Thinking of opening your studio or renting a space for a holiday sale of your handmade work? Use these tips for a successful event.
Announce your event early and often. If you want your holiday sale event to be remembered and marked on calendars, reach out to your audience on a repetitive basis. People are bombarded with all types of advertisements and offers. Simple and appealing reminders will help to bring in a crowd.
Contact the press. Connect with any reporters you may know from your local media; send press releases and invitations to attend. This type of publicity can be a huge boost for your holiday sale. If you have any photographs of your work or an event that you held in the past, send them to press members. This will increase your chance of getting a mention.
Get busy with your marketing. This includes traditional methods, such as flyers, postcards or even elegant invitations, plus newer techniques such as social media shares and ads, blog posts, and email blasts to your customer and prospect lists.
Offer an incentive. Feature a new series that won’t be shown elsewhere, like holiday ornaments made especially for your studio sale event. Offer door prizes for attendees who stop by. Or, have an “artist signing” or a special extra, such as a package of notecards with every purchase.
Make your open studio entrance welcoming. Lots of lights, holiday décor, and perhaps a large piece of your work or signage at the door will let customers know you are open for business and ready to receive them.
Greet your guests and join in conversation. When they show up, don’t be shy. You know your artist story. Be ready to speak with visitors and welcome them in to your studio. Tell about your technique, and your inspiration. Answer questions and engage. Which piece is their favorite, and why?
Serve refreshments. Food and drink are a part of most social events, and that includes your holiday sale. Don’t make it all about selling. Offer guests a glass of wine or a table of treats to enjoy while they browse and get to know you better.
Give a demonstration. Is your technique really fascinating? If possible, give a short demonstration while your sale is going on. If not, you might show a short video on a loop of the process you use to make your work.
Offer gift wrapping services. This is a wonderful customer service to offer. You might also consider free shipping (if applicable) or even free delivery and installation of larger work.
Display your work beautifully. Give each piece “breathing space” on your wall or table display. Include a card with title, medium, and a description next to each piece. Is your ceramic ware lead-free and oven safe? Is your work made from vintage materials? List them and their origin. Include extras, like recipes with serving ware, or care instructions with handmade clothing. Display your work in groupings for added impact and to suggest larger purchases to your audience.
Make sure prices are visible on all work for sale. Visitors won’t feel comfortable asking about a price, so make it easy and have everything clearly marked. If you are taking commissions, include brochures or information about this near the refreshment table.
Collect names, addresses and emails. Build your prospect list by having a guest book out to collect the names and contact information for those who want to hear from you about new work and events in the future. Then, create email marketing campaigns to stay in touch.
Follow up. Don’t forget to send thank you cards to your new collectors, and follow ups to people who are considering a purchase. You’ve done well by putting on an in-person event, because this is a great way to start building relationships. Consistent contact will increase your pool of potential customers and future guests.