Tuesday, 31 January 2012
So people what do you think of these lovelies?? This will hopefully be the next addition to the 'sue bulmer' range of bird-related paraphernalia (if that is how you spell it!!) As you know, because I'm going on about it every week from now til mid-April, I'm taking part in my first trade fair this year and I'm hoping to be taking some of my own mugs with me... As soon as I have some I'll be putting them into my shop if anyone is dying to get their hands on one!!
So, did I mention a certain trade fair? I'm going to be posting regularly about the whole experience so that anyone else in my shoes (ie has never done anything quite so big and scary as a trade fair before) might find it useful... what works/what doesn't, that kind of thing.
Before I start, I'll take you right back to the beginning when a trade fair seemed a million miles away.....
This time two years ago if someone had said to me that in 2012 I'd be doing a trade fair I'd have asked them to tell me another!! (joke, that is!!). I had one experience a few years ago of a Craft fair and I can't say I enjoyed it very much at all. Three long days, not the right kind of customers and a whole load of other circumstances meant it didn't really tick all the boxes of something I wanted to make sure I repeated again. After attending a fantastic creative business mentoring course in 2010 I became a lot more focused and I decided that I really wanted to give this creative business a proper go and started considering the different ways I could market and sell my work, as a maker you can do that in a variety of ways...
1. Face to face selling direct to customers at Fairs
2. Selling via a secondary source such as galleries and retail outlets
3. Selling direct to customers online (there are loads of great online shops out there, Etsy and Folksy to name a few)
So having been put off by my one and only attempt at selling direct to customers I decided to approach a few galleries to see if they would like to stock my work as I thought that this seemed a better option for me at the time. You can also do this a variety of ways, ring them, email, letter, it's always best to find out how individual galleries like to receive promotional material from artists. Some even like to source new work themselves so I think it's always better to check. To cut a long story short, my experience with galleries has been, on the whole, very positive. You get the benefit of their customer base, reputation and publicity, and they effectively sell your work for you, all you have to do is deliver it. One thing to note, all galleries have their own terms and conditions for selling your work, commission varies from one to another, and it's always best to thoroughly read through these before you sign on the dotted line.
Having built up my stockists over the past year I then decided that this mode of selling worked well for me and I would like to increase my number of stockists over the next year.... how to do this.... hmm, a trade fair perhaps? 'Ooh, no that seems far too scary and I'm most definitely not ready for that' was my initial thought, but speaking to some very encouraging and positive people made me rethink and now I'm very much thinking along the lines of 'there's no time like the present, life is for living etc' and I'm raring to go....
So over the next few months I'll be sharing my journey from here to Harrogate, hope you'll join me!!