Saturday, March 30, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters

                                                                      Volume 2: TARGET MARKETS

Investopedia explains 'Target Market'

Not all products and services are meant for all types of consumers. 

And from Entrepreneur:

Your target customers are those who are most likely to buy from you. Resist the temptation to be too general in the hopes of getting a larger slice of the market. That's like firing 10 bullets in random directions instead of aiming just one dead center of the mark--expensive and dangerous.

To an artist or craft person, the above excerpts may seem a bit clinical. We put so much of ourselves into our work that the thought of labeling it as a “product” can be offensive. But guess what!  If we’re listing on Etsy we are, indeed, offering a “product” for sale.

Understanding that our products appeal to a certain type of buyer, and seeking out shows and venues which will connect us with those buyers, can save us a lot of grief! Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done; but simply understanding that art and craft shows are not exempt from the laws of marketing can help point us in the right direction. It can also soften the blow when we take a wrong turn. 

One of the true dangers of ignoring target marketing is tangled up with what I like to call the “R” word: REJECTION. It takes a lot of guts to apply to a shows and set up a table or booth at a festival. Often times, if we are not accepted into a show, or if we participate in a show that we do poorly at, while our neighbors make sale after sale, we view it as a personal failure. “I wasn’t accepted into that show because .... or ...I didn’t sell anything because...... my work isn’t good enough....” Quite often that’s not the case. It’s more likely that our product just didn’t match up with the interests of the buyers who attended the show.

Take some time to think about who your target audience is. Who’s bought from you in the past? What types of shows have worked for you and which ones have not. If you are brand new to selling you can ask yourself: Who am I making this for? 

Here are a few tips that go hand in hand with pitching to your target market:

  • Set out a Mailing List form or journal at shows. The people who sign up are truly interested in your work and you’ll be able to contact them directly about upcoming shows.

  • Keep your display consistent . If you are a glass artist who also makes candles and cards you may want to choose one area to focus on per show. Displaying very diverse products side by side dilutes your display’s overall appearance and may make it harder for your intended audience to find you.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself for choosing a show that’s a bad fit. We all do it. Just chalk it up to experience and move on.

Until next time -- keep creating!


Upcoming Deadlines for Local Shows:

  • Glen Park Art Festival, July 28th and 29th, 2013 DEADLINE: July 15th, 2013 Apply Earlier!!


  1. Thank you so much for these tips. I am interested in doing more art/craft shows and I can see that it definitely takes some research on the part of the seller to find shows that will be the best fit. I think those questions are good for selling on Etsy, too. Figuring out your target market is important in any venue.

  2. Great article. Its so easy to get discouraged or even give up without ever considering these great tips.... Thanks!


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