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Time To Get Ready For Your Holiday Home Show!

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September is almost upon us ... The time to get ready to sell your work in a Holiday Home Show.

Give your friends and neighbors a fun setting to buy gifts.


I had one for ten years and they were a blast ...


My tips:


Have a very nice door prize and keep those addresses for next year

Have everything clearly priced

Take credit cards ... make it easy to buy multiples

Create your mood with music ... Jazz, blues, rock ... Not Christmas carols,

Scent the air with an apple, vanilla, cinnamon mix kept out of sight

Serve good food ... not a bag of store bought cookies and weak punch

Spread the treats around and people will follow the m&m's trail

Get a friend or two to help with wrapping and check out


Anybody else have some ideas?

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My tips for a good open house ...



For me, one of the fundamental motivations for doing a home show is to be cheap!! Don't spend money trying to be fancy, maximize those profits instead.


Invite a different "guest artist" every year, so the event is always different from the year before. I tell my guest artists that there is no cost for them to participate, their only responsibility is to advertise the event to their customer base. Sometimes this can be totally symbiotic, this year the person I invited to do my open house invited me to do hers as well.


I once provided a big table full of fancy food, including wine, and nobody noticed. I find that homey snacks, like a plate full of homemade brownies, makes folks feel more welcome.


I spent a little money on a decent vinyl banner that says "pottery sale" that I hang on my front porch starting a week before the event. Now I can reuse it for free.


I will also spend money to print and mail a nice postcard to my local mailing list. And at all the other shows I do in the fall season, I hand out the postcards and tell all of my customers about the event. It only takes a small number of motivated customers to make the event a big success, so I target my marketing efforts to people who have already demonstrated their fandom.


But that's all the advertising I do. I would welcome other opportunities for publicity, but only if they're free.


Most important tip ... shoppers might feel a little awkward walking into a private residence, so make them feel welcome! There's lots of good ways to accomplish this, make it a priority. It doesn't have to cost any money.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Good points!


I put a large sign on my front door inviting people to just walk in ...

then just inside another simple sign with an arrow showing them where to start.

Once the sale started, there just wasn't time to answer the door though we did try catch people asap and welcome them.


The most crucial thing for my sale was getting them rung up and packed when they were ready to go.

We had a place set aside where they could set stuff down with their name on it to hold it so they could shop more or visit.

Once they came back there, they were done.

They just wanted to pay and go.

I had three people working there to make sure they got out quickly.


I miss the sale and am often tempted to do it again ... It was hectic but so much fun.

Maybe next year.

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  • 1 month later...

I just found this article about Open Studios and Home Shows .... worth a read ... whether you've done many or none!






hey thats a pretty good read! when i have my first sale, hopefully in the spring, i'll have to remember to make a lot of good signs. I apprentice for Steve Rolf, or SC Rolf, and when he did his sale he had me buy helium balloons to tie to all of his signs. 3-to-a-sign!

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I am gearing up right now for my Annual Show and Sale. For the past several years I have rotated around a bit - whoever had a recent kitchen renovation was a good mark. This year I am being hosted by a local bookshop in town. One thing I have found to be very valuable is to keep a record of what people bought the year before. It helps with great customer service when someone can't remember what they got/gifted last year.


Patricia Bridges - Bridges Pottery

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I created a funny marketing piece as an email blast to everyone last year...I had a lot of responses and sales, even from people who could not join me during the Open Studio time so they stopped in during "appointments." Here it goes:



Below are the TOP 20 Reasons to join me for "Drop-in" shopping at the STUDIO SAMPLE SALE (in addition to purchasing art and entering a Door Prize drawing):


Number 20:

I can't ask my mom to take in any more pottery.


Number 19:

Buying art will make you feel like a Grownup.


Number 18:

You haven't seen me in a while.


Number 17:

I haven't seen you in a while.


Number 16:

You want to support my addiction.


Number 15:

Buying art makes you look smart.


Number 14:

Visiting the Studio Sale is better than staying home and watching Law & Order and then Snapped.


Number 13:

On Sunday, Football versus Art...you want Art to win (although the Panther's Game will be on at our house!)


Number 12:

You cannot find a gift for long lost Aunt Eunice (we all have one!)


Number 11:

It will force me to clean the house!


And now the TOP 10 countdown for the best reasons to visit the Studio Sale:


Number 10:

You are willing to help out a starving artist buy a new kiln!


Number 9:

You want to find a piece of pottery to match your couch.


Number 8:

You want to find a piece of pottery that does not match a single furnishing in your home.


Number 7:

You recently realized that our world is full of manufactured items, so you want everything handmade - from now on!


Number 6:

You like ta-ta's, so you want to buy "Mugs for Jugs."


Number 5:

You are looking for something...somewhere...for someone...you are just not sure who, where or why.


Number 4:

It is better to give *pottery* than to receive *manufactured gifts.*


Number 3:

You love driving up and down <insert name> Road as a special driving challenge.


Number 2:

We all live in <insert name> so we all shop at the same places.


And the top #1 reason to visit the STUDIO SAMPLE SALE on Sunday or Monday:


Original Art makes a good gift - Original Art by <insert name> makes the best gift!


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I removed all of my personal belongings in 2 rooms of my home and created a gallery look. I did not worry about people visiting since it really looked like a gallery space with lighting, pedestals, tables, risers, etc. rather than a household. Hope that helps!

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I also do it inside my house, I remove most of the furniture in my living room and dining room, and try to make it look like a gallery.


I thought about doing it outside, just to make the event more visible, but in my area it's pretty cold in December.



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I was wondering, if you are a home potter, do you do a home show in your living room? Garage? what is the best venue?



Because my work consists mostly of decorative pit-fired vessels, I display it in two Ikea cases as well as on the mantle, on top of our piano, and on other surfaces in our living room. This has the advantage of allowing people to see the work as it might look in their homes, or the homes of potential gift recipients.


Because the process is of interest to people, I have books and a PowerPoint slide show detailing that process. This offers me an opportunity to greet strangers and offer to explain the process to them. Most people welcome the information and a connection is made.

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