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View Full Version : Today - My Best and Worst Fete!


Zuiko
22nd September 2012, 09:34 PM
Some of you may remember my ill-fated venture into running a stall at craft fairs and fetes last year. The local school is right on our doorstep, so no petrol expenses, and I decided to give it one last try at their "Fun Day" today, but with a difference.

I focussed on redeeming the investment I have already made in prints and cards, rather than attempting to make an actual profit. Indeed, I priced my stock just below cost price in an effort to shift it. After the first hour, with no sales and few visitors, I began to think my work was so bad I couldn't give it away! However, things gradually improved as the afternoon wore on and I sold 14 framed prints, 11 mounted prints and 6 cards, for a total of 168 after paying the 10 pitch fee. That is by far my best takings to date, but at a loss against the cost of those items. Never mind, last year's investment is now water under the bridge and today's takings do put real money in my pocket!

It was quite amusing at times. One chap, who is an artist, asked where I got my framing done and what it cost. He looked a little puzzled when I quoted a price that was just a little higher than what I was actually charging for my prints, so I had to explain that I was selling at a slight loss in oder to, hopefully, increase the volume of sales.

Several people picked mounted prints out of the browser and asked if I could supplied them framed. They were a little taken aback when I said I'd have to charge more than the framed prints I was offering today, so once again I had to explain that I was selling at a loss to shift stock, but freshly commissioned work had to be priced at a profit! Do people think I really make a profit selling a 16x12 print, mounted, framed, glazed and ready to hang for 12.00? :eek:

On the plus side I had many nice comments about my work, although it could have been purely out of politeness; not many people will tell you it's rubbish even if they think it. Two people made the classic comment, "You must have a really good camera"....... I just bit my tongue, smiled sweetly and agreed that I had.........resisting the temptation to say, "Yes, I just send it out by itself at 5.00am whilst I have another 3 hours in bed," or "No, actually, it's a really cr*ppy Olympus E-3 which gets laughed off all the forums, just think what I could do if I bought a Nikon instead."

I should have displyed a sign saying "All my own work," because several people assumed that, at the price, I had just acquired some cheap stock to shift. I wonder if the cheap prices put some people off? "They can't possibly be good at that price?" Next time I might try the opposite strategy; price outrageously high. Imagine this scenario:-

"You're welcome to look, Sir, but I don't think you can afford these prices."

"Who says I can't afford them? I'll have those two at 400.00 each, thank you very much!"

Dream on! I must have been at Seonnaidh's Laphroaig! :o

LMGruchy
22nd September 2012, 10:03 PM
I'm glad you were able to shift the stock, but it's galling to not make a profit from it.

I think you should offer 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 tuition. Loads of people have DSLRs nowadays but don't really get the best out of them.

Zuiko
22nd September 2012, 10:24 PM
I'm glad you were able to shift the stock, but it's galling to not make a profit from it.

I think you should offer 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 tuition. Loads of people have DSLRs nowadays but don't really get the best out of them.

Thanks Linda,

I think that what worries me about running courses (apart from the fact that I no longer take landscapes as well as I once did) is the fear of having a bad day healthwise and not functioning very well.

theMusicMan
22nd September 2012, 10:47 PM
You should ask them if they had a nice dinner... if they say yes, then say you must have nice pots and pans then :)

Glad it went well for you, John.

Zuiko
23rd September 2012, 12:00 AM
You should ask them if they had a nice dinner... if they say yes, then say you must have nice pots and pans then :)

Glad it went well for you, John.

Thanks John. Debbie does nice paintings, but she has got good brushes! :D

Ann1e
23rd September 2012, 11:14 AM
On the plus side I had many nice comments about my work, although it could have been purely out of politeness; not many people will tell you it's rubbish even if they think it.

You do yourself an injustice, John. Generally, if people think it's rubbish, they say nothing!

