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Exhibitions, stock photos, professional work This board concentrates on topics that explore the potential of your photography being seen by a wider audience and even earning you some money.

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Old 20th August 2011
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A saga turning into a farce?

Had a pitch at my 4th craft fair recently (6th August), so Iím starting to get a feel for how itís going. The first one seems a long time ago now. Looking back through my accounts I see I took £38.20 that day, out of which I had to pay a pitch fee of £10.00. Not really enough to make it a viable business but at least it was a profit and it seemed encouraging as it was my first attempt.

The 2nd fair gave me takings of £23.20, which was a bit disappointing, but at least I covered the pitch fee if not the petrol. At the 3rd event takings shrunk to £10.85 so I was hoping that the latest event would reverse the trend.

So how did I do? Well, I certainly reversed one trend. On the previous three occasions I did at least take some money. This time I took nothing! I didnít sell even one small card!

What went wrong? I can come up with all sorts of excuses, the main one being that the event was poorly attended; at the end the organizers thanked all the stall holders over the PA system for supporting the event and persevering through the day despite the disappointing numbers coming through the gate. I wonder if there are just too many rival events happening on the same day at this time of year. Or are people staying at home, or at least avoiding anywhere that they are likely to spend money? After all, these are difficult times.

I had just 18 people visit my stall. Nearly all were really complimentary about my photography, but I wonder if that roughly translates to a young lady telling a young man he is ďreally sweet;Ē in other words ďI donít want to hurt your feelings but youíve got no chance!Ē I remember those days well!

For one of the long hours I kept a record of potential customers passing my stall. By ďpotential customerĒ I mean someone who might reasonably be expected to have enough interest to come for a look so I didnít count children and counted couples (husband and wife etc) as one, on the basis that they tend to visit stalls together at this type of event and any purchase they might make would be between them rather than separately. Between 12.30 and 1.30 sixty-six potential customers went by, with seven of them actually stopping. It turned out to be the busiest hour of the day. These figures include a group of 9 singers who were performing at the event, 4 of whom came to look at my stall. One of them apologized that they were only having a look around the show and didnít intend to buy anything.

Iím starting to accept that, for whatever reason, my products are not attractive enough, interesting enough or good enough. I donít think they are too expensive, I cannot go much cheaper! Itís true that I havenít yet had a banner made but Iím seriously wondering if itís worth sinking anymore money into this venture. Iíve got another five fairs booked, but wonít book anymore unless things dramatically improve. Four of them are indoors in the lead up to Christmas, so hopefully the clientele will be more focused on shopping rather than just having a good day out with their families. We shall see.
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Old 20th August 2011
Johnheatingman Johnheatingman is offline
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

John, it will have nothing to do with the quality of your work or the finished products you are offering. Sadly the British Public seem to no longer appreciate the value and quality of hand made original items, preferring the mass produced cheap varieties every time.

I do wood turning as a hobby and have tried to sell hand turned bowls made from beautiful expensive hardwood timber without sucess. I then decided to try my hand at selling hand turned Light and Blind Pulls made from cheap timber at £1.50 each on Ebay and sold a couple of hundred. These sold not because they were hand made and original but simply they were cheaper than the mass produced ones on offer. Unfortunately the change in Postal Charges and Packet Sizes put an end to this venture.

I notice on your web site that you sell prints but didnt see any cards on offer. Have you considered selling greetings cards in small variety packs from your site ? I only ask this because I knew a local artist who had the same disappointing results as you have experienced selling prints at Craft Fairs but seemed to have much better results selling greetings cards made from prints of her artwork over the internet. It seems a search for "greeting cards" used to highlight her site and hence her modest success with these.

Hopefully as you say, things will improve later in the year and I wish you the very best in your ventures.

John
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

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Originally Posted by Johnheatingman View Post
John, it will have nothing to do with the quality of your work or the finished products you are offering. Sadly the British Public seem to no longer appreciate the value and quality of hand made original items, preferring the mass produced cheap varieties every time.

I do wood turning as a hobby and have tried to sell hand turned bowls made from beautiful expensive hardwood timber without sucess. I then decided to try my hand at selling hand turned Light and Blind Pulls made from cheap timber at £1.50 each on Ebay and sold a couple of hundred. These sold not because they were hand made and original but simply they were cheaper than the mass produced ones on offer. Unfortunately the change in Postal Charges and Packet Sizes put an end to this venture.

