Selling images at local fair

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by darich, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    I'm going to a local craft fair at a nearby high school and will be attempting to sell photos. There will be local craft people selling all sorts of things and lots of parents and teachers associated with the school so I think there is a good potential to make quite a bit of money. I'll be offering my prints at reduced prices compared to my website to encourage people to buy.

    I've arranged around 40prints at 15 x 10 as samples and will take 2 or 3 30 x 20 framed images as props.
    I was planning on recording customer's details and arranging prints once the order is in rather than gamble on lots of orders and receiving none. I'd then post the images to the customer.

    I've pretty much decided on my pricing but was wondering if anyone had any pointers on what to do/no do or say/not say?
    If i'm asking for full payment up front am i likely to reduce my sales? I'm only talking about prices around the £20 so it's not hugely expensive.

    any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Maybe it's just me...but I don't think I would pay for something...If I couldn't walk away with it...especially at a fair.

    If you want to sell at a fair...you should have prints on hand to sell. Deciding on how many to bring...well that's a tough question...and only experience can help you determine that. I do like the idea of having a large framed print as an example...and then selling smaller prints of that image.
     
  3. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

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    I agree with mike....I only buy prints from people with them on hand. I would invest in prints of your best pieces and bring them along. You could still have a portfolio on hand for people to go through if they want to custom order something from you.
     
  4. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys

    I should have said that the fair is organised by the school PTA board so everyone there is known to the school. That makes it a bit easier (hopefully) for someone to order rather than walk away with a print.

    I do have some duplicates and spares but in general people will have to order and i'd send the image on to them.
    They'll have comfort in the fact that all my details are registered with the school so if anyone feels i've ripped them off they know they can get in touch with me.

    The other reason i've not arranged lots of prints is that what i like isn't necessarily what's popular or what's popular isn't necessarily what i'd think would be so i can't second guess the market.....especially if it's non-photographers buying prints - in those cases you have no idea what they'll like!
     
  5. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    Exactly what i have arranged.
    I've a portfolio of some larger prints, 2 folders of smaller prints and a few prints framed. all will be on display for people to look at and inspect.

    But i've no idea what will be popular...if anything!!!
     
  6. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    So how did it go or didn't you have the fair yet? I've debated on doing the same thing but the way I was thinking to approach it would be to let a few friends choose the pics with me just so it wouldn't be heavily biased towards my opinions. I agree totally though... after awhile it becomes hard to tell what is "sellable".

    I'd agree with the others though. I think you need to appeal to the impulse buyers that will want to walk away with something. Depending on the circumstances though it might not be as hard as you'd think especially if the fair is 2 days or so and you could get to a processor that would turn around good prints quickly.

    For me... I think I'd bite the bullet and make a ton of prints the first time around anticipating that I'll leave with extras. Record some data on how many prints sold and how many people looked at your stuff and then you should be able to start forcasting for the next fair. Ideally you want to leave with 100% of your inventory sold without turning away 1 customer but until you know what sells you'd just have to decide if you'd rather leave with extra prints or have some type of ordering system set up and turn them away empty handed.

    Something else I thought to do was split the tent the first time with a friend. That way I'm cutting my expenses and won't take as big of a hit if I leave with $$$ invested in unsold inventory.
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Throw my hat in the ring for the spring. I think Im going to go at it a little differently. Im going to do a few prints, couple of dozen maybe, put them in loose plastic sheets. Then Im going to invest in a few frames three or four maybe more if I can get a really good deal. Then the customer picks the print and the frame and I'll put it together right there for them.

    I just hate the idea of framing prints no one buys. Loose they will just be ready for another show. Customers (from my previous experiences) might love a print but hate the frame or visa versa. Either will keep them from buying. I'm not sure if it is a good idea or not but what the heck one box of frame and cardboard backs isn't a really big deal.

    Then I'm going to do a few posters that can be hung with thumbtacks or framed. Those will be very inexpensive to make and display. Im also going to haul a few old cameras around and do retro portraits. Email the proofs to the people no money changes hands at the show for those.

    Who knows how any of that will work out.
     
  8. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    Been on holiday hence the delay in replying.

    The fair was on Nov 15. It turned out to be horrible weather - windy and heavy rain and the common concencus is that it affected the attendance. Very few stall holders sold anything. I did sell one image though and considering that most sold very little or nothing I was fairly happy. I split the table with my mum who sells hand made cards to lessen the outlay.

    I made some business cards and handed a few out to people who showed an interest. I received lots of positive comments - "very nice", "beautiful" and was even asked if I was the person whose name was on the prints!!

    One woman was toying with the idea of buying an image right at the start - i said i had more on my website and gave her a card and she immediately said that she'd check the site first before buying anything. I had talked myself out of a sale!!!

    As for taking prints - i took a few larger ones (30x20) that i had and arranged around 25 prints at 15x10. I decided that i'd sell whatever i had just to get the sales rather than take orders.

    The school has declared the night a success since the PTA who organized it made several hundred pounds from people renting tables, the raffle, and the tombola. Another will be organized in the spring or summer and on a saturday morning where the turnout should hopefully be much better and improve everyone's chances of selling.

    I'll be at that one too so will post a message on my success, or lack of it!!

    I'm just back from NYC so I'm planning to update my site over the next week or so and have new images to sell at the fair.
     
  9. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Nice... good to hear. I think if you're looking to do several of these you don't have to worry about the unused prints as you can just pack em up and then take them to the next fair. I might have to get up cajones to do this one of these seasons. :lol:
     
  10. SHUTTERtoSPEAK

    SHUTTERtoSPEAK TPF Noob!

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    I have seen people selling their photography at craft shows and stuff like that. They have a bunch on display and framed and at least 8x10 in size. They also have a bunch on a cardboard backing and plastic wrapped and placed so that people can thumb through them like one would flip through a vinyl record collection (best analogy I could think of). You would need a decent amount of selections, sizes and inventory (even frames to sell for an additional cost) but people would be impressed and see that you mean business.
     

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