Well done for getting your stall up and running once again. It takes a fair bit of planning and effort, even when you have your stock all ready and waiting. It's so difficult to pitch prices at the correct level and it seems you probably did just that for your purposes. Congratulations.

Regards,
Ann1e

Zuiko
23rd September 2012, 11:29 AM
Thanks Anne,

I was pleased with the result, it's recouped a very worthwhile amount of money and also allieviated the storage problems at home!

Pricing is a very strange thing. I expected to sell more than 6 cards priced at just 50p each - I've often sold more at twice the price! I've still got some on display in the local gallery and last week a customer enquired the price of one she liked. The gallery manager couln't remember (should have been 1.00) so he told her 2.50. She bought it! If I could regularly sell at that price I'd be rich! :D

wanderer
23rd September 2012, 11:54 AM
The gallery manager couln't remember (should have been 1.00) so he told her 2.50. She bought it!

Is that not proof of high prices working?

I've always thought that over-rated artists charge vastly high-prices for their work and get away with it. you must find out when they do the 'arrogance' classes at art college and enrol.:D

David M
23rd September 2012, 12:51 PM
Why not price them at cost if you want to have a clear out rounding up to the nearest 50p or 1.

Zuiko
23rd September 2012, 01:53 PM
Why not price them at cost if you want to have a clear out rounding up to the nearest 50p or 1.

That's virtually what I've done, David, just to recover as much of my investment as possible. :)

Zuiko
23rd September 2012, 01:57 PM
Is that not proof of high prices working?

I've always thought that over-rated artists charge vastly high-prices for their work and get away with it. you must find out when they do the 'arrogance' classes at art college and enrol.:D

I have heard of people who will not buy a picture they like if they consider it too cheap. Whether it's because they don't trust their own judgement and need the reassurance of a high price to confirm the quality, I don't know. It could, of course, simply be a matter of bragging rights within their social group.

David M
23rd September 2012, 03:08 PM
Sorry John, I thought you'd said you were selling at less than cost.

kidslateinlife
23rd September 2012, 03:20 PM
I have heard of people who will not buy a picture they like if they consider it too cheap. Whether it's because they don't trust their own judgement and need the reassurance of a high price to confirm the quality, I don't know. It could, of course, simply be a matter of bragging rights within their social group.


As ridiculous as it sounds, it's absolutely correct.

Not just pictures, people like to think they have received a good deal, try marking them up at

Were 49.50 Now 12.99 to clear

As was also said, don't undervalue your images or your prices, or for that matter yourself. Selling is about confidence in whatever you have to offer.

I am glad you have had some success in recouping, and can hear some of the prospective customer comment's now.

Seonnaidh
23rd September 2012, 08:03 PM
John you have been very unfortunate in being unable to sell your work.
I am genuinely saddened by the fact that things are not working out as you had hoped.
Two points in the replies you have had certainly have had a bearing on our new business venture this year.
My wife and I have opened a Tearoom and "Fine Art Photography Gallery"
My wife Linda is a cooking/baking fanatic and the sales pitch has been

"The Wee Tea Room. Where the Art of Fine Home Baking meets Fine Art Photography"
We have purposely aimed our venture at the upper end of the market. We don't refuse
any sector of the public entry but we don't sell pepsi, burgers, crisps, chocolate, chips
or any form of fast food. This seems to deter those we don't need and encourages those who we do need. Normally middle aged couples or thirty something professional couples, who appreciate a calm quiet atmosphere in which to have a nice cup of tea or freshly ground coffee along with
home made cakes, scones, sandwiches/ rolls (all bread baked on the premises) home made soup, and apple pie.
Whilst enjoying their repast they can study the prints framed on the walls and/or go through the browsers.
When we first started at Easter a 20"x16" double mounted open edition print was 35.00
We didn't sell many at all. yet people regularly commented on how reasonably priced they were. Then a very good friend who also runs a gallery in the highlands told us to double all our prices. They also suggested that if people were reluctant to buty suggest they visited other galleries where the prints were "more affordable" and to use those exact words.

