Important Information & Tips for Artists
How to display - what's required to look your best at LAGO FEST
Pass the Fire Marshal test
Tips and tricks
Other great tips
Below are some things you NEED to know, and some things you probably know as well as tips and tricks to get you there.
Much of this was outlined in the artist application prospectus that you read and agreed to when applying. If you don't remember all the rules for exhibiting, please go back and review them now.
A really terrific site with tips on everything you could hope for as well as a forum to ask other artists about things is Art Fair Insiders:
10x10', preferably white.
If you don't yet have a tent, order one NOW. We have found a terrific option for new artists. This package includes tent, 4 side walls, weights, AND a rollerbag. Can't stress this enough. A good tent with all the fixin's is what you need. Remember, you are outdoors, rain or shine. In my nearly 20 years of doing art festivals around the country, I can't tell you how many times I've sold in the rain. I would simply keep (or put back on once rain started) my front sidewall and kept it unzipped but clipped back so people walking around could still see inside and shop. And they do! I've sold to people in there just trying to keep out of the rain. It became a little party. I had a captured audience of course. BUY TODAY: Recommended booth for starter artists. This is a great package: https://www.ecanopy.com/car-csc10x10.html
Selling when dark is easy when you have lights. A simple way to do this is get yourself a couple long 1x2s at Home Depot and attach strip lighting to it. Get some small wattage squiggly bulbs to attach. Rest the board with strip attached at an angle using the frame of your booth. Plug into an electrical cord (rated outdoors) and then into power, and boom, you're lit and ready to go. And when the light outside gets dim, you are nice and bright. Who's booth will they choose to shop now? You can run 300 watts of power for lights only. If you need a fan, please use batter-operated fans. You can even find these at CVS. Fans pull a lot of volts. So the 300 watt limit is for lights only.
Weights: Pass the Fire Marshal Test:
You MUST have each leg weighted. The Fire Marshal will be checking each booth the ensure you have weights for your safety and the safety of others. This also mean the safety of yours and your neighbors' artwork too, and is standard for all outdoor shows. I've been to too many big, national shows where the very best pros, with the best tents and best weights STILL crash down in storms. It's happened to me and cost me my entire set up and nearly every piece of art (all original framed pastels) to die with it. Devastating for sure. Don't let it happen to you!
Big show knocks down even the heaviest booths. Here's a great story to read about why weights are so important. This is written by a touring artist: https://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-survive-when-a-big
Tips on Displays
You are on display. Your work is on display. And you represent LAGO FEST ARTS. So make it your best. Customers make split second decisions on which artist booth to visit. Think out of the box. Your display should look like a professional gallery. Spend time on it. You are competing for sales - it's just a fact - and customers tend to make split second decisions whether to visit your booth or not. We're all in it together - fellow artists. So learn from each other. There are so many creative options. Read more tips below and visit the handy links to give you some more ideas. Scroll down to read some tips and finish by looking at the examples. You'll see how these artists incorporate the tips listed here.
Walls for Every Artist: Having nice walls not only makes things in your booth look professional, but allows you to hang your branded signs, artwork, and photos of small work. (see jewelry booth example below.) Armstrong and Pro Panels work well. I've used Pro Panels since my very first show back in the 90s. I still have the same set. They look great, are super easy to use, and last forever! I use velcro tags to hang my paintings, or curtain hooks for really heavy paintings. I print my price tags on card stock, cut so they are all the same size, then use a little velcro on the back to stick to the walls. Pro Panels are carpeted in a wide range of colors. Can't recommend these enough. This is what most 2D artists use for sure, and plenty of jewelers, potters, 3D artists use as well. You can find artist Facebook pages or Ebay where people sell their used panels. To look for new ones, visit the following link. They are such a great investment. Your display at the show will look its best, and your booth shots will be professional. Here's the link where you can buy them from the manufacturer: https://www.propanels.com/product-category/allpanels/.
Wearable Artists: Use good hangers made of wood or velvet. Avoid wire hangers at all costs. As people are browsing, mention they are welcome to try things on. Many artists create a small dressing room in a corner of their booths with a drape for privacy. Have two full length mirrors to accommodate multiple customers. Make sure the frame of the mirror compliments your display.
Bonus tip: If customers can’t find their size, offer to do a custom order for them, exactly how they want.
