by Monika Blichar
One of the best things about fall for an artist is looking forward to fall and winter markets, trade shows and the ever anticipated holiday shoppers! If you’re like me, you work hard all year so that you have enough inventory for this time of year, making sure that everything is tagged and packaged, and have signed up for as many shows as you can so that the season is the best it can be for your creative business.
Like any good teacher, I thought that it would be a great time to send you some tips about how to make selling your work in Fall 2018 the best it can be! I have compiled my top 10 list of things I do each year to ensure success and wanted to share with you creative entrepreneurs out there!
Being organized is crucial as we gear up to one of the busiest times in the retail calendar! There are a lot of moving parts when you are a maker and a seller, so it is really important to stay on top of your weekly and monthly tasks to be successful this season. If it is hard for you to stay organized, there are a few easy fixes you can utilize this season to keep on top of all your tasks to help you meet your goals! Simple things include a day timer, using a white board, using your smartphone apps for notes, calendar reminders or even timers to help you stay on track. If you search google, there are also tons of templates you can find to help you stay on track! You can also download our MONTHLY ARTIST GOAL TRACKING TEMPLATE HERE! It’s free of charge and hopefully it helps some of you stay organized this season!
2-Participate in A Variety of Events and Shows
Being everywhere you can is key at this time of year because people are looking for unique items to add to their holiday gift giving. Think outside the box with this one-you can participate in other events than simply craft fairs, markets or trade shows! Some ideas include setting up a pop up shop in an empty commercial lease space, organize a show in a coffee shop, asking your friends to host a shopping night in their home, or hosting an online shopping party online! The possibilities are endless!
3-Collect Emails for your Newsletter
One of the biggest complaints I hear from vendors is that they don’t get enough people engaged in their work when they are at a market or event. Lots of people go to festivals and markets to browse, connect with friends, and have afternoon out. We must remember that not all market goers are there only to shop! A lot of people might stop by your booth and after the conversation, many vendors experience deflation after they spend a lot of time talking to someone and then they leave without purchasing anything or even taking a card. The onus is on YOU here to make sure to get that person linked to your brand in some way! One of the best ways is to collect their name, phone number and email. Now, if you’re not already writing a newsletter, you’re likely not super excited about this point because “it’s just another thing to do” or you “don’t know how to write content for a newsletter” or you “just don’t have the time!” I want to STRESS the importance of writing a newsletter here because I know how effective it can be to keep your fans, supporters and customers in the loop! Make it a goal to start collecting emails and sign up for a platform like Constant Contact! Once you start, even with one newsletter a month, you are getting in the habit of staying connected to those people who stop in at your booth and giving them AMPLE opportunities to check out your work, product or services long after they meet you at an event.
4-Don’t JUST Focus on the SALES
It is the holiday season and we all want to help serve as many people as we can during this time, but when you are focusing solely on SALES as your measure for success, you are missing out on other key ingredients that will build your business! Some of these things include:
-marketing and promotional opportunities
Remember that as a vendor at a market, you are never guaranteed to ‘sell out’ your entire stock even at the busiest of shows! You are investing in a retail space to sell your work sure, but if you don’t sell a thing, don’t worry! Remember that you are there to promote your brand, meet people, make connections and to market your work. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to make connections with others at the show including organizers, volunteers and other vendors. You never know what these connections will lead to later on! In my next post about sales at shows, I will give you FREE Worksheet for what you can do at the market to increase success! Please watch for this post!
5-FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS AND HOW YOU CAN GAIN FANS AND SUPPORTERS!
When you are at a show, one of the best things that you can do is to focus on building relationships with the people you meet. Perhaps you want to get to know one of the vendors there a bit better so that you can collaborate on a Christmas Special in a few months or you want to get more involved in the planning of events so you make a goal to talk more to the organizers. Remember that everyone at the show is there with the same goals, to sell and promote their product, but if you set yourself the goal to make authentic connections with people there, you will stand out from people who are simply there to make sales. As a consumer, none of us really enjoy feeling like just a ‘number’ or feeling uncomfortable if we don’t buy something from a vendor at a show. As a result of focusing on building relationships with others, you will gain more fans, more supporters and people who will want to genuinely help you in the long run of your business. And let me just stress here that you can’t do this alone! You need a tribe of people to help you, cheer you on and refer your business if you are really serious about making a brand and an income generating business from your passion! It takes a village to raise a child, same goes for a business!