Nett result? Sales increased dramatically, an average days takings for prints and greetings cards has been exactly 117.87p. How we get 87p beats me because all our prints are sold in round figures, no pence.

I guess what I am saying is keep on going but maybe modify your approach. Make them want your work by making it seem relatively unobtainable.

We also sell framed prints in several very up market hotels and restraunts, certainly not the local chippy . I know how arrogant this sounds but I need to earn a living and providing I describe our products accurately and produce a very high quality product then every one is a winner.

PeterBirder
23rd September 2012, 09:42 PM
This thread has produced some interesting observations on people's willingness,or otherwise, to buy a product on the basis of its price versus their perception of its "value".

Surprisingly this is not restricted to "Joe Public" making relatively small acquisitions but in my own experience can apply in commercial purchasing as well. Fifty years ago ( God, that's half a century) I was serving my technical apprenticeship with a local scientific instrument manufacturer. Their products all relied on the measurement of light via selenium photoelectric cells which was their original product. Applications ranged from instruments used in pathology labs to test blood and other body fluids through dope testing of racehorses, colour temperature meters for photographers, whisky blending (really) to measuring the purity of boiler feed water and the amount and granular size of soot going up the chimneys in power stations. So, hard headed commercial customers. Well, we had one instrument which only ever sold in dribs and drabs but every time the accountants decided it wasn't worth keeping the design in the catalogue a distributor would place an order for just enough to make " one last batch" viable.The MD eventually got fed up with this and rather than withdrawing the product, which it was feared might be interpreted as an indication of some sort of problem in the company he decided to double the price "to stop people ordering them". What happened was that orders started flowing in from new customers and overseas distributors and we ended up producing a "new model" which was really the same instrument in a more up to date case, at an even higher price.

Funny old World.*yes

Zuiko
24th September 2012, 08:11 AM
Thanks Jon and Peter for relating your experiences, they confirm what I suspected.

Peter, that was most entertaining!

Jon, you've "sold" your business to me! If I ever get up to Skye again I will definitely visit your tea room to enjoy some real coffee and home made baking! Aren't people strange? You'd think that if a print is considered good value at 70.00 it would be seen as an irresistable bargain at 35.00, but obviously it doesn't work that way!

Having now cleared most of my stock I'm reluctant to invest any further in this avenue. I might try placing more work with picture libraries, a tricky, over-saturated market with no guarantee of success but at least the only investment is my time. I've made a small sale though both Fine Art America and Alamy this year, which is encouraging as I only have 20 images with the former and perhaps a couple of dozen with the latter. There's no reason why sales shoulndn't increase if I made the effort to upload hundreds or even thousands more, it just requires me to make the effort.

The other option I could fall back on is to return to the editorial market. It's a lot more competitive and generally less well rewarded (and that's saying something) than it was when I last dabbled some years ago, but hey, it might give my photography a renewed sense of purpose, require no financial investment, and any sale would be a welcome bonus.

The big drawback for both these options is that they would tie me even more to my computer; at least the craft stalls got me out and about.

Chevvyf1
24th September 2012, 09:01 AM
John, I am so glad your stock is gone and your pocket heavy with funds :) ... I concurr with Seonnaidh :)

I also put 1/25 to 25/25 Limited Edition as they are :) when printed in that batch of 25 and signed and dated eg 25th September 2012 as Jon says that is what they WANT to BUY something UNIQUE no factory :)

I also print a "slip" about the shot ; "Walnut Tree, outside of St. Marys Church, Kings Worthy, Hampshire on the green, September, 2008"

or "Rose Constance Spry, June, 2010, Hampshire"

The slips are with all cards and prints :) many peoiple like to Visit the location and see it for themselves and to have a keepsake that records something ...

David M
24th September 2012, 01:00 PM
John, as neither editorial or stock pay well these days you could try both there's probably not much more work involved than trying just one. At least these days you don't have to spend your time sitting at the light table editing and captioning.