So the show season is almost in full swing and you are beginning to shlep your stuff hither and yon to all corners of this country. If you are a gallery shower you might be shlepping or you may just be busy cold calling local galleries. Either way now is the time to start thinking about some very important stuff…like where is this artsyfartsy biz of yours going and how can you not starve.
Now is the perfect time to start paying attention to those mysterious folks who buy that stuff you make. While you are on the road start to look closely at who these people really are? We call that, getting to know your target market, demographic or audience, but for now we’ll just refer to them as those nice people who buy your stuff and keep you from starving.
So what has to happen to get the ball rolling so we don’t end up in a card board home? Well, those nice folks
- Have to find us
- They have to like us
- They have to have some dough to hand to us
Getting to know them…
But that’s just the beginning… so get up and talk to some of those folks milling around your stuff. Treat’em like long lost friends especially the ones who have some of your stuff in there hands. Talk to them about their day, their lives, their families, where they live. When they are gone write some notes about them… what do they have in common.
- Are they moms or grannies?
- Are they mostly looking for gifts?
- Are they young couples looking for handmade wedding gifts
This is the best excuse to people watch! My favorite way to do this is to try to guess people’s stories and try to figure how that story helps them decide what they buy, or where they go etc. When I was doing the art fair circuit I often myself doing this when someone entered my booth. An important key to this working is to pay attention to your intuition, most of us can feel the energy from people and can often Know if we have something in common. So…
- What is that lady with the sun hat and water bottle slung across her neck likely to buy or not?
- What’s up with that mom all tangled up in kids … is she looking to pamper herself?
- Do you think that bored guy with his wife is going to buy anything that doesn’t have horsepower as a key feature?Or is he secretly looking for her birthday present?
What’s their story?
Now, after you have spent the second day observing and taking copious notes try to summarize what you have learned, are there any trends?
- Where do the people live, in the city, the country or…?
- What do they tend to do for a living and how much green do they bring in?
- Are they parents with young kids?
- Are they childless couples?
These are the things you need to know to get a feel for who your ideal customer might be. Knowing this helps you know what is important to them, how they think, and what they might need of yours so you can spend your time in your studio focused on making the stuff that they are most likely to buy. And having stuff that the right people can’t resist will be one step closer to not starving.
Finally, once you have a good collection of characteristics, peronality, values etc. give this collection an form…name her. After you have named her then write a story about her, what does her life look like, what does she do with her time, what does she think, who are her friends, where does she hang out? Giving her form helps you visualize her so you can easily see her when she walks into your booth, gallery or shows up on your web site.
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