So you’re thinking about doing an art show? Awesome! I say go for it, but be sure to think things through and be ready to keep adapting. Here’s three pieces of advice i’d share with anyone even thinking about doing art show:
1. Do it now.
Don’t wait until you're “ready” because you never will be. Do your research. Plan as wisely as you can. Read articles and posts from others you can learn from. I highly suggest you check out The Ultimate Guide to Profitable Art Shows by Owen Garratt. I have purchased this course myself and there's a wealth of info) But at a certain point, you have to jump. You don't need a lot of product. As a matter of fact, from my experience the simpler you keep things the clearer it is for your potential customers. And you’ll spend less time trying to reign things back in after the fact. Expect that you will learn most by doing. Experience is your best teacher.
2. Do it often.
It's pretty much a given that you will need to experiment to see what works best for you - what shows, what time of the year, what sells… And there are a lot of variables. Bad weather? You might get low attendance. Did the show promoter do something to anger people in their planning (or lack thereof)? People might not be in a buying mood. Is the show around a holiday? You might clean up with people looking for gifts. My point is - do as many shows as you can in as close of a time span as you can manage, so that you’re learning is accelerated. Fail often and fail forward, as they say.
3. Be prepared to sacrifice.
You need to be committed not only to your craft, but also the business of your craft, and treat it like such. Expect to sacrifice time, money, and energy. It’s not a get rich quick game. You will need money upfront to invest in your art and product (as well as display racks, signage, etc). Investigate your costs so your pricing is right. Hopefully in all of this sacrifice, it pays off by you selling your art and products, making connections and being presented with more opportunities. It all comes down to relationship - connecting with people who have an interest in your art.
Even after my 6th event and 2 years into this, i’m getting ready to try a new systems and change up my marketing again. I keep a note pad with me at every show and con I vendor at so I can make notes of what I need to change or do more of.
It’s not or the faint of heart, but selling your art at shows can be rewarding. You get to talk with people who appreciate your art. You get to meet other artists and vendors and learn from them. Although most people enjoy shopping online these days, there is no substitute to in person opportunities. It's not "either/or" but "and/both".
What upcoming art show can you sign up for today? Take a step forward!