Thursday, November 01, 2007

(look at all my pretty prints . . . they look like a real artist did them)

Hey gang – I’m going to be at the Richmond Christmas Craftsmen Classic for the next three days, so don’t expect me to be posting much. At least after that I go into winter break and I should have a bit more time off. (Ha)(Nay, double Ha!)

I have to say that I love this show. The promoter is awesome and does more for their booth fee than any show I’ve ever been to. I hear the show advertised non-stop on the radio, see billboards for it all through town as I drive to it (and this is Richmond - billboards ain’t no small thing), get donuts and coffee in the morning, have porters to help load and unload my booth, and have booth-sitters in case I have to run to the bathroom. There’s a reason Sunshine Artist voted them #6 – oh yeah, and the fact that 35,000 customers come through each year.

That said, here’s three random suggestions for art shows:

1) Sell yourself. Your art may be beautiful and your booth wonderfully set up, but when it comes down to it, your attitude will affect the majority of your sales – or your non-sales. I once read somewhere that you should wear make-up to shows. I scratched my head over it and thought “uh . . . “ But having been to shows, I get it. No one wants to buy something from a grumpy old hag with hair sticking up and a shoulder-slump that says “my spouse isn’t supportive and I don’t believe in myself.” You don’t have to be an A+ hottie to sell art (though I am)(kidding), but you should be neat, clean, and smiling. Your attitude should be positive - nay, effusive. You should inspire. Sell yourself.

2) Help your fellow artist/ artisan/ craftsman/ person inundated with too much imagination to be functional in a desk job. If a fellow vendor needs help moving something, offer. Don’t wait to be asked. Be known as the helpful artist and it will come back to you tenfold. Look for opportunities to make someone’s life easier – and remember those who do the same for you.

3) Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Which direction are they walking from? What will they see first? What will they love the most? Be objective. Be creative. What would you like to see in an artist’s booth? Where would you like the prices to be? When people come to look, treat them as you’d like to be treated, not like a sulky teen or a scary-clingy stalker.

Actually, just take out the art related comments in those suggestions and apply them to life in general.

Any more suggestions for selling and attitude? Put ‘em in the comments and I’ll pull the good ones out for a recap on the last day of the show when I come back. Bye, y’all! Love all of you! (well, except the scary-clingy stalkers).


Rita said...

Awesome post Maggie! I especially like #2 and it is so true! Do unto others...
In dealing with clients (both existing and potential) I would add that it always helps to engage them in talking about themselves. Ask questions when they're looking at your art like "Are you a horse lover?", "Have you been to..." (if they're looking at a landscape), "Don't you think cats are just a riot? Are you owned by any cats yourself?" etc. Whatever questions are relevent to your subject matter.
People love talking about themselves and are very comfortable doing so. It opens them up to you and will often prompt them to ask questions about yourself and your art. People love buying stuff from folks they have something in common with or feel connected to on some level and you're more likely to make a connection with them in talking about subject matter rather than the lighting or values or colour selection or the "rule of thirds", etc.
This is something that's always worked for me anyway...

Just my two cents!;)

jill said...

something important for me as a buyer is that i might not be able to buy this time, but i'll take a card and remember who i like and look them up when i have time and money. just because someone doesn't shell out the cash now doesn't mean they'll never shell it out. in fact, i would rather wait and hire a commission done than to settle for something less than what i truly wanted!

Quilt Knit said...

Wonderful display! Done by the Brother? Hope you sell everything. Oh! Thought you would find this funny. A knitter who blogs bunches as you do. Well, she purchased this special hand dyed yarn to make Herself some NEW socks. Guess What? They do not match. No clones in the painted yarn world. The colors difference a great.

Let us know about the sell. Do you ever choose an artwork and put it on Business Cards?


Casey Klahn said...

Very attractive art, Maggie. You should do great.

Your advice makes you sound like the kind of booth neighbor that anyone would value. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Maggie! Thanks for sharing with us! *HUGS*

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Maggie, I'm back, you're gone. :) I would mention something I think you talked about before. If a customer is looking for something I don't paint, I direct him to an artist that does paint it. (Of course you paint everything so not necessary, right?) I think they remember that I was nice and may recommend me to a friend that does like pastels or whatever. It worked at our little gallery so would work at a show, too.

Eileen Hale said...

Hey, Maggie! Two weeks after your post, this is one of yours that I wanted to belatedly share my appreciation for. I enjoyed and valued your suggestions, and the comments in response have some lovely nuggets in them, too. I especially liked your #1, wear makeup (etc.). That's something for me to keep in mind in general. I also really like Rita's note, and would add that when I talk to people about themselves, their interests, their animals, etc. (or my own animals), it relaxes ME, too. I enjoy the conversation, and don't feel pressured to produce a sale; when a sale does result, I enjoy it much more, and feel like it gives me value beyond just money coming in.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

I need to do a recap on this, don't I!? I forgot!