Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Newbee here getting ready to launch in 2018. I do unique mixed media 2D flat art that sells in the range $450 - $750. I'm leaning towards not posting the prices next to each piece on the theory that forcing the customer to ask about the price opens up an opportunity to engage in a conversation with the prospect. I've seen it both ways at some of the festivals I've scoped out. What's the case for or against? Also, sticking labels directly to my artwork would not work well in my case. Anyone have a proven method for labeling on a mesh wall? Velcro labels to the wall? Thx
I have eaten at restaurants that do not have prices posted. Very upscale and great quality. Just because somebody has money does not mean, they feel they want to spend the price that we are asking for our art, Just because somebody has money, does not mean that they judge a value the same as somebody who does not have money. It is not disrespectful nor intimidating to decide not to post prices. It is a choice the artist can make. I have never heard of a state that requires prices to be posted with art.
Just because somebody asks a price, does not mean I am going to attack them with salesmanship. It merely indicates to me that they may have an interest in the item. You may not favor the idea of prices not being posted. That does not equate to others being nefarious or wrong.
Dori, Have you found your great diplomacy enhances your sales?
With my experience, every time I open my mouth, I get in the way. I don't think I have ever been able to talk someone into buying my art. Most of the people that buy my high end paintings tap me on the shoulder, I turn around, they say "I'll take that one" and then they point with their finger.
If i do get into a back and forth exchange trying to impress them with "buzz words" I read about or listened to off a salesman CD (cough Bruce baker) then it just makes me feel disengenuous and fake. And it doesn't even work, thats the funny part. It's all for nothing. Some artists thinks it works, but they are just building up their vanity and narcissism. The buyer already was willing to buy it before the awkward fake exchange even happened, but just ask the artist, they will tell you it was the "connection" they made with the buyer that got the sale, lol. And they believe it...
For my personality, and resting bitch face default, I am just trying to get out of the way. Since I have, sales have increased.
We all have an innate sense of what a hamburger should cost at a given restaurant, or a shirt/blouse might sell for at your favorite department store. But pricing art seems to be governor by a different set of rules. One person's $150 oil painting is another artist's $1,500 masterpiece - and that's the way it should be.
I look at this issue from the perspective that the ideal sales scenario is to have the prospective customer sell themselves on your work, and to avoid having price enter the discussion until the absolute end. Frankly, isn't that sort of how a car salesperson goes about it - pardon the comparison. Foremost in their mind is to get you to test drive the car as soon as possible on the hope that price will become a secondary issue in your final decision.
Since my art media is totally foreign to the first time viewer, and in general my subject matter is eye candy-ish to most, so far 99% of the customers initially approach me with a "what is it?" look on their face. The question of price will take a long time in the discussion to come up - if at al. If it never comes up (more often than not) then that tells me my stuff is a source of curiosity/entertainment for them, nothing more - and I'm fine with that. I'm of the opinion, there is something to be learned from everyones opinion, good or bad, prospect or not.
My sales theory is - by keeping the price out of the way until the customer brings it up (I certainly would not volunteer it) increases the chance for the customer to make a personal connection with the art that I hope they will equate favorably with the price, should the conversation hopefully get that far. In general, my goal is to make the case for the time and effort, and creativity too of course, it took to make the piece to hopefully justify the price once we get to that point. Even if they don't reach in to their pocket at that point (mostly the case in this business) at the very least I'll hopefully learn something about the value proposition of my art.
Allan, Very well stated.
I am not Walmart. I have no intention of trying to compete, price wise, with other "stores". I have yet to find another artist with my exact work.
I NEVER expect a customer to buy my work because it's cheap.
If it speaks to them, if they feel it is worth what I want, they will have the opportunity to acquire it through me at that fixed price point.
I rarely find the price is the deciding factor. If it were, my art would not be good enough.
Pricing or not pricing seems to be a personal decision in some cases based on experience, or not. But remember that for every potential customer that walks away because of no pricing, you've lost a potential sale. This is unlike galleries that might have color stickers or codes on each piece. They are in the same location and open regular hours but your booth will be gone either the end of the day or the next day. That's why it's critical to capture sales as quick as they can possibly happen.
I'd also be curious if follow up sales happen on unpriced art work from people that haven't discussed price.
Larry, just last week I shipped out two pieces. These were purchased by somebody who had seen me at a show, did not discuss prices with me at that time, as I did not have any prices displayed. However they took my card, emailed me, asking the prices, and purchased the pieces which I then shipped.
They saw The pieces at the beginning of September. Yet yet it was December they made that purchase.
If everyone at an art show didn't post their prices I would never go to art shows.
"How much is this one? And this one? How about this one? This one? What about this one?..." Yikes.
My eye just twitched thinking about some artist going into a diatribe about their inspiration, technique, medium, blah blah blah.
Some of us just don't always want to converse.
At my own shows I wouldn't want to force anyone to have to talk to me unless that was their own decision.
Too much talking could ruin a lot of things.
You should absolutely show your prices (I agree with the poster who thought you might be putting the buyer in an awkward position by not posting them and making them ask).
If you don't post your prices, you're losing the buyer who can afford your work but assumes they can't and you might be keeping buyers hanging around who can't afford your work but who hope they can.
Your prices shouldn't be a mystery or guessing game. They are also a statement about your work and you should not be coy about displaying them.
If you use pro-panels you can make nice price tags using small rectangular pieces of fomecore with velcro dots on the back so you can put them just below the piece of art.
I post prices everywhere I offer my work for sale. I disagree that by not posting prices I'll have the opportunity to engage customers about my work. I usually engage my customers before they've even looked at the work or the tags, anyway.
I think folks use those curtain hangers for hanging art on propanels and mesh walls, right? That can be easily stabbed into foam core and threaded through mesh. Easy day.
To anyone who does not show their prices- to make a comment- you are not thinking about the customer, as that does not benefit them.
When I'm in my booth I have my business cap full on.
The world market is huge and people have expectations when they shop, including seeing a price. Not seeing one makes you as a businessperson look "different." Suspicious, secretive, gamey? Who knows, but why are the prices not shown?
I KNOW that I am just a person from out of area- probably out of state- setting up in a 10 x 10 tent with items that I've pulled out of a cargo van. First thing I want to do is establish myself as reputable, trustworthy, with transparency (political term, but a good one.) I want you (customer) to feel welcomed in my booth and that I am a trusting businessperson.
Not putting up my price would go against the type of connection that I work hard to acquire with the patrons. We discuss things in my booth always, and it never starts with a question about the price.
Maybe you need to work on getting your prices to where you feel more confidence in displaying them? (Meant kindly.)
I am confident with my prices.
Do you believe your Doctor, lawyer, mechanic or many others are "different, Suspicious, secretive, gamey"?
Most times you do not know the final price until acquisition.
You care most about their quality, integrity, ability & completed work.
Price is rarely a factor in my art. I believe most everybody, coming to my booth, can afford my work.
In our society the majority of purchases are NOT made by analysis & price. Impulse, attraction & marketing are the majority of sales factors. If people only bought what they could affird, credit cards would not be so prevalent.
Price is less an issue than value. If something has a percieved value, the consumer will find a way to purchase it.
Speaking with the artist can enhance this value. They are not just buying an object. They are acquiring a relationship with the artist.
Any opportunity to initiate said conversation with the artist is good for both.
In the very brief time, we often have with potential customers at a show, what sort of relationship is built by a customer walking in glancing at pieces, seeing the price and walking out?
Walmart displays prices and sells based upon low prices... I sell based upon quality and offering of something they cannot attain elsewhere. I don't display prices.