Seller profile: Dick Vincent
As part of my talk at Manchester School of Art this week, I included profiles from some of my print fair veterans. First up is Dick Vincent! Dick is a prolific illustrator whose work takes us on many adventures; from up on a hilltop to out of this world, from a witch's picnic to hiking holidays.
I asked each seller 4 questions about attending print fairs and 5 tips he would give to students on getting your work out there.
1. Which MPF events have you attended?
Every one since 2015
2. Have you seen a direct link between networking at the events and being commissioned for new work?
I've never had any commision based work from the print fairs, but I have had the opportunity to meet my regular customers face to face or people who have followed me for a while on Instagram etc. This helps me generate more sales; I find people come back more when they've met the artist in person, rather than just an online presence. Also, I've had a few stockists visit me and that's led to wholesale orders!
3. Do you believe the events provide a profitable environment?
That's a tricky one, when I first started they were very profitable. But last year was tough, especially the back end of the year, this wasn't just a Manchester Print Fair thing though, it was a tough year online and at all the markets, some of my stockists mentioned it was a very quiet Christmas. I've found since Brexit and the elections it's a lot harder to get people to part with their money.
But I've found with print fairs you never know what to expect, I've had ones I thought would be shit and I've covered my expenses and my rent, and ones where I've barely made enough to buy a coffee.
I try not to look at them as part of my income, that way if I have a good one its a bonus, if not I got to see my friends and have a chat with my customers.
4. Overall, what are the main benefits of the events for you as a seller?
I think for me its the social aspect; I've made a few good friends at the print fair.
I always think the first few hours whilst you set up is like the first day back at school after summer; you get to see all you're mates with their new products. Also seeing customers in the flesh, I have a lot of regulars who I have a chat with and I can figure out the pieces they like, so if I do another event I can tailor prints/cards to what they like about my work.
Sometime it can be a difficult day; I did a big event in London last year and no one spoke, it was a bit depressing, especially when you put so much effort into making your stall look interesting and you've travelled far for one day...and you're sat there knackered and people act like you're invisible.
Despite having a grumpy face I do love chatting with people outside of the matrix, and I find the customers at Manchester Print Fair are one of the best for that.
TOP 5 TIPS
Dick's tips on promoting your work on and offline:
Now social media has changed to algorithms you basically have to spoon feed everything, well at least that's how I've found it
- Don't be afraid to repost old work
- Make sure all info/ links are clear (I'm finding more and more people are getting lazy and won't go to bios for links)
- Good product photos
- Write something interesting next to the post (I often use jokes)
- On Instagram: use 'stories' and 'on the grid', I've found lately there are the people who scroll the feed and people who scroll stories, it's rare they do both.