So I had a booth at a Art and Crafts show this past weekend

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Rob Skeoch, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I thought I would share my adventure with my fellow apugers.
    This past weekend I did my first art and crafts show to try and sell a few photos. It was a two day event in Burlington, Ontario. The weather was perfect and the show was well attended.

    I was selling prints in two sizes... 8x10 black and white prints matted to 16x20 for $100 and 16x20 black and white prints matted and framed with a nice black wood frame for $300.

    All the prints were black and white landscapes, shot on an 8x10 camera on film, printed by me on Ilford FB Galerie. A rather purist approach for this show.

    The first day I sold one 16x20 and one 8x10.

    The second day I sold three 8x10's.

    I had a great deal of interest and gave out many cards but it was hard to convert the interest into hard sales.

    Open to comments and suggestions.

    -Rob Skeoch
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    That's great news.

    Did the sales cover your expenses?
     
  3. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I'm not sure .... the booth cost was $250. Plus I had printed and matted about 30 prints to take to the show.... of course I still have these to sell at the art fair next month.
     
  4. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I would say that seems pretty successful - well done. On reading this, I thought "he's probably covered his costs". This is something I've never done myself, but I have seen a market in Sydney a few times where there are about three or four different photographers, most of whose work is very nice, and they seem to turn over quite a few prints each week. No doubt your business will improve a little each time.
     
  5. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Rob,

    Art Shows and Art and Craft Shows are a tough business. I have been doing them for about 10 years as my main source of income. Sales can be very erratic. I sell color Nature, Landscape, and Wildlife. Over time, I have increased the image sizes till now I sell most of my work in the image sizes of 9" x 14" to 24" x 30" (most work now in the larger sizes). My work is digitally printed off a Chromira machine. Additionally, I have changed from metal to custom made wood frames and most of my work sells in framed form.

    Good luck. If I can give any pointers send me a PM.

    Rich
     
  6. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    I'd say that's an excellent result Rob,

    it's very hard to tap into selling any kind of artwork

    lots of people say "I love black and white", or "I love your work", but they won't buy

    well done, try again
     
  7. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    You're off to a good start. I've exhibited at just one arts & crafts show a year for about 20 years, and business has steadily improved. You should have much more sophisticated and affluent customers than in my town of 8,000 in rural Missouri. That show attracts only between 5000 and 10,000 over two days. Booth space is $60. In this market I sell traditional 11x14 B&W prints archivally mounted and matted for $20, and framed for $40. To keep costs down I do all all mounting, matting, and framing. Around here buyers are neither rich nor sophisticated. Repeat customers are frequent. As people become more familiar with your work, you should have repeat buyers and more sales in other venues. From your sales and from talking to viewers you'll gain knowledge about what sells best. In addition to cards, consider making up a brochure with information and examples of your work, and a bio. Desktop publishing is great for this.
     
  8. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Good job Rob! You should be happy for your first outing. You'll be buying "Sunshine Artist" and hitting the road in no time! As Jim said, repeaters and small item sales will help a lot. I know people that continue to make a very nice living doing the show circuit.

    Bill
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hey, that's awesome!

    After doing this, a show in the local museum or library doesn't seem so daunting does it?

    Murray
     
  10. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    Rob,

    From a customer point of view I think a variety in sizes is probably helpful to generate sales. Since you can't go any smaller than the 8x10 contact prints, you are limited there. But, I think you might be able to generate more interest if you had an example 8x10 negative displayed perhaps along with the camera. That would probably make a fair amount of potential customers very curious, give a sense of something well out of the ordinary and aligned to their idea of the great popular iconic landscape photographers like Ansel Adams who use such large cameras.

    Frame a couple of those matted 8x10s as well. That way they could have the option of a ready-to-hang print at a lower price than the 16x20s. The convenience factor might kick in there and spur further sales. I know if I were to buy a print I generally wouldn't want to frame it myself and I'd realize a custom frame job would cost extra which might make me think twice about a purchase.

