Art Fair Insiders

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

For many artists this is the down time of the year until the Spring shows come around. How to make productive use of it?

  1. Get your vehicle ready. Clean it out. Refit it so stock packs easily for in and out.
  2. Go through your inventory, clean everything, put new price tags on, make new signs. Remove anything that has been in your stock for over a year.
  3. Analyze your 2014 sales to find your best price point and create work for that niche. (Listen to Alison Thomas and Leo Charette on this podcast to hear their tips.)
  4. Prepare new images for jurying. Review your Zapp/JAS portfolio. Share it with a friend or a person you respect and get feedback. Rewrite your Artist Statement.
  5. Get out a calendar and plan your year's schedule. Remember this is a business, be systematic in your choices. Does it seem a place where you can earn a profit? If you are new to the business do not overextend yourself financially. Be conservative. Here is a varied list of events in all price ranges: www.CallsforArtists.com.
  6. Review all of your insurance: vehicle insurance, health insurance, business insurance, studio.  Try ActInsPro.com for event insurance and RLI.com for small business insurance. You saw the stories on this site this year: high winds blowing through shows, bad auto accidents, robberies, medical problems. Be prepared.
  7. Review your business cards or other print materials you hand out to customers. Design/order new ones.
  8. Close your books. Get your paperwork together. Renew sales tax licenses for the states you visit.
  9. Find an open jury to attend. Read some books on sales.
  10. ________ help me out here. What else?

Bored yet?

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Comment by Connie Mettler on January 26, 2015 at 11:32am

I like Betty's #10 the best!

Comment by Betty Torma on January 26, 2015 at 9:22am

Fortunately I am retired.  So my #10 is go to Florida for the Winter.

Comment by Dusty R Shutt on January 22, 2015 at 12:58pm

Connie, yes, new shows to me. Last year due to commitments I had with the Colorado Balloon Classic and deciding late to get back onto the show circuit, I only did a couple of shows. This year I've increased my apps from 5 to 20. So I'm starting to get the invitations. My husband has a "B" job (one that takes care of all of the expenses we have, but not really the one he wants to do all of the time) while we're building our brand (& customer base). He really would prefer to be cutting stone & making turquoise cuffs all of the time instead of in his free time.

You're excused. It's time for me to get back to show prep... I'm working on a "Look" book.

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 22, 2015 at 10:22am

New shows for you, Dusty? Do tell ... 

Making the new work is always a pleasure. The point of this list is that if you do these things now you'll be able to enjoy that more. Excuse me while I go clean out the van and talk to my accountant.

Comment by Dusty R Shutt on January 21, 2015 at 1:16pm

Work on inventory as well as working on taxes. I've added several new shows so I'm beefing up my inventory so restocking will be easier.

Comment by Sandy Walker on January 21, 2015 at 11:20am

Great tips Connie! For those of us who aren't snowbirds, we have to tough it out and make our time count. I have designed and made three new show pieces and had them photographs for jury. Also working on my Etsy store and committing to a schedule of making new inventory for spring and summer shows.

Comment by Tom Borener on January 21, 2015 at 11:19am

During the summer show season I make and sell a lot of smaller ticket items (repetitive work).  This is the time I get to work on the stuff I want to do.  I get to work on all of the ideas that I have bottled up for the past 9 months,

Comment by Mel Hamrick on January 20, 2015 at 2:20am
I love all the tips Connie!
I also try to go through my studio and clean and reorganize. I try to make and design new things that will cut down the time on my processes and make things faster or at least more efficient.
I also try to redesign a little and add something new to my booth. It can be something for display or something to keep my stuff more organized for the check out process.
Mostly, I really enjoy designing and making new pieces for the upcoming shows.
Comment by Anne-Marie Hyatt on January 19, 2015 at 4:33pm

I've been reviewing inventory and looking at upcoming shows.  We are going to attempt to do some sci fi cons and I'm seriously nervous about inventory numbers.  I guess selling out is never a bad thing, but to me that means missed revenue!!  

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 19, 2015 at 12:35pm

The bookkeeping part is my least favorite ... at least these days it doesn't have to be done before we take off for the Florida shows AND in really early for college financial aid forms for my kids. Those were killers.

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