8/02/2010

Research Your Demographic

Yesterday was my third art market of the year, A Midsummer ARTfest (more on that later). Throughout the last three shows I have kept a reciept book, a.) to look legit b.) to keep my accounts in order and c.) to take notes on my buyers. I want to know who likes the buenahelena brand? Last fall I made a list of the audience I wanted buenahelena to aim for. It went something like this:

"Cooky feminist girls, who are smart and fun, with a taste for retro and vintage color and pattern, who love all things strange, funny and unorthodox, and who love a good party."

Although I don't have the faces and stories of my buyers on Etsy, they do tend to be female. Seeing particular people's eyes light up in person is much more telling. Here's who's been buying at the markets so far:
  • Babies. Ok not babies, but little girls age 3-5 LOVE my button rings....because they think they're candy.
  • Pre-teen girls. They want the upcycled jewelry too.....a sale hinges on how much influence she can win over mom/dad by making puppy eyes over an expectant smile.... truly suspenseful.
  • A lot of women ages 20-50, dig my 'In Bed' and 'Pin Up's with Pit Hair' art cards/editions. First they look, then they laugh, then they search all of them and then they say "Oh this one is perfect for (fill in awesomely quirky friend's name)". However, I have a fabulous repeat customer who bought 2 for herself at separate shows. Love you!
  • My cocktail napkin coasters go by and large to two seemingly distant demographics. Mom's buying humorous dorm gifts for college bound children and gay male couples. Go figure?
  • Tea cup candles have the most sales to young urban singles. Many others love the idea and openly ponder doing it themselves. Sales lost...but creativity spread.
  • Button rings have been weak online, but sell like hot cakes at the markets. Maybe it is the ability for customers to try them on and hold them up to their outfits, which for whatever reason always magically match.
  • Matchbook notepads are hot sellers for guys and girls of all ages. Always, always have a little, inexpensive item at your table that catches the eye.
  • My new matchstick/spool paintings are going fast to settled home owners. One wanted them in a triptych for his living room. Another for her dining room. For something I just came up with in July and haven't even gotten to list on Etsy yet, they've found a niche I never accounted for.
Photo by my table buddy Robert Frank (thanks!)

So back to a Midsummer ARTfest...what a wonderful event! It was produced by Marisa Krol, an artist who I met and traded with at Boulderfest. Always ready for strange connections, I discovered that we both participated in a rare art program in high school with local artist Loree Harpole. This was her first self created event and was my most successful this year in terms of the ratio of hours/sales/good crowd/fun vendors.

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