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Creative Guide to Success

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A Creative’s Guide to Selling Your Work at Art Pop-Ups, Craft and Vendor Shows

Whether you’re a potter, photographer or painter, having a creative hobby can benefit you in many ways. It can boost your confidence, connect you with new people, and even positively impact your performance at work. If you want to take your hobby to the next level, you might consider selling your handiwork on the street at art pop-ups, craft and vendor fairs. Doing this for the first time can be daunting, however, especially when considering costs and the overwhelming amount of useful online tools. Follow the below tips courtesy of Clay Stamps to keep your expenses and stress levels in check while preparing your sales starter kit.

Craft vs Vendor Shows

Craft fairs are more for meeting your customer. To see what their likes are. It is an eye opening experience in direct retail. Your work can be varied and art focused. Always have smaller items on hand that will sell to pay for your fees and expenses. You’ll be fortunate to sell an item at a higher price. With more experience the booth displays will be better setup and organized. Needing to meet the customers and encourage traffic into your booth. If you really want to pull in traffic to your booth, put up a wall not facing the outside traffic flow with an outside sign that says “ADULTS ONLY”.

Vendor shows are my preference. Do you want to do production level work? Are you setup to do production? It is possible to get contracts for hundreds of pieces at a time. The audience is business oriented and more inclined to order production level quantities. The artwork must be more mature and production oriented at vendor fairs. Opportunities to work with hotel, coffee shop and restaurant chains are out there. Bring smaller work for examples, lots of flyers that are post card sizes and don’t expect to get the fees covered. The objective is to meet people and develop relationships.

Secret to success

Productivity / Time = Success. Expectations need to be set accordingly. Is this a hobby or business. To be a financial success there are a lot of personal disciplines: Organization, Early to bed – Early to rise, Early bird gets the worm, Live generously, Help others be a success.

Read the biography of Auguste Rodin. Recognize the struggle with the perceptions of the world. Identify your pride. Get out of your own way. This will be a grind. Be productive. Your destiny is to know God and make him known.

Save when you purchase items for your display

When you rent a stand at a craft or vendor fair, you likely won’t get much beyond a literal space with a table to display your wares. Bring a large sheet to drape over the table that will serve as your base and grab whatever gear you need for a professional product display (such as display shelves for pottery or racks for jewelry). If you sell items people wear, like knitted hats, bring mirrors so that they can take a look at themselves.

Make your own marketing materials

A craft and vendor fair is an ideal opportunity to get the word out about your brand. At the least, you should have business cards and a large sign to hang up at your booth. Don’t stress about paying an expensive professional graphic designer and printer to get the job done. You can create your own designs easily by using templates on Vistaprint and have them delivered directly to your doorstep.

Document price lists and inventory

When customers ask how much a product costs, you don’t want to be left guessing. Draw up a list of all your products, detailing the different types and how many you have of each item. You don’t need to splurge on fancy accounting software: Just use Excel, which you probably already have on your computer. Not sure how to price your goods? Do your research and look at what similar creators charge for their products. There are also factors to take into account, such as how much time you spent on the creative process and how much the materials used cost. Finally, decide how to accept payments: Since credit cards mean added fees, you may prefer to opt for cash and Venmo.

Put your smartphone to use

If you accept payments via an app like Venmo, make sure your smartphone is fully charged and up to the task. If you’re due for a new smartphone, now is a perfect time to invest: Many new models will allow you to take pictures of your products without any hiccups, and some devices feature a cinematic display for crystal-clear viewing of your photos.

Draw people in with a smile

This is the most budget-friendly tip of them all when it comes to selling goods at craft or vendor shows: Smile! People are drawn to friendly faces and will be more likely to come over and take a look at your goods. Research has even proven that salespeople who smile earn more money. Putting a grin on your face just may boost your sales, and best of all, it won’t cost you a single cent.

Have a plan in place

While your craft is your passion project, it’s also important to treat it as a business venture. To that end, cover your professional bases before you attend your first show. You’ll need to draw up a business plan, which will come in handy if you want to apply for any of the art-related grants out there, and you should also select a business structure. On the latter, many artists like an LLC. It provides some tax advantages, and more importantly, it protects your personal assets if your business should ever be sued. In order to establish your business in Missouri, for example, you’ll need to meet the requirements put in place by the state, so consider using an online service to make this easier and more affordable.

Daily Discipline

Follow the above steps and you will be able to participate in a craft or vendor fair without breaking the bank. This means that you will have even more money left over to reinvest in your creativity, for instance buying supplies you need to create your art. With this budget-friendly approach, you will be able to afford and enjoy your business / hobby for many years to come.

Photo Credit: LeRoy Grubbs