Friday, April 4, 2008

Weekend Chat Line: Has today's economy changed your marketing plan?.

"This photo was taken at the Peoria Riverfront Art Fair...when I was 'tent shopping'. I don't know who the artist is...but I liked their set up, feeling they made good use of their space."

I had planned to expand my Art Fair season this year
by applying to some of the higher end end shows in larger cities. The entry fees for these shows are also "larger" and I would have had the added expense of a motel, which so far I've managed to eliminate by showing close to home or staying with family.

I really wanted to take this next step in my career...but after serious thought I've decided to stick to the same shows that have been good for me in the past years. I'm well known there and have built a following...hopefully these venues will do well this year.

I'm usually excited about the new season, but I have to say this year I feel more anticipation than excitement. I'm always conscious of my overhead, but will be even more so this year. I don't intend to make any changes in my display and decided to put my originals in simple black frames, keeping them more affordable. I was going to eliminate my low end item, a $15.50 mini print, but decided to go ahead and offer it this season as well as a selection of LE and OE prints.

I guess my final thought on this subject is that I believe it's important to be out there. I hope for more, but if I only break even this season, I will consider it a success. What do you think?

So I ask you: How has today's economy changed your marketing plan?

The "Chat Line" is open...I'm anxious to hear your thoughts and ideas on this question, and as always...please feel free to comment on what others have to say.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a "Point"...leave a comment.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Marsha - last summer seemed to be a rather varied experience for people on summer fairs - I can only imagine it will be 'more so' this year. Your strategy seems wise to me. Maybe stick to places 'where the money is'.

Last year I know some people who had a very good response at fairs on small prints and greetings cards - things that were easily affordable for spontaneous and guilt-free buys. Maybe you'd like to ponder on adding cards into your offering.

Edition Handdruck said...

Shows and fairs are always a risky thing. I have decided to do not more than one "standard public" show per year. There is very good information on the true costs of shows.
Finding alternative ways to get and to keep in touch with art collectors seems very important to me not only in difficult economic situations.

Sue Smith said...

Marsha - good for you in continuing with the art fairs. I looked into two different fairs earlier this year and realized that there were so many hidden costs...both wanted an image of the booth/tent set-up, which meant I would have to purchase such an item and put it up in the middle of winter with the snow raging just to get the photo...well, you get the picture. It seems like a lot of work and costs just on the chance that I would get juried into the event.

I like Katherine's idea of smaller items. I hadn't thought about that angle. Perhaps I shall follow along vicariously gathering information and then next year go for it.

Marsha Robinett said...

I understand what you say about art fairs being a varied experience. I definitely had better sales once I began to offer a range of open edition prints.

My hope this year is to keep me and my art out there before the public, book a few commissions,cover my expenses and wait this mess out!

edition handdruck,
Thanks for the link, I agree it's very good information. Personally I've found profits for the art fair venue to be similar to that of exhibiting in a gallery. But as you said, nothing replaces courting your any economic climate.

You're right, doing art fairs is a commitment and an expense to get into if you're going to do it right. I usually sell more mid and low end items at art fairs...very few originals.

But you can't beat the exposure. As you know, art fairs attract hundreds of people each weekend.

I think the people will still come this year...they will just be buying less.

Christy DeKoning said...

Marsha I envy you for having enough work to enter a show. I keep saying "no more commissions" to my husband, so that I can work on some originals to enter into a show, but it is just too hard to say no to that dollar - so it's always "just one more". I'd love to hear the outcome of your shows this year.
And thank you so much for the lovely comments on my blog. I feel so honored that such a fine artist stops in to have a look, let alone leave me such praise. Your work amazes and inspires me.

Marsha Robinett said...

Getting enough art together for that first year was an issue...My works are small yet take as much time to do as a large watercolor. I figured I needed about 20-25 to make a decent display. I also had a small area of framed prints, this helped take up space too.

Watercolors are usually you may not need as many originals as you think. In fact I started out with 1/3 of my display in portraits that no one was even expected to buy...they were used as examples of my commission style.

I know there are those who will disagree with this, but I believe if you are going to do art fairs you need to offer prints. And you need both LE and OE prints in a price ranges that has something for everyone. My prices range from 15-500...with lots in between.

Be encouraged, your work is beautiful...set aside a little time for your personal work and you'll get there.

Thank you for the lovely compliments...and I plan on keeping everyone updated on my art fairs.

Dianne said...

Great topic! I have not only changed my marketing plan this year but also my plan to pay down my debt. I started out the year with grand ambitions to significantly reduce what I owed on my business credit cards, however, after doing one "high end" show last month and feeling the tension in the air, I decided to scale back on those payments. If I don't,I will have a cash flow problem and go into more debt! I recently also took a news "sabbatical". Hearing all the doom and gloom news was affecting me in many areas.

Marsha Robinett said...

I was fortunate in that I was able to pay off my initial investment the first year I did art fairs.(I had kept it to a minimum and took nothing for myself.) However, I too have credit card debt for my business at this point and as you have held back a cash for reserve.

I would be curious to know how you did at your 'high end' art fair. I decided to back off from the higher end shows this year...trying to keep the 'risk' or 'upfront' $.$$ layout lower...considering this dastardly economy!

Considering the rising costs of everything and the way people are cutting back on their spending...if I can break even this year, I will be happy. If I make a profit, I will be elated.

Dianne Poinski said...

Hi Marsha,

It was the La Quinta Arts Festival and I did ok, not great. I did not lose money which some people did. The income is certainly high in that area and usually those people are not affected as much by "recessions" but this feels different.

As far as my debt goes, I am a photographer who recently went digital. One purchase always led to another and another........

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