Sunday, April 19, 2009

There's change in the wind

During this year’s Spring 4th Ave show in Tucson AZ. the most talked about theme amongst artists centered around if the economy was already hurting their sales. Most said yes, sales were down from 2008 and because 2008 trended down from 2007 this was starting to worry them.

Some of the more optimistic ones (myself included) recognized that sales in certain price points were off but if you adjusted your product mix to include more affordable sizes than you stocked before, the total dollar amount for each shows weren’t that bad. Those artists who chose do “dig in” and not adjust with the market were the one’s complaining the loudest.

4th Ave was no different. Arizona has been hard hit by the down turn in the economy so as artists we needed to recognize this and give the public what they want. Most art festival attendees want to leave the show with a piece of art they love AND can afford. Just because certain artists have been known in the past as higher end, selling mostly originals, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can only offer this mix today. If all you’re after is a crowd coming into your booth and admiring your art yet leaving empty handed, keep doing it the way you’ve always did, but don’t complain.

If on the other hand you want to make your living selling your art, give the public what they want and be happy. Cycles change, you can always go back to offering higher ends works when people’s financial situations change, but if you still want to be in business to when this happens, adjust.

Stepping off soapbox now.

1 comment:

David Forster said...


Interesting read about the Tucson show. I agree with everything that you pointed out. However I really believe that in this so called down economy that having a positive attitude is a must. If we as traveling artists complain, have a sour attitude it will definitely result is lost sales. Also like you stated having a mix of price points of items in your booth is also important as well. But I also feel that knowing what your true cost of the items that you sell is also important.

I just returned from the Tulip Festival where my sales we up 20% over last year. To get those sales I had to be somewhat flexible on my prices. I feel that this year people what to walk away with feeling that they got a deal. Now that does not mean giving away the kitchen sink. But giving someone a discount of 10% is not going to kill my profit margin. The customer walks away happy and I am happy that a sale was made. All in all it is a win win situation.

David Forster
Light Capture Photography