Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
A couple of weeks ago I hosted a trunk sale in my home. I had mentioned it here on AFI and Connie mentioned blogging about it so here I am. Specifically Connie had suggested blogging trunk sale vs. a craft show. This is my first blog here so try to be forgiving if I don't pull it off well.
I have been doing my craft, making travertine tile coasters, trivets and plaques for 3 years this month. I actually got into this coaster business somewhat accidentally. I had taken a class to learn how to make coasters in December 2012 and ended up with 2 sets to give as gifts. When delivering a set to my nail technician, one of her other clients asked whether I sell the coasters. Up to that point, just a week or so after the class, it was nothing more than a new hobby and skill set. But I said yes and the rest, they say, is history. BTW are live in Houma, LA, about an hour out of New Orleans.
In the spring of 2013 I did some very small shows. They were mostly local shows. My first show was at a church. It was a place to get my feet wet and test the waters. I had NO idea what to expect. Our tent was one we had already at our home. We pieced together the rest of it---tables, table covers, backdrop, and so on---mostly using what we had already. Surprisingly we enjoyed it and made a little money! I say "we" because my husband and daughter make up my support team.
Dh works for food and the freedom to walk around and chat up the other artists and crafters once we are set up. At least until time to tear down. DD works is smart and works on commission.
We have pretty much gotten a system down for setting up from a tarp covered by turf (outdoor shows) to the tent, pipe and drape system, table coverings, product placement in the booth, and so on. We pretty much have our duties divided up on how many of us are needed for the particular task, the degree of difficulty, and how many of us are available for set up ... dh and me, or all three of us.
We have come a long way in better understanding what shows to pick for us and our products. We have progressed to bigger shows in our area. We are limited in how far we can travel due to owning a brick and mortar store in our town. We have traveled up to about 2 hours one way for a show. We have not done any of the nationally known shows that are presented and discussed here. We have applied to a couple of more regionally or nationally known but have yet to make the first cut.
The things I have mentioned are to help anyone reading this to better understand where we started and where we are now.
The trunk show I did this year was actually my 2nd annual trunk show. It is a one girl show, just me. My trunk sales runs the Saturday of Black Friday weekend through the following Tuesday. I set up in our home and it has run for a few hours each day. Once it is set up it stays set up till it's over. I have products in the living/dining room, den, and last year I had some set up in the enclosed patio.
I generally do not make up extra product for this event. The only time I do is if some of my best sellers are sold out. This event is meant to help move out product left over from the year. I had one table with mark downs. The rest was regular prices for craft shows. Besides my travertine coasters, trivets, and plaques I had some home décor that I had painted. This year was the first time I have offered the home décor.
I have our home decorated for Christmas. This means that we get our tree on Thanksgiving day and get it and our home decorated by Friday evening. I also have to get product set up as well. It makes for a packed couple of days. As far as time goes I am considering getting our tree on Wednesday if I continue to do this. It will allow me a little breathing room as far as decorating.
Hours for the Trunk Sale
Monday & Tuesday, 5:00-8:00
On Sunday I work the hours around the New Orleans Saints because so many people watch the game. This year they played at noon local time so that is why I set the hours later. I had it in the evening on Monday and Tuesday to allow people to come by straight from work.
I usually serve light refreshments. It is usually something that our family would eat in case it is not eaten up by the customers.
Advertisement has usually been email and Facebook announcements, and word of mouth. Since I am doing this in my home I am not to the point yet of just inviting total strangers. Now if a friend I've invited brings a friend of hers that I don't know that is okay.
This year I added an incentive to my invitations. I told invitees that if they brought a friend they would get a free gift valued at $5.00. It cost me about $1.00-$1,50 in materials to make it. It is junior legal pad that I cover with double sided heavy card stock that is printed on both sides. I can get the junior legal pads in bundles and the same for the cardstock from the scrapbooking dept. at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If invitees RSVP for a certain day and attend on that day they were offered a 10% discount.
Though I did allow RSVP's that garnered a discount for the customers, it was really set up as a come and go thing. No appointment or RSVP required.
I did a little better last year than this year as far a $$. The economy is harder hit this year more than last. I believe that had something to do with it. I made as much last year as I do in some shows but did not have to pay a booth fee, hotel, or meals out! This year was not as good but still made $$ so I was happy.
I find it easier to set up because I don't have to travel. I also don't have to tear down while tired. I can save tearing down till Wednesday morning. Due to having a retail store that we cannot leave at this time of year, it gives me the opportunity to have something similar to a show without the travel by myself.
In all honesty the shopping was sporadic, a few here or there. I am considering condensing it down to one day. I am thinking about having it on Saturday only next year like from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Possibly I might have it on Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM. I am also thinking that next year I may have it the first weekend of December. It would allow them to get paid on December 1st, and for payroll on Friday. I am thinking that by condensing it down to one day that it gives the impression of scarcity ... that they don't have the option to shop another day. I feel like I could help me concentrate better on a better experience.
A friend of mine is having one on December 19. She is a canvas artist. I am probably going to attend and try to support her. I also want to see if I can learn anything for next year's trunk sale.
If any of this is not clear or you have questions about things I tried or did, please feel free to ask or make comments.