Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Ive done a few shows this past May......and oh oh.....the economy is so bad!....everyone is saying, no the weather was bad......but really I can tell....there were a couple of nice Saturdays and no crowd.......
Face it .....it will be a long year.......and I will enter less shows.....and do shows close to home.....hope the recession will be over soon.....but really with the goofy politics in this country and the electorate electing the bad guys way to much......it will be a while before things return to profitablilty for us artists....
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all you artists who are doing so great during this recession.....your work is wonderful and you deserve to make money......I love listening to how well you are doing......please tell me this over and over again.
Of course, those who are doing well (which is more than those who are not doing well) need to realize that there are those who are not doing well ..... it is the economy.
Do you feel that people are telling you how well they are doing just to rub it in? Everyone knows there is a recession, I have chosen not to talk about it to keep a positive attitude. That strategy has worked. I worked hard and I have re-adjusted many times and have had some success this year. I am sorry you haven't. Instead of snarky remarks to those who have also had success, why don't you try to take the advise that has been given out on this thread.
In the spirit of keeping things positive, I will list a few of the things I have been doing to improve things for myself. These are all things that everyone who sells anything for a living should know, but sometimes are forgotten. First, keep it positive, stop talking about the recession; no one wants to hear about it. Start talking about what you can do better at the next show. I promise, if you start thinking about ways to improve your work, display, and sales techniques, and then act on those thoughts, you will feel a lot better about things; attitude is everything.
Second, believe your work is as important as food and water. Someone in this thread just tried to claim that flat screen TV's are a need, but they couldn't justify their own work as a need. How sad. I firmly believe my work is necessary. Go into anyone's home and look on their walls. You will see family photos and art. The reason people have art is that after a long day in the concrete jungle, fighting traffic, sitting in meetings, and dealing with customers and/or bosses, people want to separate themselves from that world and put themselves mentally where they feel at peace. Art serves that need. Believing my art is necessary makes it easier for me to sell it. Read any book on selling, believing in your product is a key to success.
Finally, I do not consider myself a vendor. I am technically an artist, a landscape painter who works in pastel; but I don't really talk about that at shows except maybe very quickly in a an introduction. My sign in my booth says pastels, but my artist statement does not mention pastels. What do I do? I create scenes that take people to another place. I am also a communicator (all artists are). I try to talk about the "why" and not the "how" in my work. Whenever I create a landscape painting I make a decision about what it felt like to be there, what I liked about the place, and try to communicate that visually to my audience. When I speak about my work, I communicate those feelings verbally. I avoid technical discussions.
All of these things I mentioned are very much Sales 101 ideas, but during tough times everyone is susceptible to forgetting them. Last year I was struggling with my sales and I read a great book called Selling in Tough Times by Tom Hopkins. I highly recommend it. Things will get better, just stay positive.
Being able to engage the customer, instantly assess what they might look good in, LISTEN to what they are looking to accomplish, stict with flattering and positive statements which you notice are TRUE about the person, know and talk up your creations, and closing the deal are essential skills which artisans sometimes lack.
Go get the knowledge!
Selling itself is an art.
I made 3K this weekend at Amy Amdur's Promenade of Art. I made friends and CONNECTIONS!
I can't pay attention to the economy....I'm too busy making money and working.
Whiners aren't winners!
As Nike said so well :JUST DO IT
Actions speak louder than words.
I made 3K this weekend at Amy Amdur's Promenade of Art
This is what I mean by everyone having a different idea of a good show. I used to average 3K over my 40 show schedule. Now I'm down to averaging $1500 per show.
And a simple reason is that the customers are not there anymore. You can't sell to people who aren't there. And one reason they're not there is prices for coffee, fruit, bacon, pasta and a slew of other food items have risen over the past year as much as 40 percent. They're spending their hard earned money at the grocery store.
And I agree that there many who are doing quite well, and I congratulate you. You have something the customer likes, or you have a following. Keep up the good work.
Attitude? I go to a show with a very positive attitude! I never discuss the economy at the shows with the customers. I'm too busy bantering with them and enjoying myself. I leave all the negativity in the truck. At 10:00 I say "It's showtime!!"
