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Thread: Another Fun but Unprofitable Show

  1. #1
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    Another Fun but Unprofitable Show

    LOML and I displayed my stuff today at the Claremont Village Venture Arts and Crafts Fair (I refuse to use the "e" at the end of "Fair".)

    This was definitely the biggest show we've done to date, with over 450 vendors. It took up about 4 x 3 city blocks, and those blocks were full of people most of the day. Unfortunately, there was a severe shortage of people willing to buy my kind of work at the prices I'm asking. There were a lot of crafters selling lower-priced items, and they seemed to be doing an OK amount of business, but not a lot. Those of us selling higher-priced items didn't have nearly as many sales. I sold one piece and ended up in the red...didn't make back my entry fee, but I wont go hungry as a result.

    Despite the lack of sales, LOML and I had a great time. The weather was gorgeous, we had a prime shady booth location, I got to talk to a lot of people who admired my work, and I got to spend the day with the best wife I've ever had.

    Here are a couple street shots, plus one I just had to take of some highly pruned trees growing alongside a restaurant. No booth shots this week...it looked about the same as it did last week in Thousand Oaks.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Just to illustrate how unpredictable this market is, last year about this time, we did a show and our booth neighbors were gourd artists, selling pieces priced from about $10 to $40. That weekend I did a pretty decent amount several hundred dollars) of sales and they only sold one gourd (and it was to me, for $30 as I recall). Today, while I was selling next to nothing, they were doing a fairly brisk business. Go figure. Another artist and good friend of ours does great ceramic animal caricatures in the $20 to $50 range, and she typically sells a lot of product at any given show. She was having a relatively slow day herself until a former customer who hadn't seen her in a few years dropped by her booth and purchased/ordered $750 worth of stuff for gifts. You just never know.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
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    Not wanting to slip into forbidden territory, but do you have any idea why sales were slow?

  3. #3
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    Fewer discretionary dollars. Looks like a beautiful day Vaughn.
    Last edited by Frank Townend; 10-26-2008 at 12:14 PM.



  4. #4
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    Looks like a beautiful day Vaughn. I am thinking with this economy the way it is that arts and crafts aren't going to sell to well. I put some pens out at the office supply here in town I have lowered the price to $12.50 for slimlines. Nothing doing. So may have a lot of christmas to give away.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  5. #5
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    Ahh well, at least you got to see some friends and have a nice day.

    Better Luck Next Time!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Not wanting to slip into forbidden territory, but do you have any idea why sales were slow?
    As Frank T mentioned, I think it's fewer discretionary dollars. I had one lady specifically say she would have bought a nice bowl I had displayed, but she wasn't buying anything until the stock market settles down enough for her to know how much money she has now. Claremont, the town we were in, has a fairly affluent demographic, but a lot of the people there have real estate or stock "assets" that are shrinking quickly. People are just a bit edgy and apprehensive about spending $100+ for a home decoration, I'd guess.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Not wanting to slip into forbidden territory, but do you have any idea why sales were slow?
    No doubt it's because of the struggling economy, volatile stock market and the uncertainties that the soon-to-come presidential election brings...or, that crowd could just be cheap!

    The weather certainly did look gorgeous there, Vaughn and there's lots of people in those pics. Too bad they weren't in more of a buying mood.
    Cody


  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    Central Illinois
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    I'm sorry to hear about a less than steller show for you. Your work is excellant. Better than mine. It IS nice to have good venders at a show with you. It does make it a lot more fun. One thing I do, at most shows, is to demonstrate turning on a Jet mini. It's a little heavier than I like to carry, but, I can turn pens, other small things and small bowls. People get to see part of the process, and I get some work done. I don't know how much effect this has, but I usually sell more when turning than when not.

    I have to agree, that the lack of disposable income is affecting sales. However, for some reason, I have had the best year I've had since started selling. I have changed some of the shows I normally do and added one. The price range is $25.00 for slimlines up to $125.00 for my most pricey bowl. Next time I'll have some items with higher prices.

    It seems that I found the shows where people with money come and are willing to part with it go.

    Just lucky, I guess. I did pick up a Patron, who wants to keep in touch and another customer that is interested in large platter to use when they entertain. Haven't done anything larger that 17" yet, but plan to do some this winter.

    Bruce
    Bruce Shiverdecker - Retired Starving Artist ( No longer a Part timer at Woodcraft, Peoria, Il.)

    "The great thing about turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed and you have something beautiful. Nature does the hard part!"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Despite the lack of sales, LOML and I had a great time. The weather was gorgeous, we had a prime shady booth location, I got to talk to a lot of people who admired my work, and I got to spend the day with the best wife I've ever had.
    Sounds like a stellar success! It doesn't get any better, IMO...but selling a few items woulda helped. On to the next show!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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