Traveling the Circuit
-Improving Fuel Economy for Artists and Crafters
High fuel prices affect profits of handcrafted art or craft businesses unless you adjust craft prices to account for them, either way someone pays the difference.
FuelEconomy.gov -Maintaining your vehicle for maximum fuel efficiency makes driving to craft shows cost less.
Keep craft show profits in your pockets:
Attending quality art and craft shows while visiting nearby friends and family makes the trip accomplish two purposes. Save receipts-it is a business trip which is a tax write off. Save money on hotels and food by staying with friends and family.
When traveling long distances to shows attend other art festivals on the way to and from the show. The more craft shows you attend increases the number of people who see your product and hopefully your sales. Reducing distance between events reduces the number of gallons of gas used per show. Spend less time driving from place to place, leaving more time to see sites and rest between shows. Keeping distances short between stops helps you plan ahead better. Don't look for hotels between 10pm and midnight when most are full. Make reservations in advance when rates are better saving money.
Do shows close to home. The closer to home the events you do are, the less money you spend on gas getting to them. Tie a string to a pin and place the pin in your city on the map. Use it to draw circles on the map at distances of 30 miles, 100 miles and 150 miles. Check out shows happening in the cities inside your circles. Where the population is dense you should be able to find quite a few shows happening. In areas where there aren’t a lot of shows happening consider starting one, pick up business cards of artists and crafters off of bulletin boards, at farmers’ markets, and at shows in the area. Contact them and ask if they would be interested in attending a show. Some of the most successful shows I’ve seen were held in a large back yard with 4-6 crafters participating.
Get a website. Some of you are probably afraid of computers and some don’t own one. Don’t let fear of technology stand in the way of profits. Many adult education classes offer the basics of computer usage. You don’t need to know special computer languages to create and maintain your own website anymore. My website cost me under $100/year and came with a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor with great tutorials. Your website works 24/7 to sell your product and inform your customers. You can’t get a salesman as dedicated to selling handmade crafts for a better price. Include your website address on your business card. Give your card to everyone who purchases from you at events. Have them available to anyone who visits your booth. Use your website to inform customers about your crafts, where to find your one of a kind (OOAK) handmade crafts, and to sell your product between art and craft shows.
Create a mailing list. Ask customers permission to add them to your mailing list. Mail a postcard to customers in the area you will be doing shows letting them know where they can find you. Offer a discount for bringing the card and a friend to see you at the show. People who’ve already bought your crafts are more likely to buy your product than the average Joe. Staying in contact with them increases sales and profits.