Art Fair Insiders

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

  1. Go over your inventory and make plans for your 2019 fairs. What do you need more of? What requests did you have from your customers that you might consider creating?
  2. Get your vehicle ready for the miles ahead. Take it to the garage for an inspection. Take everything out and clean it. Make sure your miscellaneous supplies are sufficient: clamps, weights, bungees. Rearrange the contents for most efficient loading, unloading.
  3. Analyze your 2018 sales to reevaluate your price points and plan work for the best ones. Then create great work that will fill any voids.
  4. Prepare images for jurying. Analyze and review your portfolio. Share your images with a friend or a person who you respect for feedback. Post them here also for an even large audience.
  5. Plan your 2019 show schedule. Do not apply to vanity shows that you aren't ready for, or that are so far away that your travel eats up all your profit. Do not overlook events that are close at hand where expenses will be low.
  6. New to the business? Do not overextend by buying expensive equipment or applying for events far away until you know you can make a profit. See if you can find a local farmers market or community event now to try your display and shake out the wrinkles for selling, find out what people like about what you are creating.
  7. Review all of your insurance. Really boring, but necessary. Investigate policies with ACT Insurance that specializes in covering artists at art fairs. How is your vehicle insurance. No vehicle/no show. If you don't have AAA insurance, buy it now. The cheapest most helpful auto help around. (They towed our van from the freeway to the Winter Park Art Festival once upon a time.)
  8. Review your business cards. Review any handouts you share at the shows. Does their design reflect your current work? Need cool logo? or other inspiring ideas? My favorite "go to" places are Fiverr.com for quick updates to logos (cheap!) and Logonerds.com for creative help. They designed the banner at the top of this site. I used Canva.com to design that cover for the Best Art Fairs ebook there on the side of this site. 
  9. Do your end of the year bookkeeping. Review and apply for state sales tax licenses for your upcoming festivals.
  10. As you might imagine: do not neglect updating your website. Click here for solidly helpful tips.

What are your ideas? 

Views: 317

Comment by Layl McDill on January 19, 2019 at 11:50am

Great list!  Since I just moved studios that part of my life is on my mind.  Organizing all your supplies so you can get to them easily is key to production when you need to crank things out between shows.

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on January 19, 2019 at 1:54pm

Good List. Mine also includes reserve condo/cabin at CO resort areas.  Ones within walking distance allow Jean to sleep in until show opens.  By chance if I don't get accepted, cancellation is only $50. It's worth it to us, but down side is the total outlay instead of just a deposit. This has changed in the last couple years. Working on #9 now. UGH! I got tired of Quickbooks changing everything every quarter so I set up my own Excel spreadsheets for accounting and am working out the bugs now.  I took two semesters of college level accounting at night school in the 1980's to be able to communicate better with accountant.

Comment by Nancy Reyna on January 20, 2019 at 11:53am

Thanks, Connie! So helpful for beginners. This is my second year, and checklists to keep all the pieces of the puzzle going are invaluable, there is so much to manage!

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 21, 2019 at 1:45pm

Thank you, Layl. I moved last year (11/17) and am still looking for things and I thought I was pretty organized.

Thanks fo #11, Richard. I'll remember that one: start reserving rooms for upcoming shows, especially the ones in expensive places. We had a couple of shows where we made the reservations when we checked after the show, specifically Coconut Grove, Charlevoix and Ann Arbor, to insure good places.

When we were doing shows we had an accountant who handled monthly accounting. Then when we settled down to just these websites (way less overhead) I started Quickbooks. Do not enjoy that, but only once a year send the details to the accountant. 

Good luck to you, Nancy. Let us know if we can help. So many experienced members who will be glad to help you out.

Comment by Judy Christian on January 24, 2019 at 1:28pm

Good list! This has been my usual day now for the past 4 weeks or so.

Also included in my list is moving sometime this spring, which of course means moving my studio.

I find this time of the year good for working on new ideas.

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