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how do you run a successful studio tour?--longish

updated sun 18 dec 05


Susan Fox Hirschmann on sat 17 dec 05

In a message dated 12/17/2005 5:14:17 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Does other studio tours require a minimum $ value of inventory and range of
prices the public expects to find? What if the artist does mainly
commission much should they have to display. Does other tours
inspect the artisans studio setup to see if it is appropriate for a sale?

Since I live down a long country road, I want it to be worth the clients
drive and I want them to linger and shop, so I offer them homemade bake
goods, hot cider, pleasant music, welcome flag at road, decorate for the
season etc. and do demonstrations and talk it up with know the
warm fuzzies. I have had a very nice response to this.....but this is my
personal taste.

I have had my annual Studio tour for 16 years and always find that ballons
out front and a small sign on the door reading "Welcome!!!! Please come in and
sign Guest Book" is a warming welcome. My guest book specifically asks for
addresses and emails so that I can build this mailing list. Then I offer them
warm cider, which they can smell when they come in and introduce myself with an
outreached hand. I smile lots, as I love doing this show, and tell them about
my work and a bit of the inspritation behind it. I always try and offer
fuctional as well as my art pottery in a wide variety of price ranges. I also do
large custom wall installations and have a small sample of that on one wall,
with photos of one large installation that I did, with printed words on top
"Custom Designs A Speciality."

I take them thru the studio behind my small gallery and show them all the
equipment and often do throwing demos for them Often it is the demos---and a 5
minute lecture on "process" that sells the work, other than the fact that they
like it! When they see what goes into the throwing process and all the kilns,
that is all a great seller as they develop a new appreciation for work of a

Since I teach in my studio, I keep a clipboard with a big label on the top;
"Interested in Pottery Classes?" where they can put their

Then there is another thing I do that really brings people: People LOVE free
stuff,....and each year I make something different. Last year it was tiny
cups that I threw off a hump, this year it was small spoon rests handpainted
with grapes and leaves. They are free with a purchase and everyone always
gathers around the free stuff. I really enjoy doing this for my customers and think
they remember me by these free things. It is a great marketing tool! (I only
do it at xmas time and tend to do either a small discount at my pre-Mother's
Day Studio show or give 10% to some medical research or other charity)

I also have signs up that tell them
"UPS Shipping Available"
Other Colors Available
Charge accounts that I accept
And any other signs I feel will help explain the work, if I get too busy (and
I love to get too busy wrapping and taking their money!)---so they know that
I also offer the above services.

A relaxed and warm attitude is the best seller for your work!
Best of luck with it,
My Studio show this year, I am happy to report, exceeded previous
years.....the signs on the rd as well as mailings to 1500 in the DC Metropolitan area
really helps.
My signs by the way say
DAte....time...and arrows taking them right here!

Annandale, VA