Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Funny story. I used to have a policy that said "If you are unhappy for any reason ... " we would allow return. Then I got my first (and only) return, and it appeared it was never opened.
I contacted the buyer to see why he shipped it back.
He said, well, it was a gift for my fiance, and she is no longer in my life. We broke up before I could give the gift to her. You said if I was unhappy for any reason, I could return it. And, I'm really unhappy now.
So I rewrote to say "If you are unhappy WITH THE ARTWORK ... "
I do not have a written return policy for art shows - I consider if someone buys it, it's theirs. So there is no return policy.
If a flaw is discovered after they get it home, and they contact us, we will work with them to repair/replace (that has happened exactly once ever that someone discovered a nick on a surface, and we agreed to repair the item, but the customer never followed through.)
On my Etsy store, I have this policy in writing:
(Note: Keep in mind, I am shipping a very fragile item, also unusual because of the liquid component. Items are very well-packed, but we did not want anyone to avoid purchase because they worried about it arriving in one piece.)
Return Policy: (Etsy)
Returns: We are confident you will enjoy your custom artisan waterglobe/snow globe.
However, if you are disappointed with your purchase upon inspection, you may return it by United Parcel Service/UPS.
You must :
- Please notify us that you are returning the item within 30 days of purchase, and provide the return tracking number to us.
- use UPS for return shipping as the U.S. Postal Service will not accept shipment of liquid-filled items.
- Please carefully re-pack in original packing.
- You must pay the shipping cost for the return, but we will refund your entire purchase price and original shipping costs when it is returned unbroken.
- Let us know if you have questions.
In the very unlikely event your snow globe breaks during shipping to you (see shipping notes above), we will work with you to find an acceptable solution, such as a complete refund, remake of the globe (if the interior and base pieces are returned to us), or substitution of a similar item if you agree. Our goal is your satisfaction.
I have a similar story.
My most successful selling piece was a nine picture sequence of a heart in the sand washing away. I was once doing a show in Boca and a man came up and told me he had been looking for me for the past year. He had purchased the same picture as a present for his wife, they had gotten divorced and he threw the picture away. When they got back together again, the first thing his wife asked for was for him to purchase the picture again.
Getting to the original question. I would offer a refund at the same show or an exchange in the future. But I wouldn't advertise it. Also keep in mind that the last thing you want is someone complaining to the director about you not taking something back at the same show. That's easily the reason for you not getting accepted in the future.
On the other part, I agree with you: if someone came back during the same show and needed to return the item, I would quietly listen and probably say yes. But I would not have it in writing, would not encourage it, and it would be an on-the-spot decision. If someone overextended themselves, for example, I'd just shrug and work something out (including a refund if that was the best option).
We have had only one thing brought back during a show. A couple bought a set of coasters and a coaster holder. Later on, maybe an hour later, they came back. The handles broke on the bag we put their purchase in. It was not their fault, not our fault either but the set of coasters broke. So of course we replaced the set We apologized profusely and let the know immediately that we wanted to take care of it. They were happy with replacement and fortunately we had a duplicate of what they had purchased.
I am not sure what monogram they bought but this is the font I use for 99% of the monograms I do. Just wanted to share what it looked like. :D
I always hand my well-boxed, but otherwise fragile artwork to buyers saying "we make the snow globes, so we can vouch for how they are made, but I didn't make the shopping bag, so please be careful" ... so far, so good.
We use a frosted plastic bag with cardboard bottom and not paper or string handled bag because I worry so. The ones we got are "Frosted 16 x 6 x 12" which is100 bags for $45 with free shipping, and the handles seem very strong. (I'll give you the link if you want to see exactly.) I know there are cheaper bags out there, but I can't have my artwork dropping out on the pavement!
I like what you tell your customers about the art and the bag. Please send me the link.
This is their ebay store (Retail-Warehouse) so you can see the sizes. I get the frosty white bags that are described as "feature strong handles and a hard board bottom to provide rigidity."
So it's a bidding thing or are there quoted prices?
And of course there's always ULINE. They have everything.
Quoted prices. It's an online store with a Buy It Now ebay presence.
Cindy, a situation like that can be an opportunity to make another sale. Not to that particular customer, but to their friends. Believe me, it works.
Since I. like you, make a hard product, there can always be the chance someone may want to return it for whatever reason. 99% of the time it's because of some sort of defect. When this happens, the very first thing I say is "I guarantee my work" and then take a look at the problem.
Last fall I was doing a show and a customer came up to my booth with about three or four friends. She took out a bag and it had a plant hanger I sold her three months earlier. It's made of steel and painted with primer and a top coat. It had started to rust. I examined it and saw the paint was chipped in a number of places. She had dropped it a few times. However, I reached into the display and handed her a new hanger and said again that I guarantee my work.
Her friends, seeing this, started buying. I made $100 off that return of a $12.95 plant hanger.
You did the right ting by gladly making good on the broken bag situation.
You did the right thing as well, even if the friends never bought. The original purchaser would "get it" for future purchases as well.