Routinely, I witness a number of craftspeople who just spank us all in sales, at every show they go to.
You see them making sales hand over fist – they are always having a good show – their work always sells. How on earth are they doing this?
One potter that I knew was the master of killing-it at shows. He had what I call a mono-booth; one line of work in various sizes and colors. His consisted of lovely porcelain lidded jars. Folks loved his work, and the price was not prohibitive.
It was horrific setting up next to him, behind him or anywhere near. We had to listen to the continual sound of paper being zealously ripped from a roll, then loudly wrapped around pots and stuffed into boxes.
This would go on all day! It was brutal and always felt like he was taking all the sales.
This same person, in the previous decade, sold leather goods at the same hand-crafted marketplace. Apparently his work back then was remarkable as well, and the customers bought the heck out of it.
Usually, it is very clear why the hot booths are selling so much work.
In observing this potter and many other successful crafters, I have identified some key tactics that can help anyone sell more of their work.
What the Successful Types Always Do
They Have Awesome and Desirable Craft Object(s)
I would like to think that quality and superior craftsmanship trump all in the crafts world….however, functionality, novelty, value, trends, and surprisingly how the item presents as a gift, are all very powerful and compelling selling points. Try to incorporate as many of these qualities as you can.
The Perceived Value is Greater than the Selling Price
Try to fulfill the customers expectation beyond the monetary value of the object.
Add to the object in a way that makes its perceived value greater than the actual price.
We are selling our handmade works, and we have opportunities galore to imbue them with originality, skill, beauty, presence, and meaning. The customer will feel like they are getting so much for their money…..and they are!
Example: One of my friends is trying to develop a piece of pottery that sells for 150 dollars but looks and feels like it could be worth upwards of 300 dollars. I appreciate his over-the-top emphasis on value. He has 40 years of experience selling his work and tells me that the perceived value is paramount.
The Maker Communicates the Value of the Object
They usually do this verbally, but may also use marketing materials and compelling product display.
They Please Their Customer’s
Wow, believe it or not, some artists and craftspeople never consider this!
Make people happy with what you’re offering, this is good.
The best advice you can get on how to do this…
Walk straight up to one of these successful craftspeople and ask for their advice. Or if you’re really brave, ask for their critique of what you’re selling. If they agree, tell them you want honesty, that you can take it…..then just take it.
Ponder their advice as absolute truth. Don’t try to defend yourself. Our egos can get really wrapped up in our work. Try to stand back and listen. If what they are saying is really pissing you off…consider the possibility that you are not in a place to act on their advice yet. Just file it away for future reference. Remember their point of view is from the standpoint of a monetarily successful craftsperson…honor this.
On a pure personality level, I think successful craftspeople are expansive thinkers, innovative, fairly bold, and happy to please people with their work.
Let me know if this helps,
To get a handle on how to develop a craft object that people are crazy about, I would suggest a few of my other articles ….