So far in my series on selling art at craft fairs, I’ve explained how to choose the right craft fair and given some ideas for setting up a great display stall. In today’s article, we’re going to look at marketing your art and how to actually sell your artwork to buyers.
Promote the fair to newcomers and your own audience
The more people you get through the door of that craft market, the more likely you are to make sufficient sales. So don’t just assume the market organizers will do all the promotion—you’ve got to promote as if you were organizing it yourself.
The market should be able to supply you with a stack of posters or a poster graphic to print. Stick a few copies in your local neighborhood—try to hit places the organizers might not have thought of, such as your favorite corner café, the notice board in your office building, or on the wall in your dentist’s office.
Next, put up a post on your blog and a note on your website and encourage your fans and followers to come along and see what you’ve got in person. It can also be a great idea to profile some of the other stallholders and get your followers excited about their products, too. Remember, if someone buys something from another stallholder, they could still buy something from you.
Also, try to get behind the marketing efforts of the organizers, especially if they’re offering the opportunity for you to “introduce” yourself and your art to their regular attendees before the fair, either through a spotlight on their blog, in their newsletter, or regular updates on their Facebook page.
Take a “salesperson” with you
Many artists are introverted by nature, and struggle with the basics of selling. It’s important not to beat yourself up too much about your lack of sales skills, and focus on getting people interested in your work.
My advice is to bring along a helper with a vivacious, outgoing personality to run the stall while you sit and work on your craft. He/she can answer questions, greet people and take orders while you act as a live demonstrator.
As you paint or work with clay, or whatever it is you do, customers might come up and ask you questions about what you’re doing. Smile, make eye contact and explain details about your craft. Show them examples from the table. Then hand them over to your friend if you feel like you’re losing them as a potential customer or you need to get back to work.
Have clear signage around your art stall
At craft fairs, it’s vital not just to have an attractive stall, but to make sure your business name and branding are front and centre. This means having a clear and attractive sign displaying the name of your business and, if you have room, a tagline explaining what you sell. For example, “Hand-crafted garden sculpture” or “pet portraits.”
It also means making sure all your artwork is clearly labeled with titles and prices. Customers often think, “if I have to ask for a price, I can’t afford it,” so make sure they can clearly see how much everything costs. You can either label every item individually or group items and give each group a sign displaying the price.
Selling at craft fairs can be a rewarding experience and a great way to build face-to-face rapport with customers and collectors. It can also be a very scary experience if, like me, you are painfully shy. With a friend along to help you sell, you can concentrate on what you do best—creating art that turns heads.
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