Art Fair Insiders

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

I was at a reunion last weekend.  44 years since I was an exchange student with 19 other people.  I was wearing some of my jewelry as I always do, and had listed my "profession" as a jewelry artisan in the update material.  Several people admired my work, and a couple of people want to purchase things.  I felt sort of awkward.  Of course I'll sell to them, it is how I make my money these days, but still felt funny.  Anyone else relate to this?  I'm proud of my work, but I wonder if this is a mercy purchase, and if it is, why should I care anyway????

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Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on July 13, 2011 at 10:32pm

Be thankful they like your work well enough to spend their money on it. Unless they are very wealthy my guess is that it's not a mercy purchase, the average consumer is watching their money closely these days.  I always wear either my jewelry or my husband's jewelry and I've literally sold the earrings off my ears to my dental hygentist, was asked to bring a selection of earrings / pendants to my full time job one day when some friends were traveling on business and knew I'd be in the office ($300 later we all walked away happy) and have had yet other requests around the holidays to bring in a few items for people to give as gifts.  Be grateful that you can sell without paying a booth fee, standing outside in the rain or heat and keep marketing your own items by wearing them whenever you're out in public!!


Comment by Jeanne Steck on July 14, 2011 at 7:53am

Kathleen, you definitely should feel proud that they liked your jewelry enough to inquire. I began selling because my friends at work suggested it.  Now they ask when I'm going to set up my display. I also brought in a selection for my physical therapist at Christmas time.

I have to admit it was a bit awkward at my cousin's anniversary party. I had come straight from a church fair so my car was loaded. Of course I was wearing one of my necklaces and my cousin asked to see more. I made more $ at the party than I did at the fair. 

Comment by Anita Feng on July 14, 2011 at 10:41am
I can relate to this!  My way to deal with it is to sell to friends at half price.  My sculptures can be a little expensive, so this is a way to make some money and also have the flavor of a gift to friends...
Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on July 14, 2011 at 12:48pm

Thanks, Ruth, Jeanne and Anita.  I have sold to friends before, but friends that I know now.  My reunion friends are people I knew a long time ago.  I also usually give at least a 10% discount considering that I'm not paying booth rental!!!  But for some reason, I just felt more uncomfortable about it.  You all have reassured me and I appreciate it.

Comment by Crystal Johnson-Overhuel on July 15, 2011 at 10:05am
Always be proud of what you do...! If they are admiring it, they will buy it! You are blessed with a talent, and are doing what you love!!! Not many folks can say this!!
Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on July 15, 2011 at 12:32pm
Thanks, Crystal :).
Comment by Annette Piper on July 16, 2011 at 3:19am
Congratulations on the interest and sales Kathleen!   I've got over that selling to friends problem and happily sell to them - if you want to give a small discount (say 10%) you can, but remember, that's a discount for life as they'll always expect it in the future.    If they like your work and make noises about purchasing it then they're prepared to pay for it :)
Comment by Christine Heisler on July 16, 2011 at 12:04pm

From my experience, people seem to love to buy things from their talented friends.  Then when they get a compliment, they can brag for you.  So it's all a win-win situation. Don't be shy about it!

I was setting up my tent in the driveway one day for a practice run on a new booth set-up, and one of my neighbors zoomed over to see if I had any of my work out for display.  She went home with a beautiful piece, and I didn't have to lug it to a show.  It doesn't get much better or easier than that.


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