Jewelry Artists: Make sure your cases sparkle, mirrors are clean, and your table skirts and clothes wrinkle free. Display your items on different levels. Putting all your items flat on one table is okay, but raising some to eye level is where the action is. People shop from a distance. If other people are bent over looking at your work, those walking past can't see it. Customers love to look around. Keep there heads moving, site line interesting, and they will stay longer. Take your pieces out of your case and show them to the customer. Take out one piece at a time so you can manage your work better. Help customers try on necklaces and bracelets. Show them how easy your work is to put on…many people are using magnetic clasps or oversize clasps these days for that very reason.
Have at least two mirrors in your booth to accommodate multiple customers.
Give true and honest feedback…the customer will appreciate your finding the best piece for them. Bonus tip: Use a mirror that is large enough for the person to see themselves, not just a small inexpensive plastic one. Everything in your booth can validate the value of your art, even your mirror.
Accessory Artists: Repaint shelving units as needed. Tip: take a brush and small container of your wall paint to a festival for last minute touch ups.
Bonus Tip: Always have glass cleaner, paper towels, and extra hangers when you are traveling to a show.
2D Artists: (painters, photographers, 2D mixed media): Again, a great set of walls are ProPanels, but there are so many other creative ways to make walls. Google it and you'll see how creative many traveling artists can be. ang your work on nice walls.
Don't put all your work in flip racks. Hang framed work on nice walls. (see ProPanels above.) Consider keeping things looking professional and neat by either framing in all the same style, or grouping by frame style. Not only does this look nicer, but encourages customers to buy in multiples! Don't lay artwork on the ground as this can be seen as devaluing your work.
All of your storage should be neatly hidden behind your booth or under your shelves or covered tables. Yes, tables must be covered. Please no big floral, lace, etc. Keep it serene so the focus is on your WORK, not the table covering. Keeping things neat is also why you need walls. No one wants to see your neighbors storage behind your booth. You share that space with the artist behind you.
you are a jeweler or sell other small items, raise them up on different levels. You can use all sorts of things for this - small boxes, interesting cubes found at Michael's, etc. IKEA may have some things to use.
Tips to Increase Email/Mailing List
Artists, have a guest book in your booth at shows where people can sign up for news on you and your upcoming shows. Add the new names to your official email list after every show. - Prepare and send emails to your entire list with images of your art. Stay in touch with prospects and customers. Talk about what you’re working on this week, the last festival you were in and where you will be next. Provide interesting info and keep your readers engaged.
Tips on Pricing
Artists, use nice price tags on your work to better establish your prices for the public. No visible prices give the customer the impression that your prices are arbitrary and open to negotiation. But you never want to put huge TWO FOR ONE SALE or DISCOUNT signs up in your booth. You can put them down near your work, but hanging big signs on your walls tends to cheapen your work in the eyes of customers. Keep it professional. Get them in your booth with good looks, then describe what they are seeing and all other things related to pricing.
Use price tags or small signs. You can buy them or make them. What they look like can be as original as your art.
Painters and 2d artists should never adhere a price to the surface of a piece as it reduces the importance of that piece. I prefer all price tags at the lower right corner below a piece. Sloppy, handwritten price tags look like you don't really care.
Jewelers: You can attach price tags to pieces with thin thread or string,
Accessory artists: Creative price tags or unique signs work well.
Final Thought: Be confident in your pricing. If you believe it’s a great price for the piece and the amount of work you put into it, stand tall and stand behind your pricing.
Bonus Tip: Consider having work in different price points so many different types of buyers can collect your work. 10 pieces sold at $100 = one piece at $1,000. Make booth fees with lower price point work.
Now, can you see what these folks are doing well at? Consider these examples when creating your best display.
This artist is using ProPanels. I've done shows with him. His work is stunning and display is eye catching. He is using drapery hooks pushed into the carpeted walls to hang his art. These are easily found at Hobby Lobby.
This jeweler has done a great job of creating her display tables. They are waist high - you don't want customers to have to bend over to see your work. Her cases are clean. She has two nice mirrors. She has large photos of her work. Jewelers and other artists who sell small items are at a bit of a disadvantage for grabbing customers into their booth from a distance. The photos of her work help customers see from afar what she is selling.
