How Trunk Shows Can Grow Your Handmade Business

Boost your sales and build gallery relationships with trunk shows.


Trunk show collage. Learn about these events by reading our article at


A trunk show is an event where you as the artist or designer make an appearance at a gallery or a retail store and sell your work directly to shoppers who attend. It’s not really a consignment arrangement, because sales are taking place while you are at the store and you keep possession of your own merchandise.

Trunk shows are a great way to promote and create excitement about your line. Quite often, a lot of marketing is done, with the retailer (and you) working your mailing list and inviting shoppers for a fun experience to meet the designer in person. Often refreshments are served to create a relaxing party atmosphere.

When making an appearance, you may bring items with you that are not currently in the store’s inventory, and will usually split sales 50/50 with the store. Use this opportunity to tell your story, share your inspiration and develop new collectors. You might be selling your regular collection, or one-of-a-kind pieces, or maybe even taking special orders while you are there.

Doing a trunk show has many benefits. The store gains because the items brought by the artist boosts their inventory without them having to invest in it. And, these events usually pull in lots of customers, who may end up buying all types of merchandise, from the artist who appears and other things as well. The artist gains because they can debut a collection that the store doesn’t yet stock, or test out a new line.

You might do a trunk show at a store which is not yet a wholesale customer of yours. This is a low-risk way to prove your sales success. You can potentially gain a new wholesale account, once they know your work sells well to the shoppers who patronize their store.

Have you ever made an artist appearance, or done a trunk show event? When you are wholesaling your line, look for opportunities like this to gain exposure for your brand and your collection, and to work directly with retailers.

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