Friday, July 13, 2007

Show Thoughts

Some random thoughts from the booth:

1. When people are buying jewelry, they will often buy something that goes with what they are wearing. This may be because it is what looks best when they try it on and look in the mirror. It may be a clue about what colors they like. It may be a reflection of the mood they were in that day and the colors they were drawn to. Who knows? I just know that I have seen myself reacting when someone puts something on and it goes perfectly with what they are wearing. It happened at least three times yesterday. I finally took note of this phenomenon yesterday.

2. Stories matter. If people are interested in your work...they linger. They ask questions, is a sign that they want to know more. What can you share about your inspiration. What can you tell them about the process....not technical so much as perhaps your creative journey with a design or a piece. It helps people develop an added connection with the work beyond the superficial. This is part of why people by craft from the artist. What are your stories?

3. Size matters. When it comes to jewelry purchases size matters. If you can have a variety of scale and proportions in your designs it will help your sales. A petite woman will seldom be able to wear the very large piece. A scaled down version may have the same impact on her. And visa versa. A teeny piece on a large woman just does not work as well as a larger, bolder design. See if you can present a range of sizes, and still be true to your design sensibilities.....your creative challenge for today! You do not need to stray from your voice and vision. But be aware. One size fits all did not work with panty hose. It won't work with jewelry either.

4. When someone is wearing all gold and gemstone jewelry they are not a good candidate for my work....plastic! Heavens no! LOL! Seriously, if I do not see color in the jewelry they are wearing, they will probably not have much interest in my work.

5. Clay is not always ceramic. The world still does not know much about polymer clay. I had someone tell me my vessels were not clay. They were not heavy enough. They were quite adamant about this. Of course, once I explained more about what polymer clay was, and how once it is cured it is the equivalent of PVC, and with the same properties of strength, flexibility and durability it was definitely NOT something they were interested in. At other shows I have had people absolutely certain my vessels were gourds, or decopage or porcelain. Or that my cranes were made of fabric or leather. Or the designs on the cranes were painted on. For someone who has to be right from the start, learning it is something else may create a shift they cannot accept.

On the other hand, some people love that they are surprised by what media I am using. They are intriqued and want to learn more about it. These are the people I will spend my time talking with. They are interested and interesting. They are open to the world and to learning more. The others will probably feel unsettled in my world and should probably visit a different booth.

6. You never know what tidbits you will learn in the conversations with others. A visitor to my booth yesterday told me of an artist I had never heard of. My work reminded her of his paintings. Here is a Google image link to his work; Hundertwasser. I will definitely be spending some time looking at these images when I get back home.

7. People remember you, and are thrilled if you remember them. They will often give you a hint of the connection. If you are able to pull up any information about that previous encounter from your memory, they will likely feel even more connected to you and your work. Someone who stopped by yesterday had mentioned purchasing a pepper from me last year. I was able to remember which one it was, and describe it a bit. She was thrilled. She stayed longer. Brought her son over to see my work. Mentioned how she has been hinting to family members about getting another piece. I was happy to hear that she was enjoying my work so much, and she was happy to know that I remembered her purchase.

You don't need to remember every detail, but if the recognition is there on some level, don't be afraid to mention it if it seems appropriate.

Plans for today: Today I am going to rearrange my booth a bit. Play around with where the vessels and jewelry are placed.....maybe mix them up instead of seperating them. I am also going to see if I can notice more around that first observation of color. Does this carry over into the purchase of a vessel or crane? Perhaps I will recommend a piece for someone more readily now having seen this phenomenon play out again and again.

The booth is a laboratory for observation as much as a place to transact business. I don't get to see these things play out in person when I am in my studio and my work is in a gallery. And the hours at a show can be long. What I learn can help me in the studio. It can help me when I sell my work to a gallery. Become an observer of the process as much as a part of it.


Anonymous said...

Good advice you have. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Barbara Forbes-Lyons said...

Thanks for the link to that artist! What great inspiration.