Here's a great pottery booth. Notice how the art is displayed throughout the booth at different levels? Also take a look at how beautifully they have covered their tables. This artist is using her tent's sidewalls, but she has added a classy touch with a professionally printed sign. The font is part of her overall brand.
This artist is using the same shelves as the one above. Often they are folding shelves and can easily slide into your van for travel. Notice that her sales table and back stock is hidden behind a wall in the back center of her booth. Also notice how she has some nice plants. Having some fresh flowers in your booth really perks up the place! I usually buy some at HEB or other regional grocery store while stocking up on food before the show.
This painter has all the same frames and it really shows nicely. They also use what I've used at my shows, cushy flooring tiles. (Although I've used a nice rug on top too that compliments the flowers that I bring.) I love this flooring. Customers walk in and are subconsciously in love. Look at how nicely they've covered their tables! Their sales table in the back has also been neatly covered and sales book put away in hidden shelves underneath. She has a podium out front with her artist statement, cards, and probably a mailing list.
This artist is a pro on the circuit for... decades. (younger than ever.) She sells exquisite pottery and chooses to display it on ProPanel walls and podiums. She always has fresh flowers and a sales table with cards and a mailing list.
This artist sells glass. Notice how she raises it on different levels as well as on the wall. Also notice how her table coverings are simple letting the artwork do the talking.
Yes, you caught me. This is my booth at a show. I can see several things to improve on, but all in all you can see some things I've mastered over the years. Since this picture was taken years and years ago, I changed my lights using the long strip lights which are much nicer looking and easier to put up. I always put a big "highlight" piece in the back facing the customer to bring them into the booth. I create angles in the walls to make them come in and look around. I have different frames - gold and black - but group them like to like. People love buying multiples. I always bring in fresh flowers, or in this case a plant. I was starting to burn out and get a little lazy. I do have a mailing list (have hundreds of names) and an artist statement in back to give customers an understanding of my work and process which is unique - soft pastels. As always, I have plenty of weight on my legs even though I have a very heavy booth (Lite Dome) that is attached to my ProPanels. Very heavy and secure, but still has swayed quite a bit in storms.
Tips on Customer Interactions
Give out business cards to people who buy your art and those who are interested but not ready to buy. Have tons on hand and don’t run out. Many artists put their booth number on the back of their card for those potential customers who are in “walking the show” mode. Your business card should feature one or two strong images of your art, your name, phone number, email, and web site. If it fits, include the social media icons that you are on (Facebook, twitter, etc). A card without an image does not continue to promote you…and will most likely be tossed in the round filing cabinet.
Bonus Tip: There are many different types of paper you can print your business cards on. Select your paper with care.
Tips for Increasing Interest and Sales
Artists, have a quick script that you can use to explain a SIMPLIFIED version of your process. It helps to have pieces in process or raw materials on hand to use as you talk (think 5th grade reports and visual aids.) Be to the point, short but sweet. Longer is not better. When people understand all that goes into your art, they will be more likely to buy.
If you tell the story about how that piece came to be, the customer is now a part of that story and feels that connection to you and the art.
Bonus Tip: Do a live demonstration in your booth or if that is not possible, think about photos or a video on a laptop.
ARTIST LOAD IN
Load in can begin at 7:30 AM. Booths will be assigned when you arrive. Often you can choose your spot. There will be a host at the production entrance (see map) who will assist you in finding a spot. Once parked and ready to set up, please visit the artist hospitality tent behind the artist booths to check in. (see the white square H on the map.) Once checked in you can start unloading. Please unload and move your vehicle to artist parking before setting all the way up. This allows other artists to get to their booths to unload as well.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR WEIGHTS! The Fire Marshal will be checking.
If you are going to use lights, please remember the 300-watt limit for lights only. Low wattage squiggly bulbs work very well and can be purchased at Home Depot. (see lighting tricks above.)
Below is the production map. Notice the production entrance. There will be volunteers both at the entrance to the park and entrance to the field who will be on hand to direct you.
If you have any questions before the show, contact Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 512.267.1155. If you need to reach someone on Thursday, May 9 - Friday, May 10, please call or text 734.674.7542. Volunteer and artist coordinator will be there during the show to assist you in any way.
We're excited to see all of you creative people on Saturday, May 11th. It's going to be an awesome day!