How We Started At Craft Fairs
We got started in craft fairs because Susan was photographing elders in a nursing home. She went in several times to give lectures and take some photos. The recreation department was run by a wonderful woman who loved Susan’s work. She encouraged Susan to come and be with the residents. Then she set up an opportunity for the family of the residents to hire Susan to take portraits so they would have wonderful mementos. A few people took her up on it and were delighted, but in general it seems (at least around here) there is a better market for people photographing their children and animals than photographing their elders.
Sebastian in Flowers, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
The recreation director wanted to make it up to Susan for spending all the time (and money) so she invited us to several craft fairs they have for residents and staff. Plus she is a gigantic fan of our work … so she wanted an easy chance to buy our work.
Susan had taken a picture of her corgi dog and I had put him in flowers and butterflies (two separate images). She was our best customer! And there was one other employee who loved our work .. so she bought 3 8 x 10″ images and framed them herself. We were delighted!!
It was a lot of work, we didn’t have an ideal location and we were competing against very inexpensive handmade pot holders, hats, scarfs and then lotion and such. It was hard selling our archival prints against the other items. People LOVED our work, would admire it … but, as Susan says, as a museum … wanting to take it home, but not wanting to buy it. More tomorrow ….
~ Diane Clancy
Technorati Tags: nursing home, craft fair, Susan, photography
Awwwwww! Sebastian looks great in the flowers! So sweet!
Great to hear about the craft fairs. Sebastian looks lovely in his flowers. A good way of getting your work noticed, I would have thought. Interesting to hear about the practical steps you make to market your art.
Sounds like the right venue is everything. And the trick would be, I’m guessing, to know how to determine that without having to learn it first hand. Ug, and that’s everything, isn’t it?
Too bad more people don’t want photographs with their elders. I’m surprised at that, but I’ve always had great enjoyment spending time with older people in my life.
Sebastian in Flowers is awfully cute!
I know around here there is a craft fair magazine for the state of california and surrounding areas that rates good and bad fairs. When I was making jewelry I learned early on that low end craft fairs (booth cost wise) usually did not bring in high end customers. I’ve been burned too by craft fairs in terms of time and expense invested vs returns to make low end or local fairs very appealing for me. Have you done higher end fairs yet? I think you said you were going to write about that. I will look forward to what you have to say.
I really like your animals in flowers pictures. They are sweet, beautiful, and kind of surreal, which is what I really like about them! I love the space around each animal, and how their energy changes by the setting.
I have done so many kinds of fairs over the years, and one thing I realize is that even if I didn’t sell much at a particular fair, I always learned something. I know I wrote something like this in another comment, but one of my conclusions about all of this is that I don’t want to do any more fairs!!
Hi Nicola, thank you and I am delighted you like Sebastian!!
Hi Beverly, I am glad you are liking hearing about these practical steps … I have lots more stories to tell!
Hi Debi, you are so right about the timing and venue. We have sure given the low end a good try … done about 15 perhaps now. And we haven’t been willing to pay the money for the high end. Susan was really surprised too about people not being interested particularly … so were the recreation directors that sponsored the events. But children and pets I think is where the attention lies at the moment.
Hi Sue, I agree with your analysis … that is a lot of the problem … I will keep writing. Great comment … I just copied it and sent it to myself.
Hi Kris, I am delighted to hear what you say about my Fanciful Animal Images!! I like that analysis a lot !! Well, Susan doesn’t ever want to do another fair … and then she agrees for a new thing. But we have learned a whole lot!
~ Diane Clancy
I found your blog by accident but am glad I did
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The picture of the dog in the flowers looks cool. I agree with what you are saying. It takes alot of time, and built up experience to design and make anything yourself. that is why they call it a craft I guess. Sometimes the fee you could get is not worth the time that it has put into making it, which isn’t always the issue as crafts are usually a hobby. I think it is good when people go to fairs and buy things they like, rather than just look at them. I’d much rather buy a handmade necklace for my wife rather than a mass produced one that thousands of other people are wearing. The more people dip into their pockets and show their appreciation for peoples efforts, the longer, unique and creative items will be readily available.
Wow, what a cute dog! The background of it is very beautiful as well.