So it's Part 2 of what worked for me at BCTF and today I'm concentrating on product range and I'll tell you a little bit about how I decided on which products to take with me to my first trade fair.
Deciding on your rangeAnyone who has been following me for a while will know that I have dabbled in a quite a few different media since completing my Foundation Course in Art and Design. I had decided not to go on to do a degree in Illustration/Decorative Arts/Fine Art as I didn't know what I wanted to do and also I didn't really see the point in getting into lots of debt. I wanted to spend the next few years developing my work at my own pace and explore lots of different media in the process. As a result, I would describe myself as 'self-taught'.
Long story short, it took a while to find what I liked but I still didn't really know what to concentrate on. One day I would be free-machine embroidering, the next textiles, watercolour, print, sketching... enjoying it all but still struggling to find 'my thing'.
The Creative Business Course I found myself taking part in 2010 really gave me a more clear direction. I was advised as to which was my stronger work, (the ink illustrations), advice which I also received from some well-respected and lovely people I have met through my creative ventures. I invested more time into developing the ink drawings, growing my body of work as well as exploring themes and ideas. I then looked at ways to extend my product range, started to produce cards, tea towels and also looking into getting my designs onto other products.
For the trade fair I had to decided what to take with me to show to the buyers, Should I take all of my designs (about 40!) or narrow my choice down to the most popular? I decided on the second option and to keep it as simple as I could. I didn't want to limit myself but at the same time, didn't want to over complicate things and overwhelm my customers with a huge selection of images. Then there was the decision to make about products. I had been exploring decals onto glass and ceramic, mugs, note-books etc. I wanted to do it all but was finding costings were too high and time to develop ideas was running out.
I selected 20 designs, four formats (cards, A3 and A4 prints and tea towels). Once the decision was made I felt happier and feel that the range was strong and product variety small but well-thought out with a good range of price points. So far I have recieved more order for my cards, but think this could be an ideal way for new stockists to test the market and if they sell well, they may want to buy prints in the future.
Another thing I want to mention is the range of your pricing. As with all selling it's good to have a broad range of prices, from lower cost items (for me this would be my cards, postcards and badges), medium range (my prints) and then higher cost items, or signature pieces, such as original artworks and commissions. Then your range is accessible for a wider audience.
Hope that's been helpful. I'd love to hear your comments...