Professional Behavior at an Art Show or Exhibit-Helpful Tips From Rickie

Exhibits and art festivals are taking place all over!  The Rickie Report shares some helpful tips that will benefit artists of all mediums, about professional behavior at an art show or exhibit.  Our goal is to empower you to make your business more successful!



Professional Behavior

at an

Art Show or Exhibit




Does Your exhibit space reflect YOU and what you are selling?


  • Is your business name front and center?
  • Are your business cards available?
  • Is your guest book ready?
  • Is your display so intricate that what you’re selling gets lost?    When people comment on your display more than your items, you are in trouble!
  • Is everything priced?  Potential buyers are often uncomfortable asking how much something costs.  It is human nature.
  • Are you dressed appropriately?  Dress for the occasion.  At an outdoor Art Fair, shorts are more appropriate than a three-piece suit!  If in doubt, always ask the coordinator of the event – BEFORE you get there.  Cleanliness of clothing and brushed teeth go a long way in customer relations.
  • Did you bring a small project to work on during the event?  Art patrons are eager to learn “how” it is created.  You don’t have to give away any trade secrets.  Perhaps, a sketch pad to doodle some new ideas. Look up OFTEN, so visitors NEVER feel they are intruding!  The point is to give them an opportunity to ask about your work or comment – and break the ice!
  • There is a fine balance between  being involved with your project and ignoring potential customers.  Potential buyers feel they are intruding when you are on the phone, reading or talking to a fellow art-show creator.  



Where to position yourself

In a small space, art patrons need room to maneuver within your exhibit set-up.   If possible, sit just outside your booth, ready for questions and ready to welcome your guests.  If you must be inside your space, studies show that hovering around the front center is off-putting to potential customers.  Try to remain in the back, VISIBLE but not intrusive as visitors look at your creations.  Bring a chair that is higher than your displays – you want to be eye level with your customers, not have them looking down to see you.

Everyone can be a potential buyer!  To result in a sale, there is a process of connecting with you and your work.

 Are you making it easy?  

What to Say


  • Greet your customers AFTER they walk into your space.  They need a moment to transition from the previous exhibitor’s booth and yours. SMILE. Be welcoming!


  • NEVER ask a question that can be answered with “Yes” or “No”. Half the time, you are going to lose.


  • “Let me know if I can help you” is a good ice breaker.


  • Another is, “It is okay to pick things up” (IF that is true)


  • “Feel free to try things on” works well when you are selling wearable art.  Note: If you are concerned about clean hands, have some wet wipes readily available.


  • Use plain language to respond to a question.  Not everyone knows as much as you about your medium or technique.  You’re not giving a college lecture.  You’re trying to educate a potential art patron.


  • Leave room for silence.   Too much information is overload, especially when a visitor is at a large art or craft fair.  Short, informative answers leave room for more dialogue if they are interested in buying.  No one buys because you wore them down with your oration and no one likes to be “talked at”.


  • Be sincere. Be you – the creator and maker of these items.  Your love of your artistry will come through!   To become more comfortable, role playing with another artist or friend can be helpful.



What Not to Say (Even if You are Asked…Even if it is true)


  • “My work is the finest you’ll see at this show”  It may be true, but no one likes a braggart.  (You weren’t the only one to be juried in….)
  • “This is a terrible show and I will never do it again”
  • “Another exhibitor is a fraud” 
  • “I hate my location and can’t understand why no one is stopping in to buy”
  • Ignore people who walk into your booth because they don’t look like they can afford your work (Read “The Millionaire Next Door”)
  • Scream at someone who is touching what should not be touched.  It is helpful to have some objects related to your work that small hands can explore while adults are shopping in your booth.  Show a video of your studio and of you working on your art creations!
  • Leave before the show is over.  Unless it is an emergency, NEVER pack up and leave before the event closes.  IF you MUST leave, alert the Show Coordinator!


The Rickie Report is happy to help you when you are preparing for a show or exhibit.  Contact Rickie to make an appointment for a consultation.  In addition, Rickie is available to meet you at your exhibit and “walk the show” with you, giving you helpful suggestions for increasing your potential for success.



For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420





Packaging: What It Says About You

The Rickie Report recently took a survey of how purchases at art fairs are packaged.  We know that it costs a few cents for a plastic grocery store-type bag to many dollars for a corrugated box with your logo printed on it.  Does it matter?  What does this say about you and your product?


There are hundreds of websites and stores where one can purchase packaging materials at retail as well as wholesale prices.  We are not endorsing any particular one, but want to educate the artists and artisans in one more area of customer service that is rarely considered.


Let’s look at various options.  Small jewelry items such as earrings or rings, may be boxed, attached to card or placed in small bags.  We have seen websites offering custom labeling for as little as $.19 per ring box.  We do not consider zip-top type bags a good option.  It looks like you only cared about making your work and selling it, not how it goes home with the customer.  Did you remember to include ear backs to help stabilize the earings as they are being worn ( which also cuts down on lost earrings).  What if this is a gift for someone else?  There are sheer string-tied bags that definitely make a statement.  And they have room for your business card!  Larger items may also be boxed or wrapped in good quality tissue paper and placed in a medium to large shopping bag.  Bags are being sold for less than $.015 each when ordered in bulk.  We’ve seen shopping bags range from $.21-$.29  depending on size.


Hand made items such as small table top sculptures must be wrapped to ensure a safe trip home!  The worst possible experience is for someone to find their purchase damaged while traveling from the art show to home.  Area artists should ask if the item is going in a suitcase or will be shipped, as many of your customers don’t live nearby.   Extra packing material you provide such as bubble wrap will be remembered when the appreciative customer comes to the next show.  Larger pieces, such as paintings need to be secured properly to avoid nicks in the frame or holes in a canvas.  Flat cardboard taped and bubble wrap again meet those needs and protect the frame corners.


There are times when buying a greeting card, there is enough room in my handbag.  I don’t need a bag to protect it because it will be going through the postal system.  It will survive my purse!  But how do I remember who I bought that card from when their business card gets separated from my purchase?  Hopefully, the back of the greeting card has the artist’s website printed or labeled on it.  If the person receiving my card appreciates it as much as I believe they will, they could be making an order themselves!


When considering labels, think “clear”.  They can be printed by your computer and placed not only on a greeting card, but a plain shopping bag.  Use a nice, legible font and make sure the ink won’t smear during inclimate weather.  Use your logo to further brand your work!  Think about using one specific color of tissue or ribbon or raffia to make your branding more concrete.


The Rickie Report wants you to succeed in your artistry as well as your business.  We have written about your business cards and how important your display is to draw in customers.  Now that you have the customers, keep them coming back because you have offered extraordinary customer service after they made that purchase!  Package your work like you would package yourself : Professionally and Artistically!


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420