Finding Your Market
Now that you have begun to create a range of pyrographed items, the next stage is to sell them. I began by giving them as gifts to my friends and family. This soon lead to orders for special occasions, I began to realise that there was a market for my art and started to explore way in which to sell them. The following section will help you prepare for your first show and also give you pointers to where you can sell your work.
A craft fair can vary in success, at my first show I came away with just £20 and terrible sunburn – not too successful! It takes time to learn which are the best and which to avoid, although this is never foolproof. Some shows can be very expensive and you have to sell a lot to cover your costs even before making a profit. I find that smaller events like village fairs and school fetes are the best. A stall may cost as little as £10 and they are usually fun to do! In the early days, I used to have a lot of large expensive items such as clocks and plaques. However, as time went on I began to realise that it was the smaller items that sold more often. A customer has to really like an item to part with their money, but most like to take away with them a small memento, such as bookmarks, name plates and keyrings. So always have these at hand.
Many events will provide you with a 6ft table for your display, it is difficult to make your display look attractive on a flat surface so you will need to think of ways in which to create different levels for a more appealing look. Boxes covered with fabric, stands and a backboard clamped to your table can be used to enhance the look. You will get fresh ideas every time you attend a show and it will develop over time. My backboard is simply constructed from a paste table with two cork boards attached for pinning up items such as door hangers and plaques. It is very handy, as it folds in half for easy transportation and storage. I have often had comments from other stall holders about my novel idea! Also, always remember to bring along a nice cloth to drape over the table, as this will improve your display and you can hide all your boxes under the table and away from view. Flat items like bread boards can be displayed using plate stands and smaller items such as keyrings can be kept in small wicker baskets. Always ensure that the event will provide you with a power supply as lighting is a must. Also, you may wish to demonstrate your craft so ask for some extra space for your demonstration. Spotlights clipped at each end of the table are the most effective and don’t forget your work lamp if you are going to demonstrate.
Pricing & Promotion
For pricing, you will need to have tie-on labels clearly labelled and attached to your work. I have experimented with small pieces of card placed next to my items. Although they looked pretty they soon got lost, moved or knocked over. A business card is essential, as a customer may like to contact you for a commission or another organizer may like to invite you to attend one of their shows. I also stick small address labels to the back of my work, I have often had quite a few calls about my work at a later date. People love to take something away with them that’s free, so promote yourself by producing some leaflets describing your art, again with your contact details. Most will throw them away but a few will lead to a job. Also, why not pyrograph your trading name onto a wooden plaque, this can lead to house sign commissions.
Demonstrating your art is an absolute must at shows, it will bring more people to your stall and most seem fascinated to watch an artist at work! Although a little daunting at first, you’ll soon get used to it. It is also an excellent way of replacing your stock and to fill your time during quiet moments. One of my most popular items are children’s name plates. I have a selection on display and will add a name whilst the customer waits. Get prepared for questions such as, “how long does it take to dry?” and “I bet you’ve burnt yourself a few times!”. Shops and galleries will often take your work, they usually take about 25% commission so add this to the price of your work. The internet’s also a great way of reaching a wider audience, sites such as Ebay are excellent for this.