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Re: Fairs and Markets

Hi friends,

I guess I have a bit of a different take on this topic....I do alot of
shows and fairs locally, and I find that encouraging people to handle the
books is a big part of selling them.  Usually people are afraid to touch
them, but I always tell them to please feel free to pick them up and look
them over.

I do fret about losing things...and I have in the past (kid with an ice
cream cone on a 90 degree day)...but overall my loses have been VERY

Now, I make journals and albums...blank of course...and they are highly
decorated on the covers.  I cover with various handmade papers that I pull
myself as well as other materials....and I think that in order to
appreciate the work it needs to be held...to be brought close to the
face...to have your fingers feel the texture, your hands the weight.  Your
nose to sometimes smell them if I have rubbed them with scented wax...you
get the idea.

Books can speak to you if you let them, and I always say that there is an
owner for every book I make...its just a matter of them finding each other.
 I prefer not to have them in cases or wrapped in plastic.  They are meant
to be handled....used...from the minute I make them...so I have learned to
not lose sleep over the occasional disaster.

I'll tell you all a bit of a story....I always thought that losing work at
a fair was awful...its so unpredictable, what with the food, the kids, the
weather....I dreamed of being able to display in a retail setting where all
of these elements for disaster were carefully controlled.  I lost 10 books
in a retail setting not to long ago compared to the two I lost after all
this time doing shows.  Why?  The store owner displayed them over a heat
vent...warped beyond recognition....some actually scorched.  Now THAT was
heart breaking.

As far as pricing goes....don't cut yourself short.  Another story.  When I
first started binding, I was struggling with price.  I handed a book to a
friend of mine and I told him how much I was going to charge for it..he

"If I was to see this price on a book that proports to be handmade, I would
think that you actually imported them from Taiwan, and just signed your
name in the back.  A tacky impression like that will sell nothing."

I always try to be fair to my customers, but I always try to be fair to
myself.  Don't start out by devaluing your hard work.  You may not make as
many sales, but you will convey the message that you are indeed confident
and proud of your hard work.  And word will travel.

SMILE!  Don't read a book while sitting at your booth....interact with
everyone who walks by....with just a simple smile..acknowledge that they
have looked in your direction.

Avoid shows that say "Art show and Flea Market".....people who are going to
flea markets aren't interested in your work....they are only interested in
what kind of bargain they can get for $1.00 or less....and your work will
only confuse them...they aren't looking for it in this type of setting.

Outside shows are difficult.  Make sure you have a tent set up....not only
in case of inclement weather, but also as a protection from UV rays...for
you and your work.  If at all possible...stand the books on their
tail.....or at least a few...display them well so that they attract from
afar.  I used to lay them flat...no one walking by knows what your selling,
so they keep walking.  I once had a gentlemen told me my work sells itself
from 500 yards away....and I did literally see this man turn his head, look
at me, and walk straight to my table out of all others.

Sorry if this was so long winded....I hope some of these ideas have helped.
Only good things,
Central NY
Sweet Impressions
Paper and Book Arts Studio

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