I notice on your web site that you sell prints but didnt see any cards on offer. Have you considered selling greetings cards in small variety packs from your site ? I only ask this because I knew a local artist who had the same disappointing results as you have experienced selling prints at Craft Fairs but seemed to have much better results selling greetings cards made from prints of her artwork over the internet. It seems a search for "greeting cards" used to highlight her site and hence her modest success with these.

Hopefully as you say, things will improve later in the year and I wish you the very best in your ventures.

John
Thanks John, it's a good point about my website, which badly needs updating, it's certainly worth a try offering cards on there.
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Hi I know how you feel, I did a fete a couple of weeks ago, didn't sell anything, just really good comments, one was interested but said he couldn't make his mind up out of three, but never came back, there was another guy selling photo prints he didn't sell any either, I think that its the sign of the times. Lidles don't help either selling canvas prints for £10.00 20x16 at that.

But good luck with your next one, I'll keep fingers crossed for you.

Dave
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

John, I believe the problem is simply the current economic climate and people are just not spending money unless they absolutely have to.
We had a terribly disappointing day at Abberton today, I think we had fewer visitors all day than were present when you dropped in during the week! It was one of my "optics days" and we had the benefit of an excellent unsolicited write up for the event in the national Birdwatching Magazine. What did I sell? one secondhand bench clamp for a tripod centre column for £12! I think we had three people who even looked at our display of binoculars and telescopes. Our total sales for the centre for birdfood/books/ optics/tea and coffee/ice creams/sweets and toys etc.etc. was around £80 against our weekend day target of £500. I have to say that a colleague who ran a Sunday optics day at the beginning of the month sold £800 worth of binoculars but days like today are becoming more frequent.

I think John (heatingman) has a good point about using your website. I believe that it's important to get the right "keywords" on your homepage so that search engines like Google generate hits from the people you want to target.

Above all, don't believe that your experience so far is anything to do with the quality of your work, it isn't!

Regards
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveart View Post
Hi I know how you feel, I did a fete a couple of weeks ago, didn't sell anything, just really good comments, one was interested but said he couldn't make his mind up out of three, but never came back, there was another guy selling photo prints he didn't sell any either, I think that its the sign of the times. Lidles don't help either selling canvas prints for £10.00 20x16 at that.

But good luck with your next one, I'll keep fingers crossed for you.

Dave
Dave, sorry to hear that you are in the same boat! I hope things improve next time for you, too.
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterBirder View Post
John, I believe the problem is simply the current economic climate and people are just not spending money unless they absolutely have to.
We had a terribly disappointing day at Abberton today, I think we had fewer visitors all day than were present when you dropped in during the week! It was one of my "optics days" and we had the benefit of an excellent unsolicited write up for the event in the national Birdwatching Magazine. What did I sell? one secondhand bench clamp for a tripod centre column for £12! I think we had three people who even looked at our display of binoculars and telescopes. Our total sales for the centre for birdfood/books/ optics/tea and coffee/ice creams/sweets and toys etc.etc. was around £80 against our weekend day target of £500. I have to say that a colleague who ran a Sunday optics day at the beginning of the month sold £800 worth of binoculars but days like today are becoming more frequent.

I think John (heatingman) has a good point about using your website. I believe that it's important to get the right "keywords" on your homepage so that search engines like Google generate hits from the people you want to target.

Above all, don't believe that your experience so far is anything to do with the quality of your work, it isn't!

Regards
Peter, sorry to hear you had such a disappointing day at the centre, that really does surprise me. If that happens too often it will be a big blow for the Trust. Do you think some people are put off by the work that is going on at the reservoir? I hope not, the story about that is facinating and very interesting in it's own right.

We'll be coming again soon, but haven't worked out exactly when, to collect the giant snail that Freya has reserved. She bought a tank for it yesterday and is very excited about getting "Speedy!" When we come we plan to spend a whole day, rather than just a flying visit.

That's a good point about getting the right information on my website homepage and keywording. Ive keyworded individual pictures, but nothing about selling! I really must give it some attention.
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Peter, sorry to hear you had such a disappointing day at the centre, that really does surprise me. If that happens too often it will be a big blow for the Trust. Do you think some people are put off by the work that is going on at the reservoir? I hope not, the story about that is facinating and very interesting in it's own right.

We'll be coming again soon, but haven't worked out exactly when, to collect the giant snail that Freya has reserved. She bought a tank for it yesterday and is very excited about getting "Speedy!" When we come we plan to spend a whole day, rather than just a flying visit.

