, 2010 Mar 27, 2010 7:38:01 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Dang that was a long post. way cool though. this is exactly what I want to do. a long time ago I did the beauty shows and it was great, so I am not totally new to the show thing but thanks for the ideas about the wearable art, (see I did read it). you don't post much but when you do.. wow a wealth of info
 
Old March 27th, 2010 Mar 27, 2010 8:24:53 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clan Co
Dang that was a long post. way cool though. this is exactly what I want to do. a long time ago I did the beauty shows and it was great, so I am not totally new to the show thing but thanks for the ideas about the wearable art, (see I did read it). you don't post much but when you do.. wow a wealth of info
Thanks Karen!
Thank god I edited it for length, huh?
 
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 3:29:04 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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I can't believe I read the whole thing. Great post, thanks Rush.
Mike
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 5:23:46 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Did I read it??? It makes me want to go do a show right now!! THANKS, great info. ( Mike, I'm in Clearwater, fl..)
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 11:37:35 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

WOW! GREAT post! Thanks, Rush! I do shows all the time! I think you have it all of the points right on the head.

Thanks for sharing!
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 6:16:58 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

hey I forgot to ask; where are you located. don't want to compete lol. How do you find so many shows to vend at?
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 6:45:12 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Fabulous post. I read every word. Thanks for sharing.
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Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 7:08:38 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Very informative. Saving in my favorites so I can read the whole thing again. Thanks again.
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 7:20:31 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clan Co
hey I forgot to ask; where are you located. don't want to compete lol. How do you find so many shows to vend at?
I'm in Northern California Karen ... and love competition!

Most shows I do nowadays I've done before, but craftmasternews.com is a great listing for all shows in the western US. The listings give you contact info as well as booth fee info - the attendance numbers should be taken witth a grain of salt (they are submitted by the promoter).
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 8:03:27 PM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

I also read the whole post. Thank You for the great info. I will save the post and get it in my folder to re-read from time to time.
GREAT!
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 10:45:23 PM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

out of curiosity Russ, what kind of shirts do you print, ie flowers, animals, funny shirts ect..? I make handcrafted jewelry, suncatchers, wall art and some beaded watches and the like. all of which features crystals, swavorski mainly. just love the sparklies. The shirts I design are more new age, fatasy and some modern Christian themes. I want to launch a hip baby line but the clan can't agree on what type so haven't yet-- the clan in clan CO is really a clan of Cast Offs but we are family and go for the democratic approach. anyway, not sure if we should go for the car/bike shows or the art fests. I was thinking both but if you have advice I would love to hear it. I agree with the you we should do what we like but we are a clan so have different areas of intrest. I could let one of the "kids" design more.
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 11:18:41 PM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Hey Karen:

Kinda working backwards on all that:

I personally do better at art shows, better hits my targeted market, though I still do pretty good business at biker shows. I really don't hit the car show market with my stuff but I tried a few years ago thinking while the guys looked at the cars the women would shop. Wrong. I have some vendor friends that are travelling right now and doing RV club shows. Their stuff appeals to retirees and they are killing it. Another started doing dog shows and is doing well with that even though nothing she sells is dog related! So there's a lot of niche shows & markets you might consider.

Don't know where you are from, but around here we have quite a few psychic shows (come on, it's California) that you might consider with your new age and fantasy stuff.

I have several different lines of shirts that all fall under my main line's theme. Some funny, if you have a really warped sense of humor. I do a line of blues related shirts; old beat up cars; old-time Hawaii; my logo wear; and the stuff I started out with, tibetan and khmer script (kinda runs into the metaphysical end which matches the sterling silver and stone jewelry I sell).

Good luck on the baby line . . . that isn't my market at all, but boy does stuff for the little ones move!
 
Old March 28th, 2010 Mar 28, 2010 11:37:02 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

I am from Cal and now live in AZ. I know its hard to believe but the crystals I work with are just pretty glass. nothing magical about them I'm afraid. Well, high end leaded glass by famous makers. The art is in making them wearable or hangable. I do get asked if my crystals are charged but my response is "no. I pay cash" gets a laugh. I have been selling them by word of mouth by afore mentioned clan. Keeps me busy around Christmas and Valentines day. I have told everyone I want to do shows and they always ask me if I will be selling the crystals and would I let them know when and where. kinda makes me wonder if I should bring the shirts lol.
 
Old March 29th, 2010 Mar 29, 2010 6:11:52 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Successful Art & Craft Show Selling Techniques

Thanks for the great post!
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