Art Fair Insiders

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

Do It Differently - A Challenge to Artists

Strong words of wisdom from one of my favorite marketing gurus, Andy Sernovitz:

1.  If it isn't remarkable, it isn't worth it. If you're making something, make sure it's wonderful, outrageous, purple, strange, smelly, delicious, or meaningful. Don't stop until it's different.

Fans of Jeppson's Malort, a Swedish-style schnapps brewed in Chicago, know they're a rare bunch. As Jeppson proudly proclaims: "Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate. During the lifetime of our founder, Carl Jeppson was apt to say, 'My Malort is produced for that unique group of drinkers who disdain light flavor or neutral spirits.'" They don't just acknowledge the strong taste of their liquor, they're proud of it -- they even have Flickr groups and online videos dedicated to the unique face first-timers make when sampling the stuff. Most people don't like it, but those who do are intensely loyal and share their love for it with friends.

The lesson: Don't try to make something for everyone, make something for someone.

Here's a video that tells the story even better:

2.  Most restaurant menus have at least a dozen more items listed than they should. At celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's new DG Burger, there's just one burger on the menu: his Black Angus burger topped with cabbage, tomato, red onion, and a secret sauce. It's probably tempting to add other burgers -- ones with different sauces, buns, and toppings -- but Charlie knows this is his masterpiece, and he doesn't want to distract customers with burgers that aren't as good.

The lesson: Great focus makes a great brand. Selling things that you can't make amazing only get in the way of the stuff you're truly great at.

Learn more: Nation's Restaurant News


These inspirational ideas are from Andy's Word of Mouth Marketing Blog. Subscribe here.

Views: 58

Comment by Dann Jackson on February 16, 2011 at 10:33am
Here's one that I've always tried to follow. "Find out what everyone else is doing....and then, don't do that."
Comment by Connie Mettler on February 16, 2011 at 6:27pm
That's a good one, Dann, and so apparent when I was jurying an art fair a few weeks ago...
Comment by Michelle Sholund on February 17, 2011 at 11:01am
I believe the two lessons 100%!  I knew this when I chose the medium I got involved in.  Granted I first started doing potpourri, but have graduated to candle making with a new type of wax on the market and really making it my own from there.  I have had business owners as well as plain 'ol customers at art fairs just amazed at how different these are to the other candles on the market - often wondering how mine are different from Yankee Candles.  When I decided to include candles with the other items I was doubting myself - so much competition, so many other candle companies....  But I had an epiphany, candles on the market are just candles - not an experience.  (Art, to me, is an experience - like with some photography a snapshot in time).   There isn't anything special when there is a simple jelly jar candle with a simple Avery label that states, Strawberry.  In already coming up with names for candles named after locations in my state, I realized no one is doing anything to sell a candle experience like capturing the aroma of a place or popular travel destination.  I have had many conversations with one person in particular who owns a business that is a destination location - something worth driving to and shopping at because there is nothing else like it.  So I put the the two thoughts together and came up with Destination Scentsations as the name for my candle line.  Where not only am I selling a high quality burning and stunning looking candle, but the aromas of each candle are inspired by popular travel destinations including many in my home state which I do a lot of shows.  Long story short - I am doing something way different that is way different from the competition and remarkable.  Since I started making candles I have actually been able to turn a profit and part of that is due to having a wholesale client that is a repeat buyer.   Something I have never thought about getting into when my primary focus was just doing art shows.  Call me a testimonial...


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