Monday, October 18, 2010

Something I have been thinking about

Do you need to dress like an 'artist' to be taken as an artist?

I read up on, review other booths, research who sells well, and try to model my booth after that. There is a lot to it, the placement of items, the colors, the decorations and so forth that set up a feel for a booth and brings customers in. I try to stay ahead of the curve with my booth display to the best of my means, considering I am at an outside market.

I am getting more comfortable with my booth, now what about me. Is it just as important that I am dressed the part? And what is the part anyway? I love tie dye, and wear it often. Am I portraying the right image as an artist? Should I be more conservative and wear a button down and pants? I don't want to sell my soul to sell my pieces, but at the same time there is a lot to the selling formula.

If I look like a business person, will I look like I am selling product that I bought from a wholesaler? Here is the reason I ask this - I have tried different outfits just to see customer responses. When I dress more conservatively, I get asked quite often "Did you make this?" "Do you sell for other people?"

If I look like an eccentric artist will I be taken as one? It isn't that I sell more if I dress 'artsy' but I don't hear those questions. I hear more comments - "I love your designs" "These are so unique" and so forth.

These are just questions I roll around in my head - Do you have suggestions? Do you have questions you wonder about in this craft business world?

I would love to know


  1. I think you should dress in whatever feels comfortable and looks good to you. Your beautiful designs will sell themselves. But you made me think....I get a similiar response, people asking if I make the pieces myself, I sometimes wonder if my age and grey hair make people could this old chook come up with modern funky designs. Maybe I should start dressing like an eccentric old hippy!

  2. Thanks Davinia, it is a real struggle for me. Do I please me, do I please the customer, do I even worry bout it. And you know what I have noticed - it is the more 'mature' crowd that likes that flash and funk. I think the younger kids aren't confident enough to wear it. And I think the older we get the more confident we get. I dont' worry about peer pressure or fashion trends. i wear what makes me happy. I think i look good :) you should too ;)

    maybe I am over thinking it - maybe they ask those questions just to make small talk......

  3. I think that I can only comment on the one show that I do, and that is tomorrow night. I try to dress for the occasion, but still comfortable (no high heels for me!). I try to remember the clientele the I will be meeting and tailor myself to that. If it is a casual outdoor show then by all means I would wear jeans and a t-shirt (with my logo on it for sure). But this is a cocktail party atmosphere so I will be dressed for that event. Good question though, I have never thought about it before.
    Enjoy the day!

  4. Cool post and made me think more about me as a customer than a seller. This is so weird, but I think I am more inclined to pay more for something made by an eccentric artsy person than a buttoned up person selling artsy pieces...hmm. NOW, what does that say about ME and judging a book by its cover?! With that said, I will buy something I love and can't live without from anyone, anywhere! Good topic, worth further research possibly.

  5. Thanks Lisa, and ya know what - I will gravitate to that eccentricity as well. When I see people over dressed, I think of Cookie Lee, or Silpada - is that bad? I do dress up a bit more when I do inside shows, but I dont' have to deal with the elements, but there is still tie dye somewhere :)

    Thanks Erin, I like the logo t-shirt idea. It never crossed my mind! I agree, if it is a cocktail party atmosphere, then do dress for the occasion. You don't want to offend your event planner by under dressing. There is a certain ,oh what is the word I want to use, 'vibe' they are looking for in their vendors and the clientele as well.

    Thanks for your responses. I love thinking out loud here, the feed back is amazing!

  6. Tish,

    You have forced me to come out of lurkdom after reading your blog for awhile but not commenting. I sell from a "booth" at our community art club, which has just recently embraced artisan jewelry. This "embracing", at first, was more like "tolerating" after a few of us painters/artisan jewelers demanded equal consideration of our jewelry as art. Our pieces are very sculptural and should be considered "art". So there!

    But, I digress. Since my table is always indoors, in a two-room art studio with fine art paintings hanging all around the walls, I feel that my appearance should be more geared toward that atmosphere. Right now, I am in a copper and turquoise mood so my pieces look very good paired with black clothing. Depending on the sale, I either pair a black top with black jeans or black slacks and, always, comfortable shoes.

    Since I usually am wearing a piece of my copper/turquoise jewelry, one with a lot of WOW! factor, I don't get the question "did you make all of this?". At my last sale a few weeks ago, it was a large Oktoberfest festival where outside vendors were welcomed to the community center. There were TONS of commercial tents with obviously commercial jewelry pieces for sale. I usually didn't give customers a chance, as an opening I said something like "these are all designed and hand made my me, there is nothing commercially produced at this table". They would then see my large, eye-catching copper and turquoise necklace and start asking about my process. I sold very well that day. I think that the large commercial booths were so overwhelming in their sheer numbers of competitors that it was more interesting for the customers to have a smaller selection of hand made items for their consideration.

    I digress again! My point for how we dress, I think, is we have to consider the crowd we are aiming to sell to as well as the environment in which we sell. I think that with an outdoor event I would definitely go for the tie-dye and some eye catching jewelry to match for that atmosphere. In the outdoors you are competing with all the scenery and colors outdoors so you should go for that look with gusto.

    I also think that your jewelry sells itself most of the time so you should just go with whatever you are in the mood for the day of the sale!

  7. Wow Susan!! Thank you so much for deciding to comment on this topic! Good for you for standing your ground and getting your jewelry included at the community art club! I really appreciate you taking time to comment and give your insight. Thank you so much for your support and for following my blog.

    Dressing for the event seems to be the general consensus here.