Thoughts on Selling at Craft Fairs/Cons?

  • This year I really want to push my art business to the next level! My boyfriend has been pushing me to go to fairs to show off my art and make some sales. I believe that's a great idea, but I don't feel like my artwork would do well at craft fairs or art fairs. I have done a few in the past where I just made enough money to cover expenses and last fair I got a commission (yay!). I'm not sure the reason why I haven't done well. Ethier my art doesn't fit with the fair crowd or I suck at selling. ๐Ÿ˜› I might do okay at cons but I have never tried. What do you guys think? Should I skip the fairs and go to cons or do both? Have you ever gone to craft fairs, art shows or cons?

    Here are a few pieces of my art to show what I am selling:

    0_1516400387692_GiftsoftheForest_ArielleShearer.png 0_1516400399901_GoblinTreasure_ArielleShearer.png 0_1516400416304_Storytime_ArielleShearer.png 0_1516400425631_TheListner_ArielleShearer.png

  • SVS OG

    I haven't done either cons or fairs for selling just art. I have done craft fairs and sold things like hand sewn dolls and block printed cards and jewelry and things. But, when it comes to art I dont feel like I have the skill level yet. Art,
    whether a print or an original, has little practical purpose, so it can be a bit harder justifying buying it. An earring can be worn or a card written in and mailed to someone, so its easier for people to justify a purchase. Personally, I only put out money for a print or an original if I really really love the piece or have been following the artist for a while and want to support them. That may seem cheap, but we have a family and a budget. I hang art on the wall or stick it on my desk, but doesn't do anything aside from make me happy. So, when we are tight on money I don't justify "impractical" purchases at all. Anyway, Because that's how I am with money, I haven't even tried to get my own art into a fair or a con. If I get enough pieces (at a skill level that I feel matches the professionals I see) and I have a decent following online or wherever, then I might consider it. I see a lot of the artists I follow on Instagram telling their 300k followers "Im at booth number ___! Come see me this weekend if you're in this city!!' And I have no doubt they do well. But just to show up and sit among them with my 900 followers and try to, in essence, compete with their art for business. Yea, I'm not there yet. Although, I'm not sure I'll ever reach that "confident" state as an artist. It seems to be a pretty elusive feeling no matter how much I learn.

    I'm interested to hear what other people's experience is though. I tend to be very self-critical, so I have a hard time putting my art out there.

  • I love your dragon with the mandala background. I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate mendalas and the way you've done it really helps to emphasize your focal points.

    I am a bigger fan of cons than art/craft fairs (as @Pamela-Fraley said, at many fairs you are competing against food and jewerly, and my observation is that a lot of people like to look at the art but aren't there to buy it). Although at cons the art/print competition is really fierce. In all, I find cons more fun (I guess that's personal preference) - please note, I've sold at art fairs, but not cons so my opinion is worth nothing. That being said...

    @Will-Terry has a series of great videos on YouTube that go into detail about his experience with selling at cons
    (A summary one is HERE but he did one for each con he attended and gives real-world advice about them).

    Also, a great podcast for independent artists in the fantasy genre is One Fantastic Week. They recommend attending any con you think you'd want to sell at and get a feel for it and where your art would fit in before you invest in a table.

  • @pamela-fraley

    That makes sense about craft fairs. At fairs, people tend to create "practical" things that you can use like crochet hats and wooden spoons. It is easy for people to buy those items because they can see a use for it right away. I know when I am at a craft fair I feel like buying cute quirky gifts for myself or others and not so much art. Now that I think about, I tend to buy a lot of art when I go to cons ๐Ÿ˜• Another point for cons!

    I wouldn't worry about having a large number of followers before going to a con or fair! One of the reasons for going to a fair/con is to grow your following. I have like 40 people on Facebook and 200 on Instagram and I had people coming up to me who said they saw my art on Social Media. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @pam-boutilier

    Thank you! I love mandalas and zen tangle but it's hard to find places to put in the artwork without making it too busy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Having that competition is scary at cons. There are so many artists, it can be tricky to stick out. Plus many of them are focused on fanart. I don't mind other artists doing fanart, it just makes me worry that is the only thing that sells at cons. ๐Ÿ˜• I may have to try one just to find out.

    I will look into Will Terry's videos about cons! I didn't realize he did them! I will check it out, thanks!

    I LOVE One Fantastic Week, but I have only listened to one or two of their talks. Maybe I should play them as I draw. C: I like the idea of going to cons before I get a table. There are a few cons around where I am at but I like to consider them as Baby Cons. They seem really small and I am not sure they even have artists there.

  • SVS OG

    @durribie wow! Thatโ€™s awesome. Iโ€™m a little isolated up here too. We live in a fishing village in Alaska. There arenโ€™t any cons here at all. โ˜บ๏ธ

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