If you are a fellow artist-like person, novice or pro:
1. Be honest. Don’t try and pretend that you’re a customer so you can get a better look at your competition or glimmer of inspiration. As you know, the other artist can usually tell if you’re a potential customer or there just to get ideas for your own work. It’s like getting caught looking at someone’s cleavage…you both know it happened but no one says anything.
2. Don’t block the view. Whether you’re old friends or just meeting for the first time, be cognizant of what is around you. If you see people coming towards the booth, end your conversation and step out of the way…you have all weekend to chat…go out to dinner for that. That might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize this.
3. Trading. If you have the idea that you want to trade your goods or services for someone elses, go ahead and offer but if you get no response or the other person never comes by to see what you have, don’t bug them and ask again. That might just be their polite way of declining. Don’t put them on the spot.
4. Copying. Of course, don’t take pictures or whip out your sketch book and copy anything. If you’re going to be cheesey enough to copy, at least buy the bead(s).
5. Man your own booth. If you need someone to keep an eye on things while you run to the bathroom and have no other option, ask your neighbor to help out but don’t abuse it. Don’t shop on the way back or ask them to watch your booth while you go look around. If you like to do that at shows, bring a helper or use the booth sitters that some shows have for that reason. If you do go, and it’s alright with your neighbor, don’t get mad if you come back and they’re busy and not able to watch as closely. Also, take a cell phone if you can so they can call you back.
If you’re a customer:
1. Spend lots of money.
2. Remember that we’re not invisible and we hear you too. Try to refrain from saying things like, ‘I can make that myself,’ even if you can. Educate your friends and spouses on this one. We hear you when you say that and we want to roll our eyes at you, or better yet tell you to ‘go ahead, try it’. Not that I mind if you do, just don’t say it in front of me please.
3. Discounts. Feel free to ask about discounts, show specials or wholesale but don’t be offended if an artist-like person doesn’t offer one. Personally, my beads are priced to sell. I offer discounts at certain price points but they’re not full wholesale. If you know what you’re looking at, you’ll see that my beads are not in the highest priced category. I want to sell to designers and stores so that they can re-sell…I’m not as geared towards collectors but you might want to get my pieces now at these prices before I get a big head and change my mind in the future. And please, DO NOT ask, ‘can you do any better than that?’ regarding pricing. If you already asked for the price points, that is what they are. We’re not doing this for the sheer pleasure of it, we need to eat too.
4. Ask questions. Artist-like people are often shy and very often not good conversationalists (I’ll speak for me, anyway). Ask them questions so they can tell you about their work. I do my best to engage people if they seem to be interested but I don’t like to seem too sales-y. I hope my work can speak for itself but there are some interesting stories behind how some designs have emerged.
5. Ask for more. Don’t be afraid to ask if there is more of a particular style. If you don’t see enough of what you want, there might be more under the table (not everything fits on the tables) or you could possibly order more. At my shows, if you place an order for something that can be recreated, I will give you a 10% discount.