If you sell your beadwork like I do, you probably have several shows coming up this holiday season. I have three this year: a shopping soiree hosted by a specific neighborhood, an art show with the Craft Guild of Dallas, and a private trunk show and celebration in my home studio. These are my 5 best tips for selling at shows, and it is my pleasure to share them with you today.

  • Pull Marketing– Before the event, you want to pull people to your booth by offering something cool. I have done a show in that neighborhood before, so I emailed my list with a special certificate for a free gift when they print it out and stop by my booth. I’ve already received excited responses, and I enjoy creating that goodwill. They will show off the earrings whether they buy anything else or not. I will also raffle off a variety of items at my private trunk show. If you don’t have an email list, build one by offering a giveaway to those who sign-up. Your list will serve you well if you use it.
  • Various price Points– I know you have a wow piece that you think would never sell because of the price. Put it out there anyway with the proper price! It will help sell your other items because it puts the other price points in perspective for the shopper. Also have a “Gifts under $20″ section. This section has paid for my booth fee on at least one occasion.
  • Display– Transform your booth into a fancy boutique. I use bed risers to lift my tables so shoppers don’t have to bend down to look at things. My table cloths hit the floor to hide the risers and boxes. Use different levels on top of the table to add interest. Invest in good displays so when shoppers lift a tag and read $120, the whole setup already reads “I’m worth it.” This includes the packaging as well. Linda Fass has a beautiful display, and a wonderful example to learn from.
  • Best Sellers– Figure out what your hot items will be. I did this by showing a group of artist friends my latest work. They got all excited about a particular bracelet design, so that’s what I made more of and made sure it was prominently displayed. After the next show I only had 2 left, and custom orders for 2 more.
  • Smile and Be Confident– Do this even if you don’t do anything else. It’s important to interact with your customers and sell. The word “selling” sounds so scary to artists, but really it’s just telling customers your story, the story behind your work, about your techniques and materials, and answering their questions. It took me quite a bit of practice to say “This one is $120″ without a hint of question mark in my voice, but when I did, my piece sold. Know you’re worth it, and the next thing you’ll hear is “I’ll take it!”

I hope these tips have helped and good luck with your shows this season. If you have any questions or additional tips to share, leave a comment below. Thanks!