Renee Vogt

Renee’s Ceramic Cafe

Ceramics

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Doing it and posting it to social media has helped bring customers into the studio. Just catching a small group of people.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Yes, they are fun and it does help raise awareness of my business.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Get their numbers and encourage live comments.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Yes

Celia Dionne

Coastal Textile Center at Clara’s Loom

Fiber

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

I have active retail hours Wednesday-Saturday and if anyone is curious about my weaving technique I take them to the adjacent building and demonstrate. I also explain the difference between my focus on weaving and what they expect to see, which is traditional.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

I demo frequently because it is a good sales vehicle.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Ask them questions!

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Absolutely, and I even had to expand my retail hours and space. The informal demos help sell classes, equipment and products. They also garner publicity.

Lee Entrekin

Dreamwind Flutes

Wooden Flutes

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Playing music to engage visitors worked. Showing work in progress helped. Most people ignored photos of the process

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Yes, good sales and contacts for future sales.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

For me, playing the flutes I make. if I could, I would juggle flaming chainsaws.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Yes.

Gretchen Shea

Grandmother’s Desk Handcrafted Jewelry

Copper jewelry and sculpture

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Not exactly in studio demos, but I do pierce sawing demos at craft fairs and once in the gallery where I sell my work. Over time, I’ve found its helpful to have pieces that show in progress steps of what you are making. I have a piece sitting there with just holes drilled in the design. Then I have the piece I’m actively cutting out, then the finished piece. It helps give the customer an idea of what goes into making things out of metal.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Yes! It passes the time at craft fairs and people seem very interested. I actually overheard someone say “oh, that’s why it costs so much!” Totally worth it!

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

I start talking to people before they ask what I’m doing. If they seem interested, I give a brief explanation of what I’m doing, then point out what the finished product will look like.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

I’ve noticed that I sell much more when I’m actively working on something.

Penny Burke

Perfectly Imperfect Pottery

Earthenware clay

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Group participation is a great tool. Q and A with visual response when possible goes a long way.

Will you do another one?

Absolutely!

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Offer great images of the actual work being demonstrated. Donate the completed work(s) to the participants.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Yes, hugely.

Jeff Fulkerson

Alden Jefferies Design

Jewelry

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Keep it simple. Most people don’t know or care about the difference between chain nose plies and half round, etc.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Periodically. It helps visibility.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Be yourself and ask them questions about what they are interested in.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

When people have heard or seen your name, they are more likely to trust you which is huge in my industry.

Chuck Ferguson

Recycled Tire Door Mats

Hand-woven door mats made from post-consumer used tires

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

We demonstrate mat weaving in our booth when space permits. These demonstrations are ongoing, all day long. People naturally gravitate towards action, and by weaving a door mat in our booth we get possible customers to engage in conversation. Once they are talking, they are looking at your products. If you are standing or sitting by your product most potential customers just walk by without a second look. By weaving in the booth, we get that second look.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

We weave at approximately 90% of the shows we participate in.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

A simple question helps break the ice and get people talking – “how old is your doormat?” Ask open ended questions, not one that is a yes or no. Once they are talking, they are more likely to purchase.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

A demonstration area is a staple part of our booth set up. We will continue to weave mats at almost every show we go to.

Lori Meehan

LMM Design

Jewelry/metalsmith

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

I’ve demonstrated numerous metalsmithing techniques, both at my home studio as well as where I teach and at art shows. I’ve found that it is helpful to have examples of each step of your process. It helps to engage those watching and also gives a visual of the work that can go into a piece and what the piece looks like during the creative process.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Yes, I love interacting with customers and educating them on the different techniques involved in creating jewelry.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

I’ve found that introducing myself and explaining what I’m doing, the techniques I’m using, the tools involved, is usually a great way to start a conversation.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Yes, absolutely. It gives customers the opportunity to ask questions and understand the amount of work that goes into creating jewelry. I love it when they have that “ah-ha” moment and realize why a price is priced the way it is.

Nancy Ryan

Weaving Stone By Ryan

Weaving, mixed medium

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Because my studio space is limited, it was important to establish a relaxed casual atmosphere from the start. My demos have been mostly advertised by word of mouth, so I tell everyone to expect cozy and be prepared to have fun. So far it has worked.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Yes, because I enjoy sharing my passions. Not because I am an expert (which I am not), but because I like to see others latch onto a new interest.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Be willing to spend the time talking to the customer and listening to their concerns. If they are in your studio and hesitant to try the art form, offer them the opportunity to try it – even with a small make-and-take if possible.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

They have increased my visibility and name recognition, which I feel is important to a business. The customer who may not seem interested today may become interested tomorrow.

Brandy Boyd

BMB Designs

Metals

What worked and what didn’t with your studio demonstration(s)?

Have EVERYTHING within reach. Have pieces in various stages of completion so people can see how it starts out, what it looks like in the middle steps and what a finished piece looks like. People aren’t always there for the whole thing, but they can see what you’re doing even if they miss some of the action. AND that way you don’t bore people by working a piece for 10 minutes to get to a somewhat recognizable stage.

Will you do another one? Why or why not?

Absolutely. I love showing people what all goes into a piece. I feel it really gives them a glimpse into what handmade means and why something that is handcrafted is more expensive than something machine made. Once people learn what goes into something, they value it more.

Do you have any advice on the best way to engage customers?

Let them touch, if possible. Many people connect via touch. Also, avoid jargon or lingo that is specific to the craft. Put it into everyday terms that allow people to relate to it in an everyday way. Open up for questions and be willing to say “I don’t know” if someone asks something outside your wheelhouse.

Have studio demonstrations helped your business?

Absolutely. I have had people buy a piece right after I wipe off the metal dust from cleaning up the edges.