As an artist who attends craft shows, one of the things that you will have to remember above all else is that you will not be a success if you do not gain customers. Many artists and vendors think that they can simply put their products out there and people will buy them. However, there is much more to consider when trying to sell at craft shows and festivals. You must consider competition. After all, to gain customers, your customers have to pick your booth out of the hundreds surrounding you. If your products and your displays look just like everyone else’s, then you will find yourself drowning in the competition.
The first thing you need to do is recognize the need for a brand identity. This means making sure that your artwork stands out and that you are recognizable again and again. As you attend the same shows years after year, you want people recognizing you by your brand identity. This is a great way to gain repeat customers and new ones as they bring along their friends and family.
Just how do you create your brand identity? It all starts with consistency. If you consistently provide the same level of artwork in the same manner, people will begin to associate one image with you. This will make it easier for them to remember you over time.
The next step is to remember you have to stand out in the crowd. If you blend in with the other artists, you will be generic to the customers at the art shows. Your display should do several things. First and foremost, it should highlight your artwork in the very best possible way. Next, it should set you apart from the competition. Consider custom displays that are made specifically for your products instead of generic store bought ones. Consider adding color and light that will properly highlight your products. Do what you need to stay tasteful yet stand out from the crowd.
Creating a brand identity is vital for any artist who plans on participating in craft shows. Without this identity associated with you specifically, it will be very hard for customers to notice you over the other artists. You should do this with consistency and it should be reflected in a unique display that properly highlights your artwork. Once you have created this identity, you will be glad to see your business gain ground quickly, especially with repeat customers.
There is nothing worse at a show as a line of identical white tents. Customers will walk right buy without a thought. They become oblivious and everything blends. That is the exact opposite of what you want.
Before I explain our branding, let me explain our products. We make candles of all types, but our primary products are car air fresheners (they last 3-4 months in the summer (often much longer) and are extremely popular because they are not over powering like cardboard air fresheners), and house air fresheners using wax dipped toilet paper and plush tors. We deliberately try to be different from other candle vendors.
We use several different methods to create a brand. We put 1 or 2 large signs (2’x8’) on the tent. One goes on the front and the other goes either in the view of the crowd flow or along the back. The signs read “Make your House and Car Smell Great!” We deliberately do NOT include our store’s name (Gingerbread Cottage Country Candles) on the sign. The words on the sign immediately give the customer an idea of what we they can expect to find in our booth. It also piques interest. Originally, I said “make your House and car Smell Good!” until a customer told me that her house already smelled good. After all, no one wants to admit that their house doesn’t smell good, but everyone wants their house to smell GREAT!
We also have 2’x3’ metal signs a fixed to the booth. The sign shows a goat sniffing a flower. The words below the picture simply says “Please feel free to Sniff around”. This sign does two things, the picture is cute (we raise goats so I can tell adults and kids about our goats, especially if we have had baby goats recently, and it gives a call to action. Once I educate the customer on our products (very important in my opinion) we always tell them to “Please feel free to sniff around.” I feel the call to action is very important - It tells the customer exactly what I expect of them - the customer should pick up our products and sniff them.
I also brand by putting out samples of all of our products especially our car air fresheners. We have over 35 different scents in a variety of shapes. All of the scents have a sample that is open and readily available to sniff. We get many compliments on how fragrant our products are - “I could smell them from 3 booths down - they smell wonderful.”
We have really tried to brand out products and use three different, complimentary ways to create this brand.
By Mark Cato on March 30, 2011
your comments and sugjestions are helpfull and heeted
By david pennington on March 31, 2011
I walk and exhibit at a lot of art and craft shows and I too find a lot of artists with white tents.
At a show you want your prospects to remember your booth name/website or something that creates a lasting impact in their minds.. You can do this by simply having a catchy tagline on the flap or panel of the tent for as little as $7-$10/letter or do a logoed tent with an attractive color top and your logo on 1 side of the top (front) and your tagline on all 4 corners for under $300. This is a steal compared to doing your entire tent with logos and website/phone #.
I just got my 2nd 10x10 EZ up eclipse tent logoed with my logo on the front and website on 1flap (front). It did cost around $1000 for the tent and graphics but the impact was tremendous. I got a call a week later and the caller complimented me on my booth—how cool is that? They knew the color of my tent and remembered my website. The best thing about this tent is that it has powder coated pins that make it so easy to collapse the tent - unline other steel pins that hurt the fingers. And, it only takes literally a minute to get the tent up alone!
Another branding tip which almost all artists know is websites. Artists must have a website - no matter what. Why not put yourself on the web and let clients find your company?
Promoting your product by branding it well is like winning more than half the battle !!
By Zena on April 5, 2011