Art Fair Insiders

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

Part two--how I spent my June--Columbus Art Festival

This is a long running show in downtown, it has exhibitors set up on both bridges and along the streets leading to them. Additionlly, there are booths on the other side of the bridge.
It is a big show with nearly 300 exhibitors.
It is a long walk to get around to all booths, which discourages be backs unless they are in great shape.
I sell photos in the $30-$500 range. I always make money at this show. I have done this show since 1992.
Unfortunately for artists, the present regime is making this more an event(think, lots of drinking) than an art show.
Lowend sales rule here. You have big crowds but only a small percentage buy any art.
That said, this always a $5K or higher show for me, and others.
This is a three day show with setup on Thursday. The hours are long, til 9:30 pm, yes you do have electricity. Bring fans, for your customers and yourself, you are going to need them.
Pretty much everybody has rear storage space. Your sides can be very tight with your neighbor unless you buy a corner.
Columbus is a vibrant town with lots of young people. Unfortunately, not a lot of them have much disposable income. The older folks have money, but they are tight with it.
Having a loyal following helps a lot. I have such a following.
A lot of these same people you will see down in Naples and Bonita in the winter.
You can expect a lot of them to want to haggle about price.
Years ago that never happened here, but the"Naplesization" of the winter patrons has spread north.
As you well know, they all want a break on price down there. It is a shame, but it is the condition, and it will only worsen with time.
One of my favorite retorts to a haggler who I thinks is being a little pushy is to say, "would you be happier if I raise the price $50 and give you 30% off?"
That always gets them.
Do not get me wrong. I do not mind haggling a little, it is a market place and I want as many people as possible to go home with my art. You build in a suitable profit margin and everybody goes home happy.
That said, I always enjoy Columbus and will continue to do it.
It is a great venue for us to sell our art, I just wish it would not be so "Event-orientated".
Next, I will tell you about my last show in June--Des Moines-- the best three day show I have ever done in the last 18 years.
Aloha, Nels

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Comment by Cindy Welch on July 4, 2017 at 10:01am

Nels, great review as always.  Can't wait for the next installment.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on July 3, 2017 at 9:41am

Thanks, Nels, I like your sales strategies and your reviews...looking forward to Des Moines.

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