Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
As an artist or crafter, you’ve put a lot of effort into making certain that you are prepared for the shows you attend. However, dealing with other vendors and even your potential customers can cause a lot of frustration once you're there. Make sure you're prepared mentally by checking out our list of five things at fairs that drive artists and crafters crazy:
Fairs, shows, and festivals are intended to be a gathering place where you can meet new people, network, sell your goods, and just have fun. Often you see many of the same vendors from one fair to the next. With that being said, some vendors at fairs just don’t know how much talking is too much.
Most of the time you’ve gone through an application process and paid to be there, so you want to be sure you make the most of the opportunity. However, it’s frustrating when there is a “chatty kathy” who sells homemade honey at the booth next to you and she keeps distracting you. Trying to politely excuse yourself so you can engage a potential customer before they move past your booth can be a struggle.
This might be one of the worst things about selling at a fair. For some reason people think that just because you’re in a temporary location instead of a brick-and-mortar store that they should get a discount.
After putting in hours making a quality product, designing your booth, and getting ready for the show, it’s quite offensive when people come to your booth and expect you to drop your price. Odds are you’ve put a lot of thought into your pricing. You may think to yourself, “how would you like it if I asked you to lower your salary or pay for your job?”
You know this type of shopper like the back of your hand. They are the ones who come in and start to check the price tags on everything, or worse, bombard you with questions about how much things cost. They always seem to think that your competitively priced products are way too expensive, and they let you know it with a big sigh. Or they scoff, exclaiming that, “It costs what?! I could get it cheaper at Walmart.”
It makes you feel like saying: “No, my unique handmade items are higher quality and therefore a little more expensive than any mass produced “Walmart fall apart” product. Second, if you don’t like the price, feel free to move along.” It's no real loss to you since shoppers like these clearly don’t appreciate the time, effort, and quality materials that go into the making of your products.
When customers engage with your products, you get excited, but the same can’t be said when their children run rampant in your booth. A child has the uncanny ability to turn everything you’ve worked so hard to create into a pile of rubble.
Is it really too much to ask for a parent to monitor their children? If they are not up to the task of watching their child and shopping at the same time, perhaps it would be best for them to find a babysitter before the show or at least bring backup to help while they shop.
While it’s true that there are many fascinating things that are created and brought to art shows and craft fairs, some people cross the line from appreciation to just plain rude. Many times this happens when someone brings a camera or pulls out their phone and just starts snapping photos.
Sure, you understand that sometimes people want input from their friends or family before they buy, but that’s not what these people are doing. These picture takers are the ones who are only there to take a massive amount of pictures and post of your work on social media or to copy your ideas for their own gain. Again, move along people.
If you’re like most artists and crafters, you probably showcase your work and engage with your customers on social media. While this has the potential to drive your business and increase sales, it has also created the “craft/art show groupie.”
This is a tricky group of people. They act like (and sometimes even make you think that) they are real customers. They explain how they are your most loyal of followers on your social media or website and that they are excited to see you there. They may even engage you in the sales process by asking you about the items in your booth and telling you how great each item is. But, in the end, they lose interest and never purchase.
It is true that art and craft fairs and festivals should be enjoyed. However, as an artist or crafter who vends at these events, it would be nice if you could just focus your attention on those who are genuinely interested in it and serious about buying. What are some of the biggest pet peeves you've experienced while selling at a festival? Share them with us in the comments!