Out in the inter-webs there are lists on setting up booths to attract potential interested parties. Lists for what not to do and lists that give pep talks for when you fail to make a sell. This post is not a list, but observations I made while having a table at a college sponsored art festival.
I came into the event with very little expectations. On a community college campus not very many people have a lot of money to spend on art that serves no purpose except to be pretty or cool. While many were interested in my lino prints, what completely sold out were my hand painted tea sets (ergo something they can use).
One of the other artists completely sold out of his mini-comics he priced at one dollar. Another artist had a consistent stream of people making purchases at her table of sculpey clay jewelry all at reasonable and varying prices. However, one table with amazing melted glass jewelry didn’t do well as none of the items were under $20.
Selling to students is hard in general, providing items with low prices such as one or two dollar mini comics or buttons is a way to get people to walk away with something and you just a tiny bit richer. Have competitive pricing. I was sure that my prints at $5 or $8 for two were reasonable, but it was not enough to entice broke students to buy.
Finally, support other artists. I went around and purchased a few (less expensive items) from the other artists and they made a few purchases from me. The big take away I had from this experience is that being confident in your work, friendly and engaging might not gain you a sell every time, yet, I possibly have gained people who will buy something from me in the future.
And to have some $1 items or free stuff.