Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I am a clothing artist who does original apparel designs (T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops and the like). >=90% of my sales are at festivals and events, particularly in the summer months, when I normally do a show every weekend. I've always found it incredibly difficult to generate any kind of online sales (I blame Amazon). 

With the cancellation of events due to COVID 19, where is everyone selling besides festivals and events, if anyplace? What sites/strategies online have worked?

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We had a slow first week, but our website came whirling up in sales the past two weeks at a pace like that approaching Christmas sales.  Our business is a husband and wife duo, I paint silk, and my husband makes wonderful cold processed soap.  The soap is flying off the shelves with record pace.   Our soap is not like store bought... we add additional oil to the formula resulting in superfatted soap. That means as you wash your hands (or body) the oils in your skin are not stripped away, but rather replaced with this additional oil.

how do we generate sales?

  • repeat customers, some generated from art fairs, others from galleries now closed that carry our products
  • mailing list email newsletter
  • social media posts
  • word of mouth

I try to  provide so nuggets to go with each email....this last newsletter talked about ideas for coping with the quarantine.  I don’t want to just send out advertisements but rather to educate, encourage and serve my mailing list.  

while we maintain an Etsy shop, our focus is our own website, with all of our marketing funneling to us... sales have grown using our own website only.


barb bloom

People who have bought belts, holsters etc, from me before, find my web page and contact me personally. I do not sell off the web site as most work is custom. For saddles I market to a group of trick riders worldwide. Facebook reaches them and I post progress on saddles being built in studio. A client posted her finished saddle and is big time pro. As of today over 350 views and 50 comments on her post promoting my work. I have canceled all my shows for 2020 which are summer CO resort area events. If necessary and if they occur, I may do some gun shows in Denver/Colo. Springs area this winter. I'm posting, antique saddle/gear restorations, new saddles, and holsters on Facebook. Also, I share postings by artists I know in other mediums too. 

I started checking with my fellow artists too about cross posting. They are still lukewarm and don't understand what an opportunity it is for both of us, they have NO problem with me doing it for them...but "in kind" seems to fall on deaf ears at this I move along.

I'm in a similar situation. Fortunately, I came across a blog that Connie hosted about a year ago with David Emmons a Vermont artist that created an online tutorial on how to market you work to specific audiences on Facebook using the FB algorithm. I was very skeptical initially (see my previous posts on this matter in 2019), but eventually decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did because my FB presence has increased dramatically and I'm reaching people that are interested in my work. If you want more info, here's a link to David's intro video about the classes:


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