I’ve done shows for some years now. And one of the things every newbie (and many seasoned) sellers struggle with is how to handle displaying your pricing. Sometimes sellers think that not using tags or pricing will somehow make their items look more professional and nicer. But one of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is by not displaying (or hiding altogether) the price of their work.
From a marketing standpoint, you want your customers to not only be able to see your prices, but to see that you have a range of prices. You want highs and lows and in-betweens. You will always have those buyers looking for the cheapest they can get and occasionally (maybe more often depending on the venue and location) those buyers who have no financial restraints. But most of your customers and sales are going to fall into that mid-range. And a lot of that is frankly psychology. Most of us don’t want the cheapest, but we also can’t always afford the best. So we aim for the middle somewhere. I can’t afford X, and Z is not nearly as nice, so I’m going to settle for a lesser expensive Y. We like to work in three’s.
We tend to approach everything in life this way, like a bowling ball bumping its way down a kiddie lane, trying to find that nice wide middle. By not providing that largest of human buying demographics the middle-ground it seeks, you set up a scenario where it’s not easy for buyers to make the decisions they are used to, because one (or more) of the three legs is missing. Either that or there are way too many legs to choose from. And if it’s not easy, then buyers don’t buy. So you’re also handicapping yourself in sales. Because let’s face it – buyers of handmade goods in the US don’t typically quibble over 50 cents here or a $1 there. That’s not what we’re talking about here. What they are really looking for in their buying decisions is justification. And they will judge your pricing as a means of measuring the worth of your work.
So make sure your prices are visible and do not hide them. Whether you do this by pricing with tags, little cards, or by using a sign with color codes dots, I’m not sure it matters. But make those prices visible and have a high, a (or some) middle and a low always. You could always opt for a pricing gun or gold ink or something if you’re trying to professionalize the look further.
There’s another consideration in the matter of pricing. Many of your best customers are also the ones who do not like to touch displays very much and who will want to window shop a show for bit first before they handle any items. (And many buyers do not like to “show their hand” when they are interested in something.) Too many of these customers would rather walk away than touch an item to look for a price if it’s not clear what price range your booth is. Haggling is not a “high-end” kind of mentality and most juried shows don’t allow it, but also, many customers are uncomfortable with it. Also keep in mind, there are most definitely some shows out there where customers will judge you if you are not expensive enough. If you don’t think your work is worth very much, why should they?
Lastly, you should know that it’s not only your typical buyers who peruse shows. You could have potential customers who are looking at your items from a business point of view (i.e. consignment shops who peruse shows looking for new blood). Making sure your pricing is visible, broad spectrum and in balance, can help them make a business decision faster too. There are several kinds of eyes at shows and if you want to make sales, you want to catch them all.
Pricing is not just about affordability, but also the value you place on your work. It says a lot about you. So think about the image you wish to convey and price accordingly. And don’t get stuck on “nobody will pay that, so I’ll charge pennies” mentality. Women are especially bad about valuing their work for some reason. So think on it this way. For the same money, you can work super hard at lower quality to sell several, or you can pour yourself into better quality and sell one. One of these requires more patience than the other. Which will help you find your balance in life and get you where you want to be?
If you need more ideas for doing shows, I wrote an article about shows you might find helpful here: aberrantcrochet.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/about-doing-craft-shows-ob…