The day after report

I finally did my first show. I like to be pretty well organized, so Friday I had everything ready and packed, had my check list, loaded my car at night, and then locked myself out of the house. I had to drive to Benn's work to get keys to get in!
Saturday morning, the day of the show started out a bit irritating. The church was well organized guiding cars in and parking, but a few volunteers were a bit Nazi- like, which led to a little bit of unneeded stress.
I shared a booth with my friend Carol, who does seed bead weaving, so we had 2 totally different styles of jewelry, not at all competing with each other.

That's Carol in the background and her work is to the right on the table.
The weather was beautiful, but the crowds were just not there. A few people at a time would come by; I think we saw more vendors that people off the street. I did manage to sell 5 things (many to friends I had invited myself), and handed out lots of business cards letting people know that I have an on-line shop, so hopefully I'll get some new customers from that. I think Carol had a couple of sales. When I walked around later and talked with other vendors, nobody had a good day. Very slow. The general consensus was that the church did not do enough advertising. I agree.
I did not walk around to all the vendors, but I have to admit, that there were more "crafty type" items that art. This is my personal opinion. Ladies were selling home baked items, crocheted pot holders, many jewelry vendors, mostly of crystal beaded bracelets, somewhat simple. There was one vendor, who will remain nameless, who claimed to have made all their jewelry items. Well, let me tell you this, maybe 10 wire wrapped pendants were handmade, but most of their jewelry was mass produced, probably purchased from some merchant who imports this type of stuff. I am glad this was not a juried show, or I would have complained to the organizer, as this vendor was totally unprofessional and misrepresenting himself, thus giving all of us who do create original hand crafted jewelry a bad name.

I did set up to take credit cards through "Propay", but found that people did not want to use their cards. Everyone had cash. Overall, most did not want to spend over $20.00. NOTE: This was not a flea market!

My brass collection, which did not get much attention. Too bad though, as some of it is the least pricey of all my work!
My overall thoughts are these: I'm glad I did the show. It was good for the experience. I was not nervous and talked with everyone who walked by. But, I probably will never do a church sponsored arts and crafts show again. It is o.k. if you're a church member and wanting to sell home baked goods, or if you have a "hobby" and just doing it for fun or a little extra money. Or if you make inexpensive crafty items. But, if you are an artisan, and truly consider this your craft, and want to have a business with it, then I would recommend a higher end "arts" show. Location also being a valuable point to make. Maybe you live in a upscale community, and your church is very active, influential in the community, and you are very active within that church, and know many of its members, then you might have another experience and do better with your business. This is just what I found for me.
And make sure your show is being well advertised. I cannot say enough about this. So the show ends and we pack up, I load up my car, and guess what? Locked my car keys in my car! It's o.k. to laugh here. Benn had to come to my rescue again.

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Anonymous said…
Hi Cindy!
At least you were able to get your feet wet. I am actually expecting to have a similar experience my first show. It is a rather small venue, unjuried, and I have no clue how much they have advertised. I need to experience it before I go further.
thebearaffair said…
I had the same experience with the last show I participated in. I think that people are out to "look" for entertainment but really have no spare change to spend at this time. Your jewelry is beautiful and it belongs iin a gallery - only problem with that is the gallery wants 40-50% of the sale price and most of us can't afford to give that up. Don't know what the answer is but will keep trying. Good luck, Sally
cindy said…
Thank you, Sally!
Alice said…
Well you have that first one under your belt and have learned a lot. I hope the booth fee was not huge! I have to say from experience that it can take a lot of time (trial and error, and some prior investigation) to find the shows that are right for you. Even then the 'right' show will morph from year to year. I have found that shows in higher-end areas and galleries draw people who appreciate your craft and are willing to pay the price for a unique item.

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