Post show wrap up and a walk in my booth

In a word, disaster. I'm really thinking about not doing outdoor shows any more. I did poorly at this show; actually lost money on this one. I think I was "out of my league". There were so many professional full-time artists at this show. I knew some of the jewelry designers- mostly high end, and a few new ones that I talked to-their jewelry was so professional- some did not even look handmade.
Now this was a juried show- and they did accept my work- but really I don't think I fit in. It was an upscale community, but I think my jewelry concepts were more geared for a younger crowd than was there. Most of the shoppers were older- retirees- with a flair of "ritzy"- my best description that I can come up with.
So then you have to ask yourself, "are the sponsors of the show just trying to fill spots and make money?"

Money-the bottom line
These juried shows are so expensive, then you have to have a completely "boutique-look" booth set up. I saw so many great booths that looked like professional decorators put them together. And do you know how much it costs to have professional podiums, glass cases, wall finishings, etc.? Some of these folks probably spent $1000.00 on their booths alone!

I feel like I can't compete. When I do get into a juried fine art show, I feel like the lowest, crappiest artist there. And when I do a reasonably priced "craft" show, I feel like I'm too high end. Where do I fit? I do feel the need to streamline my work to a specific genre, or customer if you will- because it costs too much to try to please everyone, which really is impossible to do anyway.

Let's look at my booth.

This is part of my main table.
So you know that you only have about 2-3 seconds to attract a potential customer to actually come in or to just pass by. So I started to think about how my tables are "placed" around that 10 foot space in order to catch the most attention.
My main table above, show cases my cuffs, with a pictorial of the process of fold-forming, to flip through. It gives me a chance to talk to the customers and show the work that goes into making a cuff.

I like this table display. I have my mixed metal, industrial pieces grouped together. I think grouping things together does help.

I use this tall slotted display on my other wall. It was inexpensive, but too light weight, and I continue to fight with any gust on wind that blows by; even though the entire thing in strapped down-top and bottom.
So when you take into account all that goes into a show; plus your time spent at the show (minimum 20 hours for this weekend for me) plus driving expenses- just how much money do you need to make in order to say it's enough? I'm finding out, not enough to make a living on.

I like using this format, as a journal for my business experiences, and maybe you'll get something out of this yourself. Or maybe just a curious read for you.
Anyway, I must run-I have a job interview this afternoon.


Gari Anne said…
I quit doing shows after trying out several different ones for a year or two. It was too much work and too little money. Then I would come home to a bunch of orders online, so decided to focus on that.

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