    Joe
     
  11. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    I'm impressed. In my experience most people attending arts and crafts fairs are there for a bargain or to find something they can copy and make themselves. I think it's geat you sold some prints. Your work must be exceptional and compelling.
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    It's a lot of work just showing your work, at least you sold some, meaning that people are interested. Good going, it's better to sell a few than just having them in boxes at home. Only you can say if it was worth while. I think so.

    Curt
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Rob, I'm glad that it worked well for you. I wish you even greater success in the future.
     
  14. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Good advice! People appreciate LF photography more when they see the equipment and get an idea of how you work for those negatives. Most have never seen an image on a ground glass.

    I've learned to offer both black and silver frames. The local arts & crafts show provides the opportunity to frame or unframe photos, or to swap frames. I don't have to have a huge stock of framed photos. Also, some people seem to enjoy watching craftsmen at work.
     
  15. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Congrats Rob!
    I busted my first show in Boulder, Co.
    Try and think in terms of "multiples of expenses," 2 times, 3 times, 4 times and so on. Then average it out between multiple shows. If one show sucks, maybe the next will be better.
    How were the wall prints displayed? Do you have solid panels, or mess fabric? Enough light from the top?
    Take credit cards? Give out good looking business cards?
    I know it will be more work, but I would offer at least 3 sizes. Add 11x14's, that way the customer has clearly defined price breaks. I have everything that in on the walls in the bin.
    You did $700!!! Great start!
    Good luck, and maybe someday I'll do a show up there!
     
  16. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    colour will outsell B&W
     
  17. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Perhaps, but at the same price level?
     
  18. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    From what I have learned talking to photographers at the 3 main art fairs in Omaha each year you did pretty good for the first time out. Pretty much all the other posts cover what I learned from them. But they seemed especially keen on offering 2 or three sizes and price points and the most successful either sold prints in frames or had framing samples and offered to ship a framed print to the buyer later for the extra charge.

    They all also accepted credit and debit cards for payment and said they rarely made a sale for cash with that option available to customers. Much easier for the potential customer to pull the trigger on $300-$600 on plastic then pulling cash out of the wallet.
     
  19. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    Thanks everyone for the tips... I have another show in July to try.
    I did take MC/visa and 4 of the sales were put on plastic.
    I had my wisner 8x10 at the front of the booth and had a 8x10 neg there as well.... I must have explained more than a 100 times how the camera worked, that it's not old, that I still use it.
    I had a dark cloth with me and let people look through the camera, especially if their other half was looking at prints or they had kids who looked bored.
    Everyone who looked through the camera said it was cool... and when I said to people that I still use the camera some of them had pure shock on their face.
    I was surprised that so few had ever heard of an 8x10 before and that people were surprised I still shot film in this digital age.
    To me it doesn't seem that long ago that we were all shooting film.
    As far as colour vs b&w goes, I've heard colour sells better. Oh well, I'm not really interested in shooting just to sell prints, or to print on RC paper, or to shoot digital. I'd rather sell fewer, explain about 8x10 more and offer something that I think is nice. Besides I was the only one at the show offering only b&w. If I shot colour I'd be just another photographer in the mix.
    -Rob
     
  20. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    If I shot colour I'd be just another photographer in the mix.
    An insult like that, after all the free advice I gave? :tongue:
    B&W does very well in Colorado, and good thing we're not all selling commercial prints!
    Good luck.
     
  21. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    You're right Dave..... sorry.
    Of course at the show I was at all the other photographers were just showing colour.
    -Rob
     
  22. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Rob,

    From my experience, regardless of whether you are shooting B&W or color at an Art Show everyones' work looks a bit different because we all see the world differently. I participate in shows where other landscape photographers have images from the same location and even the same subject. Regardless, our images look different which is in part due to the composition, approach, the way that the work is finished, and framed, etc.

    Rich