Part Two: Tips for Not Just Surviving but Succeeding at Art Shows

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Part Two: Tips for Not Just Surviving but Succeeding at Art Shows Welcome back to part two of our discussion on tip for succeeding as a merchant at an art show.

Welcome back to part two of our discussion on tip for succeeding as a merchant at an art show. Read part one of our tips here.

  1. Stay positive, smile, and try to retain a sense of humor. This can be especially difficult when dealing with those dreaded remarks: “Did ya make this?”; “You must have a really good camera”; “Why is it so expensive?”; et cetera. Bring a high stool so you can sit from time to time, eat before the show, and stave off any afternoon “hangry” feelings by staying hydrated and fueled (but try not to eat in your booth).
  2. Accept credit cards. Square seems to be the most popular, but Quickbooks’ Point of Sale and PayPal’s Here are two other options. You may be able to sustain your business on cash, but you’re certainly taking a risk with checks and may be losing out on some big purchases if you can’t accept a debit or credit card. It’s not only about customer convenience but also about a whole host of tools for you. You can e-mail receipts complete with your company logo, track sales, and rest assured with on-site approvals. The cost upfront is often minimal because many devices and apps are free in return for the merchant fees.
  3. A good canopy is key. O.K., O.K., we are a little partial here, but hear us out: This isn’t all about getting you into a SHOWOFF Canopy. Many may turn to the offerings at the big-box retailers, but professionals want to look at the sturdier brands. Renting may seem appealing but can be nearly expensive as buying over multiple weekends. From there, you will need walls to hang your works. The carpet-covered walls may be very professional, but canvas and Velcro walls roll up for easy transportation.
  4. Customers like a deal. Ask Kohl’s, or Publix (a southeastern supermarket chain), or eBay, Amazon, or Overstock. People love to at least believe they are getting a discounted price. You don’t have to be deceptive by adding a markup just to offer a new, lower price. You can also advertise discounts on multiple purchases or be ready to verbally offer a certain percentage off when you see a customer on the fence.
  5. Have a clear, easily readable price on all your items. This goes hand in hand with the tip above. Don’t lose a sale because your customer is too shy or thinks you’re too busy.
  6. Package like a pro. A professional presentation after the sale will go a long way as the customer continues to shop. Large clear plastic bags are a great way to obtain free advertisement of your work around the rest of the show.
a well laid-out displayWell-laid out display? Check. Credit card sign? Check. Prices? Check. Plenty of foot traffic? Check.

Let us know if you agree or disagree with our tips or have some tips of your own in the comments below.

References and Further Readings:

How to Succeed at Art Shows and Festivals
Items Necessary at a show
How does a beginner get started? much stuff is too much stuff?
All a Newbie Needs to Know...And More.
Selling your art at art shows
A Newbie's Guide to Art Festival Booths (pdf)
Better Quality Display Canopy Comparisons
Where do you keep your cash & checks at the art fairs?
18 tips for a successful art show

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