Every summer many small businesses in our area get ready for the shift that increased traffic and an influx of summer tourists bring to our town. If you are someone with a business based on creativity like ours is, you are probably also wondering how you can capitalize on that summer influx of customers.
While winter may bring slow business and a chance to recover from the busy months of summer, in the warm months we know that taking advantage of those hoards of tourists with bulging wallets is an opportunity we cannot pass. Here are a few ways we have found to expand our sales in summer and so in turn making our winter months of production all the more fruitful.
Street Fairs and Music Festivals
If you have a town or city nearby that thrives on the summer months by hosting plenty of smaller local festivals and street fairs, they are a great place for artists of all stripes. We have come to embrace using mobile payment options on our smartphones as an easy way for the casual tourist to easily make the decision to buy.
If you have not added Square to your smartphone or any of the other mobile payment software programs, you are missing out on impulse buys by tourists and locals alike. The days of running a fair booth on cash only should be in your past history as well. These days, where a cash economy is hard to find and everyone carries plastic, being able to take credit cards and debit cards is a must for any smart creative entrepreneur.
We have a weekly farmers market in our town and several other towns close by have a weekly market as well, though on different days. This makes our schedule pretty busy in the summer between the weekend street fairs, the three weekly farmers markets and running our own little storefront.
The great thing about farmers markets is that it gives you a chance to interact with truly local fans of your art on a regular basis. That young mother that is eyeing your handmade wooden toys may just stop and chat this week, but in a few weeks of looking at getting to know you she may end up buying several toys as gifts for both her kids and as presents for upcoming birthdays of friends. Farmers Markets allow us to develop real relationships and sometimes even friendships with locals who support what we are doing.
As you can imagine, the summer months are pretty busy for everyone in our area that makes handmade goods and sells them. Although we have a website for some of our sales, and probably couldn’t survive without those sales, storefront sales are still important to us too.
That is why we have a cooperative of artists who share the costs of rent and running our shop to keep costs within reach. By sharing the cost between the five of us, we always have the rent covered and someone to mind the store when the festival season sends us all out into the streets. Summer may be busy, but it is a great time to meet, mingle and sell.