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How Much Should I Have Made For My First Art Show?

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#1 ruepottery



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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:46 AM

How much should I have made for my first art show? How many mugs? Platters? Bowls? Planters? Jars? Sponge Holders? Etc? Also do sets of things sell well? 

#2 Pres


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Posted 13 February 2017 - 08:24 AM

I often wondered that myself. In the beginning though there was no set strategy. Later as I understood the whole "fair" thing, I realized that I needed some smaller stuff(mugs, bowls, boxes, etc) and some larger stuff(tall jars, vases, casseroles, large bowls) to sell also. As my work became more noticed, I needed more of the larger stuff. It is always evolving, and each fair requires a different stock, all dependent on the clientele.






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#3 GEP


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Posted 13 February 2017 - 08:41 AM

If it's your first fair, the answer is "as much as you can." After you see what happens, you can start tailoring your strategy for future fairs.

All of the items that you mentioned are good ideas. Try to cover a wide range of price points with you items.

I find that it's not productive to force people to buy sets. Offer pots individually and allow them to put together sets if they want.
Mea Rhee
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#4 Pugaboo


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Posted 13 February 2017 - 08:49 PM

Agree with everything said already. Every new festival is a new animal, you will have to learn which each location needs.

At a festival I do group stuff together by kind and also by color. Meaning baskets of mini dishes, spoon rests, mug display, etc. Then in another display it's stuff that is glazed to go together plates, mugs, bowls, as well as a Spoon rest, mug etc. This way people can see MUGS, if that is all they are looking for but I also give them a chance to see a full color line of items together so if they are looking for blue, or floral they can see how the pieces look together. The baskets I scatter throughout the tent starting at the front and all the way to the back. People make their own "sets" as they progress through the tent if a set if what they are looking for.

Sometimes I will get asked if I will give a discount if someone buys a whole set of mugs, tray, spoons, mini dishes, etc together. I usually say yes unless they are rude in the asking.. like I'm going to need a discount if I buy all this together. Ummm then the answer is no my prices are as marked. If on the other hand they say oh wow I love this and this and this, would it be possible to get a discount if I buy all of this? Then it's sure, let me help you find all the pieces that go together.

As a festival artist you learn to go loaded for bear, bringing more than you could possibly expect to sell, so that when that DOES happen you are prepared. You never know but at that particular show the only thing that might sell at all is wizzygigs and if you only brought 2 you are in trouble. If you have done the show a few times you can start to get an idea, I have sold 14 wizzygigs the past 3 times I did this show so I will pack 20 hoping for an increase in popularity.

The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#5 ChenowethArts


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Posted 15 February 2017 - 06:18 AM

I don't do a lot of shows but have dipped my toes into the 'festival waters' to understand a few things in my region (Middle Tennessee).  I make a lot of mugs and it shouldn't be surprising that those are my 'bread-and-butter'.  Large items, like 5qt bowls and very tall bottles seem to make very good 'attention grabbers' and conversation starters so I always include those in displays.  Those big items also tend to be the reason I get follow-up emails post-festival that result in a sale or commission.  By far, smaller items seem to move faster and there are price-points that seem to make a difference (i.e. a $24.95 piece may sell better than a $25.00 labeled piece).


Go with the advice of the more experienced festival people here.  If there is one thing that I have witnessed from first-timers that I would qualify as a 'sucessful-disaster" is having a nearly empty display at the end of day 2 of a 4 day event because so much product sold early. Always take more items (even 'filler' items) than you expect to sell.




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