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Business Bits - 10 Tips for a Successful Open Studio Event

Monday, October 11, 2010

Considered hosting an Open Studio Event? If not, you should! They can be really fun, rewarding, & open new doors.

Last November, I held an evening event for friends & family, and I'm planning another this year. So I thought I'd also list some quick tips that come to mind as I prepare for this year's bash!

1. Set Up Shop- wherever that may be. Don't let not having a perfect studio hold you back- another part of your home, a friend's pad, or perhaps team up with a local business (many spots have little rooms they'd love to rent out or share for free!)

2. Set the Mood- spending a little time & money on decor & refreshments can go a long way. My party consisted mostly of moms who were getting out on Saturday night, I wanted to make it extra special for them!

3. Invites- get the buzz out early (now!), send invites consistent with your brand & give them something to look forward to, and be sure to include people new to you- or at least mention that invitees are welcomed to bring friends & family

4. Internet Advisor- I set up my laptop to show off my shop.  I had no idea how many people would be new to Etsy & online shopping in general. It was really exciting to share this with people.  I heard a lot of surprise & amazement at how lovely our shops are...sometimes it's easy to forget that this little beautiful handmade world is so new & unknown to others...even my friends!

5. Show + Tell:  People want to see, hear, know, understand how & where you make your designs. Be prepared to share!  Perhaps have some pieces at different stages or show off a technique (I'd love to see one of the jewelry mavens solder a ring!)

6. Storefront: People will buy things. Be ready for this. That means having bags, calculators, order forms, business cards, change, etc.. all ready to make their purchases.

7. Think Holidays: If your event is for the holidays, be thinking along those lines- vary your price points, offer gift sets, stock up on gifty items.  (ie. last year I spent a lot of time finishing a quilt for my event. My time would've been better spent making more bird ornaments. Not many folks are going to buy an $150 quilt for their son's teacher.)

8. Share the Love: Maybe partner up with another local shop to showcase more items, or contact them ahead of time to sell items that pair up nicely with yours (this will obviously take some working out...but could be very worth it!)

9. Make + Do: Give people things to talk about & get involved with- perhaps a raffle, designing a new piece, voting for a favorite pattern, choosing custom prints, interactive appetizers, trying one of your techniques, reading your catalog- basically, anything that will keep things rolling. It will take pressure off you & add bits of fun!

10. Something to Leave With:  Everyone might not purchase something but it would be nice for them to leave & take a bit home with them. Depending on the size of your party it could be raffle prizes, treat bags, handmade cards, sample items, cards with discount codes, or just a little thank- you note.

Hooray! Now we're all set to share our lovely shops & make this an amazing holiday season!

Please, please post any other tips you might have or offer your own experience. And if you do have an event be sure to take lots of photos & share them!


Pili said...

This is such a great idea!
And great tips, as always!

Michelle said...

I had never really thought about this. Thank you for such great tips!

barelymeasured said...

Good suggestions! I'm new to Quiltish and I LOVE your look and your designs!

Kristin said...

Great ideas and tips. Thanks!

Jen said...

When is this years event?