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

Let's do it as a top ten: My number 1 is


"Did j'all make this"?

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hear, hear!!

I too, have the same philosophy....People are NOT transactions. If you treat your customer like a transaction...well that it pretty sad. 

My CLIENTS are treated with respect and courtesy. I CREATE in my studio, I SELL at the shows= two VERY different aspects. Every person selling their Art or Craft needs to understand that. It's business. And a lot of the Exhibitors, Artisans, and Crafters need to take a course on HOW to SELL. It is very much a psychological tool. Understand it and utilize it. How a Client is treated and interacted with, DIRECTLY ties to sales. Bottom line, if you want to make sales, treat your clients and potential clients with care.

Oh, I have signs up specifically and clearly stating the microwave/dishwasher suitability of my work.  Very often, the piece they picked up is within inches of such signage.  And it's not those modern convenience durability questions that are surprizing/iritating.  Before we even get to that, the question is if the piece -- totally recognizable as a traditional functional mug form -- can be drank from, not if they can nuke it or power-wash it.  I could see if it my work was avant garde shapes, sizes, or embellishments that may bring "is it a mug?" up as a question.  These are mugs, no doubt, and several shelves full of them.  I usually find it humorous when asked, but some days.....

lol, Eric.

Re the credit card questions.  This isn't funny, just annoying.  Soooo....I'm asked do you take credit cards? Answer:  Yes I do.  Question:  All cards.  Answer:  Yes.  Customer:  If I pay cash will you take less?

All the friggin' time at every show. And it still makes me tongue tied.


Actually - that is not a difficult question or should leave you tongue tied - you have been asked it enough - what IS your answer. I am not writing this in a snotty tone - I am asking you a serious question - as soon as one customer asks you to do your money handling/pricing in a different manner that should be a HUGE sign that you are dealing with today's savvy customer and since you have had many ask you this, you should have had your plan in place after the first one asked.

I have been asked this, and the FIRST time I was tongue tied and told myself - well - that was a VERY good question that deserves my attention and so I did come up with a very good response. I had to weigh this whole issue and ask myself - was this going to start a landslide? And then I asked myself, was I careful in my pricing structure and I said yes, I had already figured in the credit cards since that is now almost 70% of my customers purchasing style, so I know I could offer that discount at a certain dollar level which is the average ticket sale (average how many customers purchase divided by total $$ sales). I am assuming that you do a ticket average at the end of each show so you know your average sale? That will give you the threshold and you will have it on the tip of your tongue rather than being tongue tied. 

YOU decide at what $$ level you will discount that percentage to the customer and reward them for choosing to purchase from you credit card or cash. I enjoy a customer who is very money savvy and watches their pennies. They already told you they want to purchase from honor them back, and when they know you are going to "work" with them...they will most likely purchase even more. Credit card or not. It is in essence the same thing in the end.

And, because you are honoring their request - they will think of you first next time they attend that show. You don't make money off of one time purchases, you make them off of your repeat customers. That is one of the golden rules of retailing. I won't get into all the details but think about all the time you spent developing 1 brand new customer....versus someone who already knows your quality and product line and plans to spend with you each time. It's massive.

Sorry for being blunt but I hope to give you massive food for thought and look forward to your opinion once you have time to work out the figures. I think you will find this "is" a great strategy to have in place.

The come back I like is "There is a minimum $500 purchase for any cash discount". Period end of discussion.

Eric and Richard.  Two good answers.  Both simple and succinct.  Is it just that men are better at this?  Don't want to start a sex or shall I say gender war but I'm a woman of a certain age born and raised in the south and probably have it in my thick skull not to hurt anyone's feelings.  You guys are right.  What about my feelings? 

On the "do you take credit cards" question. A nice answer is always "I certainly do, and sometimes I even remember to give them back". It goes without saying, it's done with a smile.

I was at a show where one exhibitor had a sign in front of his checkout:

"I take Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, your personal check, and if you have identification, I will also accept cash".

Haven't had time to particpate at all for a while, but I just did my last show of the season with a select group of artists in a very high end venue.

The second day (two-day show), a guy came in, took a look around, wandered over to my display and asked, as he swept his arm around to indicate all of us, "Why do you guys even keep doing this? No one buys this expensive sh*t. I can get better deals at Walmart."

The only response I could think of was to point out that the nearest Walmart was only about a mile away. I'm glad I'm done for the year.

Too bad I wasn't there :-( The answer would have, "I'm sorry, sir, but there are still lots of people out there with money AND taste" I doubt if the clod would have understood he had just been skewered.


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