Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 Tips for having a successful Holiday Show!

Hi Everyone,

This year I'm going to participating in my first Holiday Show.  It's an annual Holiday market that they hold at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Nov 18 &19.  I'm a researcher by nature so I've been doing some leg work to ensure that I have a successful show.  Also I'm new at this and I know there area  lot of you out there that do shows and fairs and I would love for this to be very informative. It would be great and oh so helpful if you would give your input and experiences in the comment section.  Would love to learn from you:)

Etsy had a nice post about shows and fairs so I've pulled some information from that article and the other info is from advice and personal experiences.

So here goes:

1.ATTRACTIVE DISPLAY--The display and art work should be set up so that it is very appealing.  I've been working on making sure my booth looks very professional.  It is indoors so I won't need a tent but I do need a display for hanging art.  I have a screen so far, made out of 2 hollow core doors and hinged together.  I've seen some made out of  pegboard.  And of course there are very professional systems sold, but I'm not at the point to invest in something like that.  I'm trying to decide what color I should paint my doors or if I should make a slip cover to go over them.   I just ordered a small banner from Vista prints with my logo. 

2. DEMO-- I'm assuming most people will want to see an artist at work.  I'm going to make sure it's a painting that is at least half way finished so that they can see an almost completed painting.

3. DRAWING--Free stuff, who doesn't like free stuff.  I'm hoping to generate a little excitement and get some potential client contact info at the same time. 

4. PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL--Make sure you have plenty of business cards.  I'm also going to bring along my artists' bio rack cards (vista prints), and some other mini-prints.

5. GIFT WITH PURCHASE --I'll be offering a small gift with purchase.  Would love some ideas here if you've done this.

6.  HAVE A GOOD CHECKLIST--With all the preparations going on I'm sure it's going to be a little crazy right before the show, I'm going to make a check-list as I go along to ensure that I remember everything, here is a small sample of what I'm thinking so far--can you think of anything else?

*price tags
*framed art (wouldn't want to forget that:)
*promotional material (mini-prints, artists' bio, etc)
*certificates of authenticity for each painting--I should have these already on  pocket on the back
*receipt book (for this show they handle the money but we have to have a triplicate receipt book)
*name tag
*demo painting and paints, water, paper towels,paint brushesetc
*drinks and snacks
*tool kit (hanging art, fixing anything that goes wrong, etc)
*first aid kit (band-aids, etc--just in case)
*guest book
*Catalog of my other available works
*table cloth
7.  INVENTORY WITH MULTIPLE PRICE POINTS--I'm currently working on this phase.  I'm painting away and I'm trying to make sure I can hit several price points.

8.  INTERACT WITH THE GUESTS--They are after all guests in your booth and they should be treated just like a guest at your home.  I think telling people about the drawing will be an ice breaker and I'll have some kind of treat I can give away, candy?

9. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE--No one wants to hear from a Debbi downer, so when potential clients ask how your day is going and if you're having a successful day, keep it positive and upbeat and optimistic!

10.CUSTOMER AND USER FRIENDLY--Before the show begins really step back and take a look at your booth.  Make sure your prices are very visible, nobody wants to have to ask!  Really make your space look inviting.  For example there is an indoor flea market in our town, when I go in there I am always immediately attracted to one of the booths that looks great.  She has lights and fabric draped.  The whole booth is just homey and inviting.  So go look at your favorite stores or even vignettes in catalogs.  What draws you to them, what elements can you add to your own booth.

What have done that has worked in the past?  What hasn't worked.?



  1. This is a great post Carrie! And it sounds like you have it all planned out perfectly. :) I think you've got it right about the customer/client interaction. When I've done a show like this in the past and was demoing I made sure to look up and make eye contact and greet whoever came to my booth. People love to watch a demo but sometimes they don't want to 'interrupt' the artist if you look too busy. So I tried to make it clear that yeah I'm working, but hey I'm so happy to see you here! You know? You will do fantastic. :)))))

  2. You look very organized! I'm sure you'll have a great show. Wishing you good luck!

  3. Carrie- You have put a lot of thought into all of this and it's a wonderful post with lots of good information. I also always gravitate toward to warm friendly upbeat spots to be and just know yours will be one. We all want to see pictures. I think the doors sounds like a great idea!

  4. Another great post Carrie. It sounds like you've thought of everything and after seeing the way you package your paintings I'm sure you will have a beautiful display with lots of happy customers. For future shows where you have to handle the money, make sure you bring cash for making change and a good, simple calculator -- although I'm sure you'd think of that if you needed it. You seem a bit more organized than me. :) Good luck with the show!

  5. Another great post with lots of wonderful info.!! Thanks for sharing. Good luck with the show!

  6. I made my display from old house shutters hinged together and painted white. The shutter "slats" make it easy to have work. Don't forget a pen, or 2, incase someone walks away w/ one. Have fun!

  7. Thanks for bring so organized And sharing. Can't wait to
    Hear about it. Best wishes for a great sale!