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Tips of the trade: patch pushers dish on making the sale


So how does an artist actually pull a profit when producing pins, patches and other swag inevitably requires a bit investment? You charm people into buying your stuff, duh! Well, maybe. Don’t listen to us on that though, we asked much more experienced pin wizards to give us the low down.

Tabling tips for the broke and friendly pinster (or anyone, really)

◑ One size does not fit all
“What sells online does not necessarily translate to what will sell in-person. There is a big difference between looking at something on a screen, and holding it in your hands.”
— Morgan Watt, Inner Decay

◓ One size does not fit allTake stats
Keep track of what sells and where. You may be surprised by what patterns you find!
— Ginette Lapalme, Wowee Zonk

“Small things that are easy to pack and display like stickers, pins, and patches (sell better in person). Bulky things like big screen-printed posters don’t do as well, being a lot of work for us to carry around and a lot of work for potential customers to deal with.” — Avi, Silver Sprocket

◒ Offer variety
“The more products we had, the more sales we had. It also helps minimize risk if a product doesn’t sell as well.” — Jean-Luc Bonifay, Badaboom Studio

◐ Keep it under $10
“People aren’t necessarily expecting to drop $100 at a [zine fair] table. So, it’s smaller-priced items that people feel better about buying spontaneously. If it’s a more expensive item that sells, it’s usually because it’s really unique.” — Alex Dakoulas, Strange Ways 

◓ Step up your display game 
“Make nice displays that are easy for people to look at. One big tip is to elevate your display — the tables at zine fests are designed for people to sit behind, not for people to be standing and looking at for more than a few seconds without getting a sore back. We bring bed risers with us to fests, so that our entire table is 4 to 6 inches higher off the ground, letting the audience take their time at our table without getting sore and having to move on.”
— Avi, Silver Sprocket

◐Say hello! Or at least say something
“The number one way to increase your sales is to engage people walking by your table. Just saying “hi” can lead to a sale from someone who may not have known anything about you or what you do.”
— Morgan Watt, Inner Decay

◒ Ask for feedback
“I make most of my sales online, so social media is really important while promoting a new product. I like to involve my community and friends as much as possible, so I will post steps of the creation and ask for feedback. It’s a lot of fun!”
— Valerie, Valerie Bastille

◐ Avoid discounts — no, really!
 “Sales tend to actually devalue your stuff in the long run. I try to only do one or two a year on notable sales days.”
— Morgan Watt, Inner Decay