When you attend any event that has Artist/Makers as vendors, here are a few tips.
- I get a lot of "Did you make all this?". Some people ask that out of curiosity, some out of disbelief that you are the artist, some ask because it doesn't look "handmade". It's ok to ask. I'll gladly tell you about the process if you are interested.
- It is not ok to ask a vendor for a discount. This is our job! We pay sometimes hundreds of dollars to have a booth at a show. This is how we get a paycheck. We depend on beautiful people that love our work to buy it and pay us our asking rates. I know I personally underprice my work as it is and don't need someone haggling like we are at a flea market. We are a BUSINESS. You don't go to Walmart or the Doctor and ask for discounts. Why would you do it to an artist/crafter/maker?
- We are there to sell but we appreciate it if you just want to look. I happily answer questions about any of my work and how it's made, what it's made with, etc. You don't have to buy! But when you do get ready to walk away, it's really easy. A simple "Thank you, Have a nice day!" is always welcome.
- Taking photos - This is a big deal to some of us. Me personally I don't mind people taking photos but a lot of other artists do. You have to understand that there is a big world of people out there that can't come up with or don't want to create original designs. They would rather make copies of others' work. It happens daily and it's just sad. Some of these handmade items are actually sent overseas, copied and then plastered all over the internet sold at ridiculously cheap prices. They can sell cheap because you are getting cheap, unregulated metal jewelry. You are not getting the quality, loved, handmade item straight from the original artist. Remember that the next time you buy some amazingly beautiful ring/pendant on a website that says "Free, just pay shipping"...that's your clue to run. They can be created from lead and cadmium and then silver-plated. These can make you sick!!! Don't believe me, do some research on those metals and cheap jewelry. It's scary.
- As artists we hear a LOT of rude comments, especially after a customer sees our prices. I've been told "I can get that at Walmart cheaper!", "My friend can make that cheaper.", "Your pricing is outrageous!". I've heard it all. When I first started as a new artist it really upset me. Today I try not to let it bother me. I just take it as my work does NOT need to be with people that feel that way. Now granted, I understand if you really can't afford it, I can't afford to shop with my handmade artist friends' work either. But you don't have to get rude about it. And I do offer payment options online like layaway. I WANT you to own a piece of my work if you love it. I WANT you to be happy with your purchase. I WANT you to smile every time you put it on. I WANT to help you any way I can because I want it to be worn and treasured as much as it was when I created it.
- To all the Parents bringing their children to these events. I have 3 of my own. I love them but I also taught them not to touch without permission in places like this. Again this is a personal preference for each artist. I love talking to children of all ages about my work and how something is made. This is our future artist/makers right there! I want to encourage them! The problems with children in a booth usually involve drinks/food, sticky fingers. We sometimes spend hours setting up our work to look like a welcoming little shop. If your child comes in with a snow cone, chili hot dog, or cotton candy....that immediately raises red flags with us. I've had my table clothes ruined when snow cones have been spilled down the front of them. By the end of the day, those colors are pretty set in that material and stained. Meaning I have to spend money to replace it for the next event. And to be perfectly honest I've had grown adults set their cups on my tables with no concern for the fact that they are leaving wet spots or spilled drink/beer on my table clothes.
When it all boils down to it we the Artists/Crafters are just asking that you be considerate of the time and effort we have to spend to be here, showing our beautiful work to the public. We want everyone to enjoy their visit and to hopefully buy from their favorite artists. We go to these events in the hopes that we at least sell enough to pay the high booth fees and maybe cover our gas and lunch for the day. We depend on those sales to buy new supplies, pay bills, buy groceries etc. We are human beings just trying to make a living like you. We have dreams we want to follow and families we want to take care of. We NEED you to come out to shows and be a part of our day. We deserve respect and consideration when you do.
I've been an artist at a show and I've been a guest visiting art shows. I kind word is always welcome regardless of which one you are that day. These tips can make the day better for all of us. Thank you for reading. <3