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Chris Campbell

What tips about selling pottery at craft / pottery shows can you share? | Oct. 10, 2011

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Many potters on this forum will be selling their work for the first time at Craft/Pottery Shows during this upcoming Holiday Season. It's a good time for the seasoned veterans to share a tip or two? Even if you have only a show or two behind you, there are things you have learned that could save a newcomer a bit of grief.

 

So, let's share some info ....

 

What tips about selling pottery at craft/pottery shows can you share?

 

As ever, click on the Add Reply key OUTSIDE of the previous message ... (At the top and bottom of the page) ... to add your tip.

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For a good looking booth, plan a style or theme for your work and repeat it on various items, so that the booth doesn't look like a used pottery sale, but a well designed layout of a certain look. Select a small group of glazes that look well together, and use them singly or in combo on pieces to help the unified look.

Do multiples of things that are not labor intensive but have a good look to them. I always pay my booth fees with the sales of these smaller things.

Most gift shoppers are looking for a small to medium nice pieces for under $20 at the typical crafts fair.

I was at a regional show last weekend and noticed that even nationally known potters had several small things with 'their' look to them that were priced under $20 even tho they had many pieces in the $$$$hundreds.

 

Make sure to take a tool box with things like duct tape, screw drivers, pliers, twine, zip ties, thumb tacks, WEDGES, to level the floor, handi wipes, paper towels, some zip lok bags, lots of BUSINESS CARDS, sand paper for the rough bottoms you missed, tylenol, breath mints,

I never know what I'm going to want from this box, but it's always something I find I can't go on with out.

Carolyn Dorr likes this

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I think good salesmanship is a craft, just like working with clay. There are many different techniques, and different techniques work for different people. But I have two pieces of advice that apply to everyone:

 

1. Don't be passive. You don't have to pounce upon or pressure customers like a used car salesman. But you should be present and engaging, the initiator of interactions. It's like being the host or hostess of a party. Make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

 

2. Put your price tags where a customers can easily find them. Nothing more annoying than having to ask for a price.

 

Mea

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Many potters on this forum will be selling their work for the first time at Craft/Pottery Shows during this upcoming Holiday Season. It's a good time for the seasoned veterans to share a tip or two? Even if you have only a show or two behind you, there are things you have learned that could save a newcomer a bit of grief.

 

So, let's share some info ....

 

What tips about selling pottery at craft/pottery shows can you share?

 

As ever, click on the Add Reply key OUTSIDE of the previous message ... (At the top and bottom of the page) ... to add your tip.

 

 

Some things I did-Set up a tool box with items for repair/assembly of the display-this included some white cloth tape, some duct tape, pliers, wire, screws and nuts and bolts, screwdrivers, crescent wrench. I also carried a battery powered dremel for missed pot problems.

 

Things I wish I had done: Customer name and address book, photos of every display set up, Distinctive booth/display sign.

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Things to leave at home ....

Your books and any other reading material.

The chair you were thinking of sitting on.

The messy or smelly lunch you were thinking of eating in your booth.

Old newspapers you were thinking of wrapping pots in.

 

Things to bring ...

Water ... bottles of water for you and exhausted shoppers who buy.

Bags with handles so purchases are easy to carry and clean wrapping paper or newsprint sheets.

Business cards with ALL your contact information.

A smile and a good attitude no matter how bad it's going.

 

Things to avoid ....

Other booth people who want to chat with you rather than sell.

Other potters who want to ask about your technique while you are trying to earn a living.

Groups of shoppers who choose to catch up on the news right in front of your booth thus blocking any access.

The temptation to give a wiseacre answer to an uninformed question. Loses the sale every time.

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This is SUCH a good topic for me right now. I'm preparing to do my fine arts fair in Nov and feel a little like a deer in the headlights.

Is it possible for you all to post photos if your booths/displays?

 

And thanks for all the tips so far!

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Another thing to leave at home:

 

Expectations.

 

You never really know how your work will be received, or how sales will go. If it is your first show, or your first time AT a certain show, it is somewhat easier to not think that things will follow a certain path. Approach each event with beginner's mind.

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Bring a variety of pieces and price points. Even when returning to the same shows that I have done in the past, I can't predict what people will be buying. I also think lighting is important. I sell at alot of outdoor shows and have noticed that my sales are much better when the light is better. I would love to have some kind of portable lighting set-up for gloomy days.

Kathy

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