Having an Open Studio yearly is a great way to show your work. Your current collectors and new collectors will have a chance to see first hand where your creations were first conceived, especially if you are a studio painter. I decided to be part of the Silicon Valley Open Studio this year. It was quite successful, yet there were a few things that I would change if I participated next year.
1. I prefer to show alone. I find showing with another artist is distracting.
2. It is very important that you pre-approve your address and correlating map to your studio, prior to it being sent off to the press. I have had more than one occasion that the map or address was incorrect.
3. Make sure you send out an email, a newsletter and or a postcard, notifying your customers of the upcoming show. I prefer to do a newsletter and a postcard. Note: Make sure that your postcard has an image of your art, something eye catching. This is where it is necessary that your customer list is ready including addresses for easy preparation. Send your postcards at least 3 weeks in advance.
4. Alert others about your upcoming Open Studio as you do your outings. Keep people abreast of your goings on. Keep extra postcards with you to hand out and also bring to any gallery that solicits your work if the gallery is supportive. You cannot sell if you don’t have customers.
5. Show only your best work.
6. Have a variety of sizes of art for sale. You will be surprised customers will purchase larger pieces of work.
7. Give the customer more than one option for payment. I had Paypal, cash and checks.
8. Have signs posted locally and on main streets an hour before the show. They can be kept up if you are having a show for two days in a row.
9. It’s not about the food. Make sure you do have food and drinks, but keep it simple. Take in account that it should be finger food and not messy. You don’t want to see food on your rug or furniture. Also, make sure your drinks are light in color as well. I served cookies, nuts, pretzels, cheese and crackers. My drinks were water in small containers, and soft drinks in smaller cans. I purchased way too much food; people were more interested in the art.
10. When hanging your art try to have groupings that either goes by color, subject matter or size. I felt that keeping continuity in my groupings helped the customer locate the art that they were most interested in, with less confusion.
11. Have someone there to help either by guiding people around the home or helping with transactions or packing. PS. Make sure you have packing materials available: bubble wrap, scissors, tape, plastic bags etc. At one point I started to sell quite a few of pieces all at one time and found it would have been very helpful if I had an assistant to help me. You want to be with your customers not hidden in a room packing.
12. Give your customers room to breath and time alone. Know when to be present and when to give them space. Customers do not like to be hovered over yet at the same time they want you to be available to answer questions.
13. Make sure that you have everyone sign your guest book with name and contact.
14. Follow up the show within the next week writing thank you notes for attending, or for orders received. It’s a nice touch and much appreciated.
15. Write down notes of what worked well and what didn’t after the show. You think you will remember, but you won’t. Having specifics for the next show will be a big help.
These are only a few of my tips, I would love to hear of any suggestions that you have that helped you have a successful show.
**If you are interested in purchasing any of my art or have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408)4607237 Thank you!