Art Fair Insiders

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

I wanted to wait a little while after attending the Zapp conference to digest and try some of the suggestions that were presented to me in Houston.  I was close to overwhelmed with ideas on improving my sales.  I learned better ways to set up my booth (like not focusing so much on matted prints).  I heard about the importance of social media in the art world and was presented with wonderful ideas on ways to market myself (after I figure out all the ins and outs).  It was great to meet both artists and art fair directors and learn about their experiences in their professional journeys. 


So, last weekend I thought I would try a new tactic for sales.  I completely rearranged my booth to have it feel more open and only had a few matted prints available.  I’m a photographer, so this was kind of scary to me.  What I learned was that this was not the exact right thing to do.  My sales on Saturday were awful.  I was fortunately able to change what I was doing for Sunday.  I brought my table back into my booth and added about half of the matted prints I usually offer.  While my Sunday sales were better, they were barely enough to have me break even.  I know Sunday sales are almost always slower, so I’m thinking that if I had had my matted prints to offer on Saturday, I probably would have done better.  I did agree with the jury panel at the Zapp conference that I was focused too much on the matted prints, but my response was too drastic.  Often, matted prints are all I sell.  There are shows where I don’t sell off my walls at all.  It was a risky move that I learned was not a good idea.  I am an optimist though.  I just think that if I hadn’t tried, I wouldn’t have known.  Oh well.  So… for my show this upcoming weekend, I will try to find a balance between having matted prints to offer, but trying to sell off of my walls a little more successfully.  We’ll see how it goes…

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Amy, it is good to read this.  It must have been awful that you didn't sell as well on Saturday as you are accustomed to.  I know it is disappointing and scary for me if I don't do as well as expected.

I wish I could know more info!  Maybe you can share more of what you learned in small bits for us (ME) to chew on.  I know there is nothing like "being there" but I would like to know as many specifics and generalities as you are willing to share.

Amy, I thought all the presentations were excellent, as I know you did too. But here's the other part, they are not standing totally in your shoes, but it is worth trying the suggestions. You know what works for you, but changes are always good. This whole business is an art: creating it, arranging it, choosing the right shows, setting up the booth, marketing ... Good for you for trying. Were you exhibiting at Bayou City? I would have loved to speak with you. I sold photography for a long time. Also, if you were don't miss Nels Johnson's post in the blog about Bayou City. He is also a photographer, not thrilled with sales.


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