Oct 8, 2015

6 Steps for Victory over the Monster in the Closet

 You want to sell your artwork.  
You have been showing with your Art Club and group shows but you know you need to do more.  You know you need to spread out, meet new people, and expand your network.  
Indoor or Outdoor Markets give you a chance to connect with your Collectors
You need to do some Art Markets -The Monster in your Closet.
This may seem like a crazy time to talk about it, the outdoor Market season is over, but it takes time to win that battle.

So take the Offensive and start:

Step 1.  Identify the Enemy
Not all Markets are the same.  Flea markets and craft markets may attract Art Lovers but not necessarily Art Buyers. Check out local Art Market events with other Artists to see what is happening.  Were they well attended? Well organized? Well advertised?  Were there sales?

Step 2. Reconnoiter the Enemy's Territory
Outdoor markets are finished for the season in BC but Christmas indoor shows and Art Crawls are starting up.
Wondering around Artist studios and Christmas Sales Events will quickly give you many ideas for easels, stands and display items.  Many can be made if your handy, Steve is my handyman and I keep him busy making all kinds of stands, shelves and easels to use for my displays.  The chief thing to remember is make them lightweight, sturdy, and sized to fit in your vehicle.

Step 3. Mobilize the Troops
For any battle to be a success the Troops have to be properly outfitted and prepared.  This I think is key to your success.
You need lots of original art both framed and unframed.  Also some middle and lower priced items, many will like your work and want to take something of your art with them.  Open stock small prints, art cards, artist books, calendars, and bookmarks are just some of the little things that artist will have on hand.  Of course all bearing images of your work!

The troops need more than just great art.

Never turn down a helper!  (note some of the containers in the background)

They need carrying containers, tablecloths, business cards, pricing labels, and a receipt book. Of course a float for cash sales ($100 is plenty) and a card reader for credit card sales.  I find the Square is great for that. Some of the little extras I carry are a Contact Book, brochures for my next events, calculator (never know when you will have a big sale), bags for purchases and a small portable dolly.  (You never know how far you will have to walk from your car to your spot.)

Your are not outfitted yet!
Loaded in, now to set up.
 Don't forget the weather.
Markets go ahead rain or shine.  

Will your containers keep things dry and protected?  At my last summer market it started to rain right after I off loaded my car!!  Fortunately it was only for a few minutes but it could have spelled disaster.  
Don't forget wind and sunshine?  You lucky artists with your acrylics and oils, my work is under-glass and needs to be protected from falling easels and hot glaring sun.  At several shows this summer I saw easels flapping in the breeze with horrifying results - ripped canvases and broken glass. 

Okay, take a big breath, it seems like lots but you can start small and gradually add to your supplies.  This is not a just a one shot event, you will be using this equipment many times over the coming years.
Rusty is checking out the flow pattern for my layout
Step 4. Outline your Strategy
Organizing your display ahead can save valuable time in setting up.  Most markets will give you a 10 x 10 space but it is not always a square.  They may provide a tent (Yeah!! if they do) and a table and chair.  Have your plan ready as to how things will be set up and where & what pictures you are taking.  There will always be surprises when you arrive so the more prepared you are the better.
Lists are always good.

Step 5. Plan a Skirmish
That's right! Get the troops out there for a few small missions.  Rent a table at a local event. For example,  the small business Network Group in your area often offers table space at their meetings.  This would give you a real life opportunity to run a small display.  You will quickly see how your display works and what more you need to do.

Step 6. Launch a Full Attack
The troops are assembled, your ready to go.  That monster will be shaking in its boots as you advance.  With a smile on your face you are ready to meet and greet all your new collectors. 
Set up and Ready to Roll
Art Markets aren't the only way to sell your work but they are a good way to expand your network circle.  You will meet lots of  people and have the opportunity to connect with your collectors.  Once you have mastered the local markets you will be ready for the BIG MONSTER under your Bed - the out of town market! 

I really wish you luck with your Art Markets, I have been doing markets for 11 years and have found it valuable in so many ways:
-      gained confidence in talking with people
-      learned more about my work and what people like about it
-      met and made some very good friends
-      mastered the feat of setting up a good display that fits in my Toyota Matrix
Of course it has also helped to my expand my network, sell my work and make solid connections with my collectors. 
  For more thoughts on Art Marketing see my page Points to Ponder - Marketing Skills

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar) 

Have a great artful day, Wendy

PS.  The stands I use were designed by a member of our Art Club.  Lightweight, sturdy, adjustable for large and small pictures, work great on uneven ground and stack easily for loading.   I would be happy to share the plans with you, just Contact me. 


Brenda Hill CDM said...

great post Wendy.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Hey, I am sure it brought back memories of the art markets we use to do! Every market day has a story, some with happy endings and some not. .!