It’s like getting ready for an ‘art party’

Parties — any occasion where people visit your house — are fantastic motivators to clean up, repair, finish all the little things you’ve been meaning to do. Being in a craft show or art exhibit has a similar effect: not only does this public appearance inspire new work; it also makes me consider my promotional and online presence with a clear-eyed view.

My ‘Craft Show Prep’ task list includes items in the realm of art (making some new stuff), marketing (via etsy, Facebook, the blog, my web site, Pinterest, an email and a mailer), promotion (things I want to do differently at the booth itself during the actual show) and strategy (falling 4.5 weeks before Christmas, the show is ideally timed to capture the attention of potential customers who won’t necessarily attend the show itself, but may want to purchase holiday gifts – part of my reason for choosing to enter this particular show).

My two spring shows did the trick in motivating me to make new work… sadly, that didn’t carry through to publishing that work on etsy (my main buying channel). I did manage to take proper photos of the new pieces, and now I need to update my etsy storefront with them.

JenAnneTastic etsy storefront

Thinking about my booth and looking at my notes from past shows, I will pull the trigger on ordering a professionally-produced banner to replace the slowly disintegrating paper banner (a veteran of four shows now).

craft show table banner

My craft show table banner at the Winter ’12 Craftacular

The decision about making new work is reached by analyzing past sales patterns (does blue sell better than other colors? do sculptures in a $20-25 price range have more appeal than lower/higher?) and color spectrum: I like my product groups — necklaces, magnets, sculptures — to represent a wide palette. This fall, I find myself needing green, purple, yellow and white flower necklaces; orange, purple and pink sculptures; and dark blue, orange, green and red ceramic flower magnets.

Color range of my current sculptures reveals a need for orange, pink and purple.

Color range of my current sculptures reveals a need for orange, pink and purple.

The promotional efforts tie everything together, generating conversation and excitement about the show, even by people who won’t be attending – the conversation is my favorite part, and I can’t wait for it to kick in again!