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Selling Art, Foods and Fine Crafts With Ease

Nationally recognized speaker/teacher Bruce Baker returned to Indiana Sept. 9. His day-long workshop focused on practical lessons for artists and food producers to use in maximizing their space for increased sales and expanding/extending their line of work to reach a broader range of customers.

Bruce Baker says, “Your retail space is an important and expensive investment – whether it’s a booth, a gallery or a brick and mortar storefront.”  On Sept. 9 he discussed how to maximize its effects and make every inch count.

Baker has spoken for decades on techniques that prompt customers to stop, take notice and be drawn into the spaces of artists, food producers and fine crafts-makers.  His focus is solely on art, foods and craft and all aspects of the promotion, sales and follow-up processes.

Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker

One of the country’s most recognized teachers, Baker returned to Indianapolis Tuesday, Sept. 9, for a workshop open to all artists and value-added food producers wanting to 1.) maximize their space for increased sales and increased ease in selling, and 2.) learn ways to expand or extend their line of work to include a broader range of price points attractive to a broader range of customers.

“From layout to lighting, we will discuss what attracts customers and makes them want to buy your work,” Baker said in his opening remarks.  Participants saw good and bad examples of visual merchandising and learned tips, tools and techniques to design and create space that efficiently sells work.

Baker’s effectiveness stems from his focus on art and food promotion and sales, not widget-selling that artisans have to translate to apply to their work.  To illustrate his effectiveness, Indiana Artisans who participated in his January sales class were the top-sellers in their medium – foods, wine, clay, wood, jewelry, fiber, leather, paper, and metalwork – at this year’s Indiana Artisan Marketplace.

Helping artisans increase sales was the goal of this workshop, and the first Indiana Artisan Holiday Marketplace will provide the opportunity to put Baker’s lessons to the test.  All who apply to Indiana Artisan for the Oct./Nov. jury review sessions, not just those whose applications are successful, will be invited to participate in the Holiday Marketplace, Saturday and Sunday, November 29 and 30, in Fort Wayne’s Grand Wayne Center.

Baker’s easy, friendly style is a pleasure to listen to.  He is an industry professional who has taught thousands of artists and craftspeople how to sell more effectively, including several Indiana Artisans.  “If you attend his workshop and apply his techniques, you will make back your workshop fee IN THE FIRST HOURS of your next show!” said Indiana Artisan potter Carol Bell. “After attending my first Bruce Baker workshop, my very next show I DOUBLED my sales from the same show the year before! It will be one of the best investments you can make in your art business!” she said.

For artists and food producers interested in being part of the Holiday Marketplace, Baker’s presentation was helpful in developing a keen understanding of how to effectively merchandise a booth, as well as how to approach a market heavily focused on buying for the holidays. The focus of his afternoon session was on regional and national sales trends and how to expand or extend art, craft and food lines of work to leverage them.

“Trends drive the marketplace,” Baker said, “and, like big business, artists and food producers can leverage the power and take advantage of trends to enhance their work.” The session identified current and future trends in the art and foods marketplace and their effect on sales.  While the goal was to help artisans take advantage of today’s trends for the Holiday Marketplace, the lessons can be used any time, in any setting.

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Bruce Baker’s January workshop in Indianapolis.

“Artisans don’t use the words product development, because they don’t view their work as products,” Baker said.  “This session will help them objectively look at what they create and new extensions and altogether new routes to tap new markets, reach deeper into their current markets and develop a mix of work at price points that makes every sales venture more successful.”

Supporting that, Miah Michaelsen, Bloomington’s assistant economic development director for the arts, said, “Bruce’s workshops are for sales-oriented working artists.  As one himself, with years of experience, Bruce doesn’t sugar-coat the realities of selling in today’s marketplace, and if you listen to him, you’ll see positive results.  If you’re open to new ideas designed to improve your bottom line, Bruce’s workshops are for you.”