Market Yourself by M Theresa Brown

Positive Tips for success

As much as we would all like to stay in our studios and create our artwork and never appear in public, the best chances for success include regular public appearances. Art and Craft shows are just one of the many opportunities for artists. They can be large and juried; small and non-juried but participating in one opens the door not only for sales of your art product, but to an ongoing  relationship with clients. Here are some positive tips for success!

Project a positive and upbeat attitude at all times.

Keep a guest book to accumulate names and addresses for your email or mailing list.

Mail or email a personalized flyer to your customers with a list of your upcoming shows once you know your schedule.

Be flexible and accommodating to your customers. Keep your promises for deliveries, special orders, etc.

Market yourself. You are your own best salesperson. Keep your display updated with new and exciting work.

Greet your customers with a friendly smile – but give them space to browse.

Make sure all your signage is professional in appearance.

Display your name and prices.

Proudly present your bio and business cards.

Take pride in your personal appearance.

Dress for success! Maintain your canopy, walls, browse boxes and pedestals and keep all in new condition.

When someone shows interest in your work offer any inspirations or background on the image / sculpture. This creates a personal bond between the patron, the work and you.

Follow up immediately after a show with emails and phone calls!

Take responsibility for your own success.  Art and Craft Shows give you the opportunity to participate in an art show, but cannot guarantee your sales. That is up to you!

Now for a few don'ts ...

*Don't fail to get your customers' addresses for your mailing list.

*Don't sit in the back of your booth and read a book.

*Don't ignore the customers who are in your booth.

*Don't pre-determine your customers' buying capabilities based on their appearance.

*Don't skip the shower or wear the same clothes you wore at set up.

*Don't smoke cigars or cigarettes in your booth.

*Don't be inflexible when it comes to your customers' satisfaction. It can hurt future sales for everyone.

*Don't let your artwork and booth become stale, outdated and boring.

*Don't project a negative attitude towards customers and fellow artists

TIPS for 3-D artist/crafters

Pedestals, at different levels are the best display pottery, ceramic, glass, sculpture and wood. Make sure pedestals are painted a nice clean color that enhances your work, or have them covered with a nice neutral fabric.

If you use tables, please be sure they are professionally covered and skirted to the ground. Absolutely no plastic covers, bedsheets or tablecloths should be used! All covers must be hemmed and all covered tables must have the same color scheme. No storage bins or boxes should be visible.


Anyone can put out tables and either lay jewelry on the table or on velvet necks for display. What we find the most attractive is wood or mica units, with or without glass, with either coral, stones, or whatever ideas you can come up with to enhance your jewelry. For example of you make Glass Jewelry have a few pieces of the loose glass on your cases/pedestals.

2-D Artwork

DIsplay hanging art in frames. Situate yourself so you are not blocking your entrance. Many booths are designed with a back flap where the artist can watch the booth and speak with customers yet not block the view. Professional tent makers for art shows have many wall examples and designs to enhance your booth at a show.  Have prints and surplus art at table level, in viewable containers, not on the floor. People simply do not stoop to look at most art!

Take a look at your displays and determine:

Is my display professional and aesthetically pleasing?

Is my entire display attractive and inviting to the public?

Have I made every effort to represent  myself to the best of my ability?

Suggested places where booths can be purchased:

Flourish 1-800-296-0049

Showoff 1-800-771-7469

Light Dome 1-800-351-8889

Pro Panels  1-800-525-4159

ACE Forums

Art Career Experts

Comments (4) -

Linda Everett

Love this, Theresa! BTW, I don't know who keeps giving your articles a  1 star...must be one of those unhappy artists, huh? Smile But this is timely information for me. Thank you for your practical wisdom!


Thank you for a wonderful article.  As an "old" artist I have been noticing that a lot of artists are no longer using table skirts & I wondered if this was a new trend.  So glad to see you stating they are required.  A booth does not look professional and the artist comes across to me as having thrown them self together last minute when I see a table without table cloth or skirt.  

I have also noticed in our area a trend towards more decoration on the tables & less product.  I was taught that your space is money and you don't waste it with non-essential items.  Only your artwork, signs,  business cards or flyers and maybe a bowl of wrapped candy should be on your display.   I don't even do the candy but many use to with the thought if you draw the children in the parents will follow.  

I would add one thing.  When a customer asks, "How did you do that?"  Don't be rude & act like they are trying to get state secrets out of you.  They are interested in your art and just want the basics, they don't want to steal your idea and set up a couple booths down next year.  Have a few simple steps you can share with them and most will be more than satisfied or impressed & the sale has been made.  When you are rude and secretive they simply walk on by & you wonder why you go home with empty pockets.  

Thanks again for such a well written article.


As a non-artist I was suprised a few years ago at a local, but nationally recognized art/street fair/market at the number of artist who simply sat back and read a book as people were looking at their work.  I am sure it gets exhausting explaining your process and making small talk with us, but if I am going to spend my good money on a piece I like, I want to be able to tell my friends about meeting this great artist, how wonderful s/he was, and what a find it was.  Maybe not all people feel this way, but I decided then and there I would not buy a piece from someone who was not friendly enough to even greet folks coming in to look at their work.  The piece regardless of what it is does have their energy in it, and if their energy is smugness I don't want that energy in my space.

Rita Marie

Thank you for this super article!  It's content is very timely for me as my first show is July 9th!  The recommendations for booth presentation will be taken seriously ~ as we are looking forward to meeting and greeting the public!  It will interesting to see and  hear their feedback as well as making some great new friends and acquaintences!  With much appreciation,  Rita Marie

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