It can be a very exciting time taking part in an Art Fair. Once your application has been approved, it is time to put organisation into practice to ensure that you are making the most out of the opportunity. Every aspect of your stand is going to be a reflection on your identity as an artist, so it is imperative that all areas are carefully thought out. From the initial task of pricing your artwork, right the way through to customer service on the day. The steps below will guide you to having a successful and fulfilling time. Use each step as a checklist, as you work through the tasks in hand.
Step 1 – Pricing – How will your work be priced? It’s worth finding out where most Art sales occur at the Fair in advance – is it in the affordable range (£200-£4000)? Does your work fit in with this?
Step 2 – Labels, Business Cards, Visitor Book, Inventory of Artwork and Prices –Your displayed artwork should be clearly labelled with the name of the piece, medium used and price. This should be done in a professional-looking way using a clear font style. Think about how work is displayed in Galleries. Your stand is your mini gallery. Don’t forget business cards either. A good tip is to create business cards for each piece of artwork you bring (which may sound long-winded but once you have a set format, it is easy to add an image of each individual piece to the card with a brief description and a link to where the art can be purchased on your website). The business cards can also be given to purchasers as a coupon to encourage them to buy further art from you. Don’t forget to have a full easy access list of all your artworks too.
Step 3 – What Art shall I Bring? – What is the type of show? What are the expenditure levels at the Fair for the average buyer? As a middle ground, it is worth bearing in mind the following, such as a show stopper-bring a piece that is likely to draw in the crowds, something that is vibrant, large and stands out; a variety of sizes to suit all pockets (a few small pieces, medium size and one or two larger pieces). Is the show in the countryside? By the beach? In a City? Where the Fair is located affects the type of work the buyer is interested in. Does the Fair allow prints? A browser with some unframed originals and prints is a great way of having additional pieces to suit a smaller budget, therefore giving you the option of having something for everyone.
Step 4 – How to Display your Stand – Map out your stand before the Fair. Draw out the wall space on the floor and group your art together, transfer this onto a written map so that when you arrive at the Fair you know exactly where to hang each piece – it will save you a lot of time and stress. Consider this as if you were doing a solo show with a signature style. Make sure that you leave space to view the artwork, to create breathing room between pieces.
Step 5 – An Area on the Stand about You and Your Work – Bring a table to place a brief biography, a description of your process and what makes you unique, along with photos of your artwork or a browsing box, leave a visitor book so you can collect comments and buyer details. This helps the buyer engage in your process, they also have something to look at if you are already engaged with another Customer.
Step 6 – Good Customer Service – It is important that both you and your stand are approachable. Limit personal visitors and general chit chat with your neighbours. There is nothing more off-putting than approaching a gaggle of friends or family having a chat or laugh. If you have a helper on your stand make sure you take it in turns rather than standing together. Remember – smile, use your intuition when chatting to buyers so that conversation flows naturally. From a practical perspective make sure you have payment methods displayed, offer to hold customers coats and bags if they want to get tactile with your work – encourage buyers to touch the artwork where possible. Don’t eat in front of customers and keep alert, stand if you can, try not to sit or slouch.
Step 7 – Be a Good Neighbour –Always be friendly and respectful of your neighbours. Introduce yourself initially, shake hands, share business cards. Remember to be aware of the space you are taking up; and if you are doing demos or putting out browsers not to encroach on your neighbour’s space. Also, be mindful of noise levels. Offer to help your neighbour if they want to move some artwork around or if they need to nip to the toilet. It is worth walking around the Fair to meet other Artists and to share tips on how they do things. Network, network, network. It can be quite a solitary business being an Artist so meet others doing the same as you. It is a very supportive/nurturing environment and you can gain invaluable tips for not just your art techniques but other art shows and ways to sell your art.