I've been doing this for a very long time, and I have weathered a number of recessions. But nothing as bad as this one.
The most important thing I learned last weekend (my first art fair), was to do some demographic research before applying to a particular show. That town was just too economically depressed to expect many art collectors. Six dollar cups of beer and eight dollar hamburgers apparently were affordable though. None of the artist did very well, and most that I spoke to were not planning on coming back. I sold a couple of sketches, and thankfully made enough to pay for the gas to get home (hour and half drive), but it's a bit of a sour experience to go to your first outdoor event and have to scratch it off your list.
I'm working on preparing for the next one, which I hope will be better. It has more of a tourist base, and a theme that meshes well with my subject matter, so I feel more optimistic.
I can't say that the 'economy' isn't to blame for poor sales (heck I'm not spending much either these days), but I'm afraid that we have no choice but to learn to adapt to it and cope with it, because circumstances aren't going to get any better. We're in a 'depression" far different, and far worse than anyone has ever seen before, and I'm afraid that Americans, like the rest of the world, are just going to have to get used to a new 'reality'.
Am I going give up doing what I'm doing, because of it? ...don't be ridiculous! Art fair promoters will call it quits long before I ever will. I'm artist. I paint pictures... and every now and then, someone wants to trade for one that they take a fancy torwards, whether it's for cash, beans or bullets. I certainly don't need to be at an art fair to do that. This summer is merely an experiment for me to test the economic viability of outdoor shows. If the returns aren't going worth the investment, I'll just go back to pitching up my walls at campgrounds and city parks.
I can understand the fears, however. I have the luxury of "grown and flown" kids, My wife and I are still relatively healthy. I have no mortgage or debt. I also have no money, but I'm beginning to feel wealthier than a lot of other folks. Many artists are going to have to find alternative incomes to 'get by.' I just hope no one just gives up on making their art just because there's no money in it. If that happens, then the banksters will win and the "Depression" will be about a lot more than just economics.
Chris.......I paint sports portraits.....and on average, I make between one third and one sixth of what a good jeweler makes.......I have a very good friend who makes and sells some gorgeous jewelry.....so if a jeweler makes $3000 at a show.....I would make between $1000 and $500 at that show.....somewhat less this year.
No, I am not going to make jewelry......lol
Further, let me make an important point here. I greatly admire someone who possesses the wonderful skill of making great jewelry and can make money selling (vending...lol) it.
You might get a kick out of this Dave.
When I call a promoter to inquire about a show, the very first thing I say after introducing myself is that I'm not a jeweler. You'd be amazed at some of the positive reactions I get on the other end of the line.
Just found this interesting... The article cites a study that shows American "consumer spending has dropped an average of $175 a month since the recession began, and that was more than 42 months ago". Hmmm... $175 a month can be a nice photograph, or a necklace, or... well, you get the idea!
Halfway thru my season - May thru October - I must once again respectifully disagree. I got into a show this past weekend, replacing a pricier Amdur Gold Coast show. A painter friend of mine did over $25,000 and has three additional commissions. A photographer friend of mine did over $20,000 easy and I didn't do too badly either. Attendees did not hesitate at any price range. Where - recessed ? Michigan. Here is the bottom line. The last couple of years made me reassess what shows I would do and the need to keep the work fresh - new ideas, new images, new presentations. I try to now stay away from the shows that in past years bring in the less affluent middle class. Nearly any show this year will take late applicants. I'm bringing new work, using new marketing skills and going places I didn't think about in prior years. It's a constant thought process - it's working 24/7 analyzing what the buying public wants. If you are presenting work you've made for many years and participating in an event that in 2010 brought you less than 2009...... well, let's just say you are getting what you should be expecting.
You know we are all trying to ignore the elephant in the room here.
Let's be truthful: we are in a severe recession.
If some artists are making it, well, people prospered through the great depression also.
Research, spredsheets, MSPs.... use them all, if you think it works. Wisper secret codes, call promoters, use voodoo.....LOL
Read the life of the great artists. They all suffered. Why not we of lesser greatness?
This is our life.