Photographer Patrick Parenteau and I at AWE. Patrick does our body paint photos every year.
Melynda Seminuk helped me repaint my new studio and volunteered her time to do so. I couldn’t have done that without her help!
A great way to make a splash about your product is to partner up with another person. Think of some great cross promotional campaigns out right now-The Rock and Underarmour is one that comes to mind. How can you partner up with another business to offer something unique? Partnering up will allow your brand to reach new markets, gain new followers and work with someone to help you sell and advertise your product. It’s great to be independent but when you partner up, you can accomplish more working with others!
7-Use Social Media
We are so undeniably lucky to work in a time where we can utilize our platforms to advertise our products…FOR FREE! Think back even 10 years ago-you would have to pay for the kind of advertising we are able to tap into on social media! There are so many cool things you can do on so many different platforms. Of course you all likely have Facebook and Instagram but don’t forget about Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter or Google Plus. All these platforms are free to use and can give you so much return if you are consistent, interesting and offer great contests, promotions or rewards to your followers!
Speaking of rewards, be sure that every so often, you create a CONTEST for your fans! Everyone loves FREE stuff! If you think of it as just giving something away for nothing, then that’s what you’ll end up feeling after your giveaway. What you want to be sure to do is offer something for free in exchange for a LIKE, SIGN UP EMAIL, TAG THREE FRIENDS, OR A POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA! What you are essentially doing is offering your fans an item or service for free in exchange for them doing something to help your brand gain exposure on their network. If done correctly, contests can be an especially amazing way to get your brand seen by people who would not have seen it before! If you need ideas for contests, remember that when you are a member of Art World Expo you can call us to book a consulting call each month to go over things just like this! Learn more about membership in Step 3 here.
Create a contest that engages your audience! For our previous show at the gallery, we asked people to post their upcylced projects for a chance to win $100 to spend in store!
Janette posted her upcycled shirt and she won the $100 to come in and spend in store! She also shared on her instagram which helped us get eyes on our page and she even spent more than $100 in store which also gave us added revenue from the contest!
9-Be Friendly, Approachable and Positive!
This is a huge factor in your success at any show and also in your business in general! People love friendly, approachable and positive people-it’s infectious! When you exude passion, a love for what you do, and a great attitude no matter if the market is busy or not, people will be drawn to you! People love to support happy, helpful and energetic people and even though they might not buy from you, they will remember how you made them feel and will be more likely to contact you in the future or refer you to their friends. Being positive is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner because YOU ARE THE FACE OF YOUR BRAND and people will remember your attitude long after your show! Be sure they remember the best of you!
10-Remember Your Why
In the end, we all start a business for reasons that made us light up with excitement in the beginning. Remember that when you are having a slow market, or it snows so much the day of your show and its cancelled, or when you show up at an event expecting huge crowds and hardly anyone shows up. These things are all guaranteed to happen and often are out of our control. When you make the best of your shows by following the steps above and you go back to the reasons you started, you will undoubtedly get re-energized and want to focus on the solutions for the future rather than dwelling on the problems or challenges you just experienced. Did you start because you can’t go a day without creating? Did you start to help your parents or add income for your family? Was it because you just love to help people? Remember why you started and if you had a crummy show, just remember those reasons and go back to the drawing board, add some new ideas and try again. You owe it to your dream don’t you?
Monika Blichar has a B.A. in English and French and a British Columbia College of Teacher’s Certificate. She is the owner and founder of Art World Expo, Monika’s Art Boutique, Painting Dreams International Art Tours and her own brand Monika Blichar. Originally from Wroclaw, Poland, Monika is actively connected to her culture in Poland and works heavily to promote Canadian artists via her events. She is an avid creator, passionate about creativity and creating authentic connections in the communities where she works. Monika has produced Art World Expo in Vancouver since 2010, one installment in Toronto in 2015, an annual show in Edmonton since 2017 and has launched two Art World Expo Christmas Fairs in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. To learn more about Monika, visit www.monikablichar.com
Have a question? Send me a message! I always love to hear from readers!