Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I am a newbie artist who just got into her first juried show. I will be in
the Art for your Garden part of a local three-day festival that attracts
serious artists from around the region. I will be competing for people’s
money with painters and jewelers. I make some very attractive
decorative glass pieces, small wall vases, light catchers, and such like.
They’re not high-end museum quality but would be a perfect gift to
give or get. How can I know how to price or display them?
This is a great chance to test the market. My advice would be to have
lots of stock ready and available. Then price it low enough to catch
people’s attention, but not so low that people discount it as not
valuable. Your goal is both to sell and be seen. Also, to create a little
buzz, because you are new, and many people are used to seeing the
same old, same old, same old things at these shows, even if they are
made by well-respected artists.
The principles of Econ 101 suggest that you should not put everything
you have out all at once. If you overwhelm the viewer (and potential
patron) with too many choices there’s a chance that they will be
overcome with indecision paralysis. They’ll spend lots of time looking
and trying to decide, and then say politely, I’ll come back later. That
translates into lost sales. There’s a sense of slightly less supply making
the value of what’s shown at least a little more precious. One or at
most two each of each color in each object should be out at any given
time. Have the extra stock hidden beneath some fabric, packed
carefully but accessible, so that if someone asks, Do you have a purple
and red one? you can find it easily. Keep all your money on your
person in a fanny pack. If you were selling jewelry you’d have to be
especially careful about light-fingered viewers. Chat with people and
be friendly and engaging, especially when you talk about how much
you love what you do. Infectious enthusiasm helps create customers
as much as the art. Be the person they want to buy from.