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snow show/bad show/marketing....

updated thu 11 dec 03


terry sullivan on wed 10 dec 03

Guess I have to agree with folks like Mel and David Hendly about
spending the time and money on promoting yourself and sales through your
own studio.
Several potters I know have done this and the rewards are that you will
eventually be selling far more from your own sale as you ever did in
those craft sales. If you are good, the proceeds could easily be
thousands of dollars each day without leaving your home/studio. And so
much more rewarding and so much less hassle.

Still, there are some very good craft shows that are of great benefit
such as the ACC shows and many others. I have met potters who take
wholesale orders from one ACC show that fill all their time for half a
year while also selling all the work they brought retail at the show.
Guess that depends on if you are doing the wholesale thing or selling
individual on off work, although I have seen craft artists selling "one
off" work at these shows for tens of thousands.

A friend, David Cuzick, here in San Diego county Calif. sells about 80
% of his work via two studio sales a year. Folks line up at the gate 100
deep before opening to buy his stuff and that of a few friends. Makes
about $ 20,000 in two days of selling. Has to have three cashiers going
with long lines at each to take in the money. He sends out post
cards and emails to his mailing list before each sale.

The most important thing with any artist / craftsperson is your mailing
list. It is the most valuable asset you have. You must get the name,
address, etc. of every customer who buys a piece. Also have a sign in
book so you have the names, and contact information, of each person who
visits even if they don't buy.
Each time you do a mailing to all these folks you build and reinforce
your customer base. It is vital !!!

So even though you might be doing some shows to get started; get every
name and address you can.
Never fail to ask folks to sign your guest book with all contact info.
If you sell through a gallery shop, insist that they provide this
information when they sell your work.
Send out a thank you card for each sale with information on your work
and your studio sales etc.
Use all available news media to promote your work. There is lots of free
advertising space in most towns. Most media have some sort of free
listings for various events in a "Calendar" section weekly.
Get the information from them on deadlines etc. and send in the listing.
It is free !

The thing here is that promotion / marketing is a vital part of any
business. I have seen many good artists ignore this and go on for years
with mediocre sales. Others have had sales in the $ 100,000 plus range
because they kept detailed mailing lists of customers and sent out lots
of mailings. Honestly; I have seen this with my own eyes, my own
direct experience.

A very important aspect of this is a web site. A simple web site can be
a fantastic tool in today's marketing.

Hope this helps.

Terry Sullivan
Nottingham Arts