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art shows, artist kimberly sumerel, craft shows, customer service, displays, marketing, painting, retail, sales, selling, -

At a recent art show I was in, I was asked by a fellow artist and business owner if there was anything they could do to improve sales when it came to presenting and selling their products at outdoor shows and events, and would I be willing to offer my advice? I wanted to say, “How long do you have, because answering that question was going to take a few hours?!” However, after offering my friend a few helpful tips on what I thought needed addressing when it came to the overall presentation of one’s store, I began to look around and it was as clear as day, why some businesses were selling and some were not….it was their “PEOPLE SKILLS!” Sure, they had great products, great prices and a “killer” display, but that wasn’t all! They were smiling and you could tell they genuinely not only loved what they were doing, they valued the customer and welcomed them into their store like they were family! They talked, listened and engaged in conversation with their customers. They talked about their work and shared their passion about their products with everyone.They were not sitting and texting on a cell phone, or chatting with friends who stopped by to monopolize their time and crowd their store, leaving no room for customers to shop, but were acknowledging each and every customer who came into their store whether they bought anything or not.   

So many beautiful products for sale, so many talented individuals. They, like myself had worked long hours, sacrificed their time, and spent a lot of money to bring a plethora of artisan created products to the public for sale. But, what I mostly observed of those who seemed to be having much success was, they knew what it took to serve the customer and that was GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE…. WITH A SMILE! I think often sales people do not realize they are not smiling. Yes, we are tired and yes we sometimes have to set up in the rain and drive long hours to some of these events, eat fast food and take pills because our back and feet are killing us, but that does not excuse us from giving 100% customer service with a “SMILE!” 

Note: You may have the best product money can buy, and if you are in sales of any kind and have no idea how to smile, my suggestion is invests in a mirror! You will be amazed at how far a smile will go when it comes to being successful in sales.

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ART, art shows, artist kimberly sumerel, artshow, craft shows, craft shows Florida art prints, crafts, events, marketing, Mt. Dora Florida, sales, -

There are no words to express what it is like for an artisan who feels the desire to try different marketing techniques when it comes to promoting his/her creative works - especially when it comes to loading up a car and heading out to some far away locale to exhibit his/her finest collection of whatevers for the public to “ooh and ahh” over as they contemplate what thingamabob will look good over their whatchamacallit. Most people refer to these marketing ventures as festivals, art shows, fairs, craft events and anything with a “palooza” at the end! 

But, no matter where these events occur or what they are called, it is important to understand that the artisan has worked hard to perfect his/her craft in order to bring to the public his/her finest craftsmanship for view. So, when you see him/her, please be nice, be courteous, be complimentary of his/her work and know that it took HER 3 hours to cram all HER crap in HER car so tightly the night before that SHE had to take it all out again because SHE could not find the dog, who was asleep in another part of the house. So, SHE had to take another 3 hours to shove it all back in the car a second time. Oh the joy of being someone who can smile in the face of adversity!

Signed……the Artist! Kimberly Sumerel

Next Show: Mt Dora Florida. Collectibles and Crafts Show Mar 19-20, 2016

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art award, art exhibition, art judges, art shows, artfestival, juried art show -

I recently participated in an outdoor art festival that was a juried event. A juried show for some artists is a big thing, because often cash prizes are awarded to the winning art and sometimes those dollar amounts are fairly substantial. It is already an honor for any artist to have their work accepted in a show where it will be seen by large audiences and where it will be judged based on certain criteria by some of the top critics in the industry and world of “art.” 

Judges sometimes see hundreds of art exhibits and their time is limited when it comes to viewing each selected art entry. It takes organization, a knowledge of the types of art presented and a genuine desire to judge each artists fairly in the many different art categories being judged. However, it also takes respect and professionalism, both on the side of the judge and also that of the exhibiting artist.

If you are not familiar with the judging process, a judge is usually accompanied by someone who can assist them with getting in and out of art exhibits quickly because time is limited. These individuals assist with scoring and write down what the judge tells them. I like to call them the judge’s “mini me.”  Prior to judging, “Mini Me” will hand the artist a judge’s business card, notifying the artist they are about to review the art work. Once completed, they move on to the next exhibit. My past event only had two judges and all seemed to be going well, considering there was a large crowd of patrons vying for a chance to also see what the art festival had to offer. I was quite impressed when I saw the first judge taking a good look at my art, viewing it up close to see more detail. He picked up some of the fashion art bags I designed and ran his fingers across the fabric bags made from the art I create. I already felt like a winner. This person took time to actually make me feel they were interested in doing their job. 

The 2nd judge came by, didn’t look or even glance at my work, but proceeded to walk right by my exhibit. He not only overlooked my work but overlooked the next artist as well, who was definitely a more seasoned artist than I. Oh yes, Mini Me did give me a card, but I watched the judge speak with other people and turn in the opposite direction to move forward and away. He never once looked at my art. 

It wasn’t so much about winning. It was about showing professionalism and respect to the artists who work hard to create what they do. This judge by now was long gone and I was left scratching my head. So, with his business card in hand given to me by Mini Me, I left in search of # 2 judge. I found them. I handed the judge’s business card back to Mini Me and politely told him my exhibit had been overlooked. He then replied by saying,“You WERE given a card,” though he looked confused as well. I smiled and returned to my art exhibit. A while later, # 2 judge accompanied by Mini Me returned to my exhibit and quickly gave my art the “once over.” Hmm. Had I just made the severe social blunder, a slip, a breach of etiquette in the world of art by chasing down a judge? Nah! Was I satisfied they had returned to look at my art? Not really. It was the principal of the matter. A mistake was made on the part of the judging team. Whether or not intentional, I do not know. But, for the sake of all artists who spend hours and hours creating art to be juried for sometimes high dollar awards and recognition within a very competitive art arena, the most gracious REWARD an artist could ask for, is for the representing judge to at least LOOK AT THE ART! 

At the end of the day, I had mostly forgotten about Judge #2 and Mini Me. I was ready to go home. I had a great show, met other artist, had some great food to eat. All in all………….it was a successful event. I had fun and isn’t that what life should be….fun?

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art exhibition, art shows, art vendors, craft shows, paintings, trade shows -

“Exhibit Space, NOT BOOTH!”

I recently read the blog of Southern Shows (Southern Women’s Show) organizer President, David Zimmerman addressing the use of the word “booth vs. exhibit” when referencing an assigned area given to vendors who participate in shows for the public. Article: “To Booth or Not to Booth”  As a former vendor and “exhibitor” of the Southern Women’s Show and numerous other arts events throughout the South, I totally understand when he refers to the word “booth” as being rather………….boring! I agree! 

The dictionary definition of booth is: “A small compartment or boxlike room for a specific use by the occupant. His goes on to explain that the word “exhibit” sounds so much better, by making one think…..”Wouldn’t you rather see an exhibit vs. a BOOTH space?” I know I would! It sounds so much more interesting. Of course there are times when “BOOTH” probably does go better with BEER, BRATS AND CARNIVALS. Funny. I just hope that vendor does not think the word “EXHIBIT” fits their product instead. YIKES! I can see it now. PLEASE COME AND VISIT MY EXHIBIT OF WEENIES AND FUN! Just something to think about. Hmm.I hope you are laughing as well!  

NOTE: I will be “exhibiting”  and offering for sale my art at the Heathrow Lake Mary Arts Festival Nov 14-15. You should have no trouble finding me. I will be directly across from the BEER and WINE BOOTH!                                                      

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