It’s prime season for art and craft shows as the holidays are fast approaching. Here’s a few simple tips to make the most of your shopping experience.
1. Get there early. You’ll get first pick of the merchandise. Sellers will have their complete inventory, and are primed an ready to answers questions and to help you out.
2. Bring a bag. Sellers will normally offer you a bag for your purchases, but why not help out the environment and bring your own. You can combine your purchases in one large bag and also have a place to stash your coat and other belongings leaving your hands free to check out the goods!
3. Keep your conversations to the side. Stopping in front of a booth for an extended length of time keeps others from being able to view artists work. You’d like the same courtesy extended you you of course while you are shopping.
4. Don’t forget to grab a business card whenever an artist catches your eye. It may help you remember which booths you want to return to after you’ve visited everything in the event, or you can hang unto them keep track of your favorite artist at other events and online.
5. Don’t be afraid to look at the price tags. Some items that may look expensive might turn out to be very wallet friendly. Others might be well worth the extra expense due to their high quality or premium materials. Also don’t assume that a high price on one piece means a high price on everything. Artists usually present a range of work to meet a variety of price points.
6. Go ahead and ask questions. Many artists are happy to share their inspirations with you, and to tell you about the quality of your work. Just don’t be surprised if they keep some of their processes secret though–that’s part of their intellectual property as artists, and many have spent a lot of work developing the trade secrets of their craft.
7. Check out all the corners, nooks and crannies, and look closely in each booth. True, large and catchy displays really do often have some excellent items. However, that extremely unique item might be hiding in a dark corner of the show, or as part of a diverse display.
8. Bring a friend and have fun. It doesn’t have to be a chore to shop, it can be a festive fun event. Share thoughts, compliments and it can be an enjoyable experience.
9. Don’t forget to bring cash. A lot of artists do take credit cards, but some may not. In addition, when you pay with cash you save the artists the cost of paying a fee to the credit card company.
10. Keep in mind that when you buy handmade you are helping artists to make a living, and you are purchasing unique, often well-made, and locally created goods. Your purchases make a difference in your very own community.