Think Art Loud

Inspiring, Encouraging, and Promoting the Handmade Arts and Artists

Posts Tagged ‘art shows’

If you do a lot of shows, or have higher priced items, then you’ve probably considered, or will eventually be considering, accepting credit cards at shows. Accepting credit cards at shows really does make quite an impact on your sales. Since I started accepting credit cards at shows, I’ve noticed not only increased sales, but also an increase in the average price, so I would definitely encourage other artists to look into accepting credit cards. However, as there are several different options out there for doing so it can be very confusing to find which method would be the best one for you.

Most methods require that you have a merchant account service (sometimes banks offer this) which will rent or sell you the credit card processing equipment. Some of the methods will approve/decline the cards right away, while others record the needed information requiring you to phone the information into your merchant account service to complete the payment(s).

Regular credit card processors and merchant accounts can be very expensive. Besides the cost of the equipment, merchant accounts charge a monthly fee (whether or not you’ve actually processed any cards that month), as well as, transaction fees for each credit card payment (the % varies for each credit card company).

Thankfully, these merchant account services are no longer the only options out there for accepting credit cards, Other options out there are: Intuit GoPayment, Square, or PayPal’s card reader. All three of these options allow you to accept credit cards via a smartphone and know straight away if the card is approved or declined. I use Square and absolutely love it. The card readers are free and there’s no monthly fee, so the only cost is a small transaction fee which is the same for all credit card types. Square is the method I would most recommend, but I know others that have used Intuit GoPayment and PayPal that are also really happy with their choice. Whichever one you choose (if you choose to accept credit cards via a smartphone), just be sure to do your research as two which phones they are or are not compatible with.

If you’ve ever sold your work at shows you know just how important a good booth display is. It’s what will first get potential customers attention and if you don’t have a good booth display then they’ll just walk on by and not give you a closer look. Your booth display needs to be professional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be creative.

The equipment for a traditional booth display can be very expensive, so why not think outside the box? Sometimes you can make the traditional display forms yourself for a much less than you’d spend to buy them. Like a lot of other jewelers, I use a lot of half-moon bracelet forms. However, with the help of my family, I made my half-moon bracelet forms (you can see them in use below). To do so, all you need is PVC pipe of the right diameter, cut it to the desired length, cute the pipe in half lengthwise, and cover with fabric. Tada! You have your own bracelet forms (and they stack nicely too, which is great for storing them!)!

Handmaden Designs LLC booth display

Do you need to put something behind glass? Instead of paying a lot of money for those cold looking glass display cases, why not make or repurpose your own? There are so many different ways you can do this: reuse old glass cloches; repurpose candle lanterns, make a shadowbox display case from old picture frames, etc.

My current booth display is a marriage of traditional jewelry display forms and repurposed/upcycled displays. I’ve used old (and new) boxes, spindles from spinning wheels, glass cloches, candle lanterns, hide-a-books (these make great risers!), handmade half-moon forms, small brass telescopes, mini-diving helmets, shadow boxes…. I’ve even used old oil cans as display forms (actually, these are cute to display rings on)!

Upcycled displays are a lot of fun. They can look just as great as a traditional booth display (sometimes even better) and when mixed with a few traditional forms it creates a beautiful, artistic, and professional looking display.

Part of the fun with repurposed booth displays is in the hunt for obscure objects to reuse and then imagining how you can use them. I’ve seen muffin tins used to display pendants, cheese graters to display earrings, bicycle seats as necklace forms, and a myriad of other creative ideas. You can find great display items at flee markets, yard/garage sales, antique stores, thrift stores, estate sales, and even *cough* dumpster diving *cough*.

So turn on your imagination, look around, and see if there isn’t someway that you can add some creative repurposing to your booth display!

Handmaden Designs LLC booth display

Too see more ideas on how to add some repurpose/upcycle style to your booth display visit my “Creative Display” board on Pinterest!

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