Five Ways to Increase Sales at a Juried Arts Festival

By Geoffrey & Linda Post, Directors and Co-Founders

We are thrilled to have 28 years of Paradise City Arts Festivals under our belts. In that time the marketplace has changed significantly. Websites, email, and social media have become important ways to show customers your work and stay connected all year round. Our online Paradise City Marketplace generates exposure and sales for our participating artists every day. More and more, shows are just one point of contact – albeit a very important financial one! Read on for five ways to increase sales at a juried arts festival.

We spent 20 years as artists on the show circuit. We walk the floor at all our shows and talk to artists. We observe and we listen. We gather sales results and comments on hundreds of exhibitor survey forms and read them carefully. We also collect vital marketing information from the thousands of customer survey forms filled out at every show.

Increasing Sales: Five Ways to Tilt the Odds in your Favor

Art and craft shows can be a fickle marketplace. We’ve been in this industry for 45 years. We know that sometimes it’s hard to look at yourself and your work objectively, but here are some of our thoughts.

Show your customers new work.

Not every three to five years, but all the time. Put it front and center. We know it’s hard to come up with new ideas and designs but in an increasingly competitive market, you need to keep things fresh! Artists who do this, do better.

Keep your website fresh and current.

We use artists’ websites to learn more about each artist and to gather information to promote your work. It is common practice for patrons to search for images and information about you on your website, before and after your shows. It boosts your professional image and may be the impetus for a major sale or commission. Put your best foot forward online.

Stay engaged with your customers.

Mailings and e-mailings let you show customers new work, follow up, and thank them for their purchases. Encourage new and potential collectors to sign your mailing list book. Artists who use email marketing and direct mail, and keep their mailing lists up to date, do better. Also, social media is now the “word-of-mouth.” Post reels and images from your studio, shots of your newest work, and photos of your booth at shows. Although it’s hard to find the time and energy to promote yourself across multiple channels, just do it.

Present your best self in your best booth.

You may not need the fanciest booth in the world, but if your work is invisible because there is nothing at eye level, or it disappears into or clashes with your backdrop color, it hurts your sales. The same goes for wrinkled or soiled drapes, panels in need of a paint job, or beat-up displays. Think about your own appearance, too. You don’t have to wear a tie and jacket, but a questionably witty tee shirt and ripped shorts may not be the best approach. And we know it can be daunting to initiate conversation with thousands of people walking by, but never sit in the back of your booth reading. Engage them, and let them talk too – the more you know about them, the easier it is to make a sale. If you make eye contact and conversation with potential customers, you’ll do better.

Show a Range of Work.

Some artists have told us that they’ve made accommodations to the economy by creating less expensive items. Others have told us that success has come from selling their most expensive, one-of-a-kind pieces. In all honesty, there seems to be no magic bullet. It has always been good business to present the public with a range of work in different sizes and prices. It’s as true this year as it was twenty years ago. The important thing is to stay true to yourself.

Join Our Creative Community – Be One of Us!

Applications for our shows are available, and full show information can be found on each show’s page. We make it as easy as pie to APPLY ONLINE. We can jury your work from your website or other image location and we look carefully at every artist and every application. You’ll know by a month after the application deadline if you are accepted for a current show. Once the deadline has passed, it is still possible to apply to the wait list for any show. We are very open to new and emerging artists and would love to hear from you. Apply now!