This year many of our club members operated tables at the Alternative Press Expo - or APE for short. They sold postcards, greeting cards, prints, magnets, and all sorts of things over the weekend. Here's a collection of their tips and wisdom gleaned from the experience:
Angela: "Signage and having a variety of price points is important. In addition, think vertical and variety of heights. Lastly remember to smile!"
Joie: "My advice is to really be friendly and put yourself out there. Smiling, greeting, and talking to people is a huge plus. Telling them the story behind your artwork (such as, this is based on my dog and her real raincoat that she wears when it's raining) really get people interested. They like to be able to tell stories about the art they purchase after going home. It takes a LOT of energy to put on a face like that all day, but drink lots of caffeine and do your best! Also-- HAND SANITIZER. ALL THE TIME." (Joie wrote more about her APE experience at her blog.)
Nicole: "My biggest suggestion would be to always be prepared. You never know who you may meet! APE is also a great venue for trying out your product. I was able to see which designs appeal to which kinds of people...i.e. market research."
Ciaee: "1. I say this to myself every year, but last minute preparation is not ideal. It's a real challenge to be energetic, friendly and smiley for a whole 8 hours if you've only gotten an hours of sleep the night before.
2. Business cards! Get enough so you don't run out. Gotprint.com makes quality cards and they're unbelievably affordable.
3. Make your prices visible. I'm shy and I have walked away from tables just because I didn't want to ask for the prices when I'm not sure if I'm going to buy.
4. Everyone loves a good deal. Combine your products for a cheaper price to tempt potential customers! If your prints are $12 each, a '2 for $20' promotion might convince someone to get a 2nd print."
Kelsey: "No matter how much prep you do, you're probably forgetting something. You can never give yourself enough time to prepare in advance!"
Crystal: "One of the best lessons I learned was to not wait until the last minute to do anything! If you have prints/postcards/greeting cards or anything else you want to sell that needs to be printed, leave yourself plenty of time to get everything perfect. Make sure you have plenty of bags/sleeves and cardboard for backing. Have interesting business cards, unusual product and be prepared to talk A LOT!!!
I am on the fence about the need for a portfolio. I didn't notice that a lot of people had one on their tables, and I put mine away the second day.
Last, but not least, make sure your table is noticeable! Make sure you have things standing upright as opposed to laying flat. I drew significantly more interest and attention when I put one of my pieces on an easel on the table where people couldn't help but see it."
Jordy: "1. Plan ahead and be organized. Don't wait until the night before APE to finish books, buttons or prints.
2. Organize your table in an appealing manner. Display your work so people can clearly see it.
3. Be friendly and talk to people, especially other artists. APE is a great place to network.
4. Don't attack people and force your work on them. Have your work clearly displayed and they will come on their own. (Then attack them! Not really)
5. Carry business cards or prints with you always.
6. Pay attention to what people buy. Learn what of your art is working for people and what isn't."