Saturday, May 25, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol.10, Some Advice about...Advice :-)

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters
     Volume 10: Some Advice about......Advice :-)

“Artists should appear mysterious. Don’t wear that hippie dress of yours and “chat” with your customers! Dress in black and act superior.......”

“Your work is SO expensive! If you cut your prices in half you’d probably sell twice as much....”

“Your prices are too low! Triple them and NEVER offer a discount! It devalues your work......”

“You should put up a big sign that says “Super Blowout Sale”. That’ll bring in more quality customers......”

“Wholesale? Don’t give someone a 50% wholesale discount?! Why GIVE your work away when you can SO EASILY sell it at shows?”

“If I were you I’d.....(fill in the blank).......”

Ughh!! Advice! So, so, so much unsolicited advice! Sometimes it seems that everyone and their brother knows how to run your business better than you do; and they just can’t keep themselves from sharing their fabulous ideas.

Listen to their advice, throw in a few educational seminars and workshops on marketing, attend a few networking events, read a few articles online (especially this one :-), and you’ll know everything you need to know to increase your business threefold -- right?!?

Well -- maybe not :-) 

In an attempt to increase sales and free myself from the need of side jobs, not to mention financial worry, I’ve been seeking “professional” advice. I overbooked myself this week; three seminars within a day and a half; the quality of which ranged from very good, to forgettable, to really pretty bad.

And maybe because I’ve made no secret of my current seminar attending spree, I’ve been treated to more than the average amount of unsolicited advice from friends and acquaintances.

After a week of listening to “professional advice” and “You shoulds....” I was nearly catatonic! Not only did I fail to find “the answer” to all of my current questions, I started doubting everything that already works!

After taking a giant step back and smoothing down my very ruffled feathers, I realized there comes a time when we have to stop seeking the advice of others and just go with our guts. Because, when it comes right down to it, no one knows our businesses better than we do. Professional speakers are, well....professional speakers. They may have the education and work experience to speak wisely (or not) on topics that may affect our businesses, but they don’t know the day to day reality of what we do. Go to some of these events. Listen carefully to what the speakers have to say, and then separate the wheat from chaff. It is our job to find what works for us, not to conform to the model set forth by a speaker or advisor.

When seeking answers to pressing questions about our businesses we shouldn’t forget to look within. Deep down inside, we know our strengths and weaknesses. We know where we excel -- and we also know the boundary lines we are not willing to cross.

And for all that unsolicited advice offered by our friends, families and peers? Keep in mind that most, if not all of it, is offered in good faith. Listen to some of it, change the subject when it gets to be too much and, if all else fails, smile and nod as you drift off to your happy place.

Until next time -- keep creating!



  1. Excellent Advice Allison. Haha. had me chuckling with all the advice memories that came rushing back.

  2. Thank you Nicole. Yeah -- some of the things that people say are really funny :-) I got the "hippie dress/art snob" advice more than 10 years ago -- I never did listen to that guy. Maybe that's my problem?? Nah -- I doubt it.

  3. Readers: What was some of the "best" advice you received but never acted on?

  4. I don't recall any earth shattering advice other than don't make it too cluttered, dress nicely and make sure the tablecloths are ironed (advice from mom...). But your advice is really well taken here - there is almost too much information out there. If the advice doesn't seem to ring true for you then don't take it. We all have to be the best judges of our own "path." I'm also a sifter - I take kernels of advice that make sense, but often not the whole package.

  5. Great post Alison! Very solid advice lol! Finding your happy place made me laugh out loud! I don't really talk about what I am doing or working on with most of the people I work with anymore for that very reason. Human nature is a funny thing, the intent MAY be good in most cases but sometimes it sure feels like some people just want to see you fail.