Monday, April 25, 2016

Looking for new shows

I've shared in the past that some of our most successful holiday shows are the special events hosted by local art centers, galleries, and small museums. 

Display detail, 2014

 Truly.  Doing these small level shows allow us to reach a much larger audience than one or two weekend shows or concentrated Etsy marketing.  And working with people that know and appreciate art = so wonderful.

Wanting to expand the business, I spent time this winter hunting for new shows.  Thank goodness for Google.  I looked for "art center holiday markets" and got good sources.  Some of the Art Fair calendars (so useful for listings of art/craft shows) have also been good resources.

bracelet display, 2015
The tricky part is keeping track of everything.  Every show means at least 5-10 emails, all with different forms and/or information.  Some shows require membership in the center (usually $25-45 for the year).  Some shows use Zapp apps (not my favorite app site!), some handle everything in-house.

I started out using paper folders to keep track of everything, printing out copies of forms.  Too messy.  Especially in my tiny workspace.  Last year, I went to email trails.  I set up an individual folder for each center and/or gallery, and shuffled all the paperwork into these files.  Somewhat easier.  And at least I can find the paper trail when I need to.

This year, with even more possible shows, I'll probably stick to a revised digital filing system.  I'm looking for a good app, one that I can keep notes on as well as business details.

One system that has worked well is our photo "filing" system.  

Necklaces that went to Anton Arts (all sold!)
When we ship everything out to the individual centers, we take pictures along with the gallery/center name.  So handy.  It's easy to check what piece is where.  It's easy to check in, to see what sold.  (Nature designs sold VERY well last year!)  If I have to track a piece down for a customer, I can flip through the pictures.  It's also easy to check that I don't leave an Etsy listing up for something that's out to a gallery.

We're starting our planning for holiday shows extra early this year.  I'm already contacting venues, placing items aside, and scheduling when to work on what.  Most of the summer will be all about felt production, with beadwork in the evenings.  

Organization.  i gots this.