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
If there are no prices on pieces, I get the impression that the seller will "give" a price in response to an inquiry based on what s/he thinks the person asking will pay. I've seen/heard that at trade shows... and low end "craft" shows-- different prices quoted to different shoppers, and not due to offering discounts on volume or for having a resale certificate/business license.
I understand that if you have "lots of small pieces", and have multiple venues for those pieces, that tagging/retagging can be tedious, but grouping the pieces and having a card stating "all these thingamajigs $XX each" is usually sufficient. Cards/tags with titles, media, LE #s, etc. can be made up separately, so they can stay with the pieces, and used at any venue.
Each of my pieces is individually priced. So a collective price sign wont work.
As I have a lot of pieces, with various prices, when a customer asks a price, I do my lookup in my database, right in front of them. Showing them the pages. They can see the prices, themselves. I even state I keep them in a database so I don't make a mistake and charge a different price to different people.
I give the same price to everyone and they know it.
I think it depends on the person walking into your booth. As for me, I go to stores, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, as well as walk around the show. No price .... I leave. I dont have the time or energy to waste on you.
"...I dont have the time or energy to waste on you...." ???? Means what?
I have always errored on NOT surprising perspective customers. I prefer to have them as allies in my processes and work, so I spend the time discussing how much fun it was to experiment with the new process and how excited I am to watch each piece unfold. (I'm a potter and it's always a joy to open a kiln!) When I go to a booth and find that I have to ask for a price, if I'm shocked by the amount, I generally do not buy. At times I will negotiate a payment plan, but I want my customers to feel like partners in the process.
Agree with good customer relations.
My customers are always my allies. We are sharing in my / their artwork.
Perhaps they are shocked by how low my prices are. I've been told, many, many times they thought it would be more, especially when they find how it is made.. They never have a payment plan, with me. My work is affordable. Perhaps they will use a card, if they do not have enough cash on them.
If they just look in my booth, see a price and leave without talking with me, the idea of becoming an ally is lost.
Retail stores that just place the prices on the pieces, often do not cultivate a partner / ally. Although we are selling "retail" at the shows, our booths are not a typical retail setup. I never want mine to be.
If mine becomes, just a retail shop, I'll stop doing this business.
I want dialogue with my customers. I don't attract the customer who just... glances in the booth, quickly thinks "oh that's a pretty picture"... sees a low enough price... and buys. That is not my market.
Heard once from a customer they would not shop where prices were not posted. Felt that the quote would be higher if they looked affluent and a stupid number if they did not look serious
Yep. It happens-- as I said above, I've witnessed it.
Per Larry Sohn's advice re: having a database printout-- that's better than just an "unsupported" price quote, but it would be even better yet if that db was posted so it could be perused by potential buyers. I've done this, and I've seen it at trade shows... and the seller can greet people, conduct sales, give explanations, and "watch" the booth while "just looking" booth visitors can see for themselves "how much is that one... and that one... and the one over there...".
The customer attitude Barry voiced is very understandable at fairs like Ann Arbor, where the buyer has to invest a considerable block of time and effort just to get to your booth. I walked that fair for years before being in it. Once you're there, it's a time crunch to see all the artists' work you might hope to. That experience sets up an impatient attitude that might not reflect that person's normal approach to art or the artist.
As a vendor it only makes sense to understand the buyer's point of view on that day. It does no good to fight fire with fire... "my attitude is just as tough as yours, so there."
JoAnn's point about buyers thinking they'll be "profiled" is valid for almost any fair. To nullify that, my dated price list is always available in my booth as well as on my website, which amounts to a declaration of transparency.
As for profiling, I used to think I could spot a "qualified buyer" in the crowd, until my paintings sold to people I had not suspected. Now I'm pretty sure I know what millionaires wear: exactly what they please. On the other hand, it's not only the artists who are playing a role. Some of those who visit our booths are on display as much as our art is.