That's a good point about getting the right information on my website homepage and keywording. Ive keyworded individual pictures, but nothing about selling! I really must give it some attention.
Thanks John.
We certainly get a lot of people turning up who say " Oh we thought you'd be closed" that's why we put up the big banners at the entrance sayig WE ARE OPEN.
"Speedy" I like that.
Let me know when you are coming and I can try and be there to show you round if you like. We're usually around on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Regards
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

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Thanks John.
We certainly get a lot of people turning up who say " Oh we thought you'd be closed" that's why we put up the big banners at the entrance sayig WE ARE OPEN.
"Speedy" I like that.
Let me know when you are coming and I can try and be there to show you round if you like. We're usually around on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Regards
That would be great, Peter. I'll try to influence the family for one of those days.
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

This all reminds me of sitting at craft fairs many years ago in a previous life. Poor turnouts, depressingly low sales, lots of driving :-) You're not alone.

I used to say the collective noun for punters at a craft fair is "Tight Bunch"

There's no fix for a poor turn out, but you might attract punter's interest by doing some macro photography live on the stand (and it would help to pass the time). Set up lights, a subject, a tripod. You know.. "Hello, what's this guy up to..."

Pete
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Old 20th August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Always had some difficulty with the village fete/fair as a selling point for goods, the footfall is low and the percentage of that small number who want a postcard/print has got to be small.

Quite frankly the GBP is conditioned to buy cheap and tacky (£1 shop/car boot) in the hope that something might be a bargain, or expensive and validated by the retailer (gallery/well known name shops/web).

I kept my views out of the original debate in the genuine hope you would prove me wrong.

Nick
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Old 20th August 2011
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Zuiko Zuiko is online now
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
This all reminds me of sitting at craft fairs many years ago in a previous life. Poor turnouts, depressingly low sales, lots of driving :-) You're not alone.

I used to say the collective noun for punters at a craft fair is "Tight Bunch"

There's no fix for a poor turn out, but you might attract punter's interest by doing some macro photography live on the stand (and it would help to pass the time). Set up lights, a subject, a tripod. You know.. "Hello, what's this guy up to..."

Pete
Now that's quite an innovative idea, Pete, I'll give that some serious thought!
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Old 20th August 2011
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Zuiko Zuiko is online now
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
Always had some difficulty with the village fete/fair as a selling point for goods, the footfall is low and the percentage of that small number who want a postcard/print has got to be small.

Quite frankly the GBP is conditioned to buy cheap and tacky (£1 shop/car boot) in the hope that something might be a bargain, or expensive and validated by the retailer (gallery/well known name shops/web).

I kept my views out of the original debate in the genuine hope you would prove me wrong.

Nick
Hehe, I think I'm doing rather well at proving you right at the moment, Nick. Still, you don't know until you try and if something doesn't work you try something else. I've noticed that the tombolas always seem to do quite well, although goodness knows why, so with all the equipment for a stall I could diversify!

Hopefully recording my experiences, good or bad (OK, mainly bad at the moment), may be useful to anyone else thinking of trying the same sort of thing.

Maybe I should invent a reputation for myself and offer my work through up-market galleries for a four figure sum. You never know, the Emperor's Clothes syndrome might just work!
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Old 21st August 2011
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

John.
I have had similar experience to you. The first fete was a local school fete where a couple of camera club members and myself booked a table. I did very well, around £100, one other did quite well and the other sold one card.
I continued to do the same fete by myself and over a couple of years the takings was around £100 but gradually tailed off to around £30. I haven't done that one for 2 years now. I think the same folk were seeing the same pics and so I need to supply different pics or wait till we get different parents thru the school.

I used to support my local hospice and we both did very well, hospice and me. Over a three year period I would take £100 or so, but gradually takings went down. Other stallholders reported the same. This year the hospice did not hold a summer fair, I suspect because folk were not spending.
My prices were cheap, £9.99 for a half size A3 plus mounted print, slightly bigger than A4 and the cards go for £1.99 each or 6 for a tenner.

I did pick up a wedding from one of them I did though, that was a bonus.
I like Pete's idea, you often used to see artists working during slack periods. A camera linked to a laptop to show the item being shot.

Having said all that, I did a talk at a local church group last year, just holding prints and talking about how I got the pic, nothing technical, and I sold 2 prints for £20 each the first time. Next time I took some cards as well and sold quite a few, not sure how many.
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Old 21st August 2011
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: A saga turning into a farce?

Made you a graph ;



( From http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx )
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