Congratulations! You’ve decided to do your first art show! After making your wonderful creations and sharing them with friends and family, it can be a scary decision to sell them in an art fair. But, I’ve got 5 tips for your first art show to make it stress free and fun.
I’ve been doing art shows for the last 2 years and with each one I’ve learned something new. Ways to streamline my set up, what I should take to every show, and what my customer wants to see.
- Research – Make sure you sign up for the right show for you. Shows can be expensive with jury and booth fees, so you want to find ones that are reasonably priced as you’re starting. I began during the holiday season and craft shows at churches or recreation centers were abundant. I found a great support system with these shows because many of the other merchants were new to shows also. As you gain more experience and confidence, you can then apply to bigger shows that require larger fees and bigger displays.
- Display – Go online and look at popular display set ups for your type of items. I learned to use “double-duty” displays, such as a crate or vintage suitcase to carry items in, but then use that same crate or suitcase on my table to create height and display items. I would definitely invest in a sturdy, foldable 6’ or 8’ table, and a nice black table cloth to give a clean and upgraded look to your display. Creating a vintage display is very popular right now and can be a very economical display. Look around your house for items to use, visit thrift stores or garage sales. I did also invest in 2 Grid racks to display my canvases. Finally, do a mock set up of your display in your home before the show. This will give you practice and time to make any changes if needed.
- Bring Essentials – I have a perfect size picnic basket (about the size of a small suitcase) that I use to carry some essentials; small stapler, invoice book, pens, extra price tags, business cards, calculator, tape, screw driver, small hammer, hand sanitizer, and wipes. I also bring bottled water and some snacks to keep me going throughout the day. If you can, bring a helper. Having someone there to help with customers, check outs and bathroom breaks is a huge help. Don’t forget your business cards too! They may not buy from you now, but if they have a card they can contact you when they are ready.
- Dolly or hand truck – For my very first show I did not have a dolly and my daughter and I had to carry all of our displays and boxes to our space. I didn’t let that happen again! I purchased a small hand truck that could easily hold my fold up table and boxes. The handle on it also folds down so it makes for easy storage in the car. This will really save your back!
- Payment Options – Make sure you have plenty of change available. You really don’t want to be asking your neighbor vendors for change continuously. Accepting credit cards is so easy now if you have a smart phone (Square, PayPal, Intuit, even Etsy). I can’t tell you how many sales I’ve saved because the customer didn’t have any cash, but was so happy to learn that I accepted credit cards. The nominal fee charged by the credit card processing company is well worth the number of sales you will get.
Bonus tip: Mailing List – Start collecting email addresses for your newsletter as soon as possible. There are email providers now that make it so easy to put a newsletter together (Powered by MailChimp , constant contact, Aweber) and start connecting with your prospective customers. Always leave room at the corner of your table for a mailing list signup page and a little bowl of candy. Who can resist candy? This is a great way to draw people to your mailing list, without having to continuously ask people to sign up.Craft show season is here, are you wanting to do your first show? Check out these 5 tips to get you started. Click To Tweet
I do have a really concise Pinterest board called Taking Care Of Business, and it has numerous resources for you about starting and maintaining a small business, also a board for booth displays. But, keep an eye out right here for more Art Business Resources!
Thanks so much for visiting with me today!