This is a question that plagues most artists, crafters and designer-makers, including myself. You spend a large chunk of time creating your handmade products only to be spending more time driving around to sell at fairs and markets. You are spending time managing your social media, building an online presence and networking at events to secure further selling gigs. Then, having secured the gig there is the set-up and take-down and all you often get is 4-5 hours of actual selling time.
— Dash of Flair (@DashofFlair) August 23, 2015
So you start to ask yourself: how can I get more selling done with less admin, handling, traveling, etc.
The good news is that there is a way to secure selling time that allows you to maximise time for making more products. However, it does require you to bite the bullet and approach people. If that is not too much to ask, the answer to your question is pitching your products to owners of good old brick-and-mortar shops.
To give you a real-life example of how this could work, let me tell you how I secured a month-long selling gig with a shop owner using my networking skills. During the summer of 2014, my job required me to travel to a small town called ‘Dolgellau’ in North-West Wales UK for a two-day team workshop. Right in the town centre is a fantastic craft gallery that I knew about from an earlier visit to the town. So I decided that this was a now-or-never scenario in which I could pitch my products to the people in the shop to get feedback on my products and politely enquire about the potential for selling with them.
Striking up a friendly conversation with the lady behind the counter, I was able to make a powerful connection with a member of the arts collective that runs this gallery. Invited to be a guest-maker for the entire month of September 2015, I was asked to submit a proposal regarding the product range and recommended pricing and pay a fee of £20.00, which I did.
Long story short, my products will be set up for display and sale from 1st-26th September 2015. Comparing this to my individual one-day craft sales, I get approx. 133 hours of selling time with only one set-up and one take-down. This means that I am getting 133 hours of time in which to secure more selling gigs and make products without having to worry about standing behind a craft stall. Also I can keep 100% of sales!!
On 5th September 2015 there will be a ‘Meet the Artist Event’ held at the gallery and it is the arts collective that will be doing the advertising and setting up, leaving me free to connect with people who may be interested in buying, and learning more about my products. It is also a fantastic opportunity for more networking and potentially securing individual commissions. So, you see? Lots of benefits for a moderate amount of work and one time of stepping outside your comfort zone.
You should try it sometime and let me know how you get on.