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Thread: First "Juried Show" and Attempt at getting into state-wide Artist Shops

  1. #1
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    First "Juried Show" and Attempt at getting into state-wide Artist Shops

    Well, I received my first Art rejection letter. The Illinois Artisans Program said thank you for submitting, but you didn't make the cut this year. (Basically - Keep working on improving your quality and try next spring - don't forget to include the $20.00 jury fee.

    Boo Hoo

    Now the first juried show. First time I paid $100.00 to be in a show (2 days).

    First day (Saturday 10:00 AM till 5:00 PM) sold some small things - enough to pay for the booth and lunch. The weather was wonderful, but there were four local festivals in the proximity of the show's location. Most others I talked to had the same amount of business, Except one lady who sold a $1000.00 painting. (Good for her!)

    Sunday - The show opened at 10:00 AM and ran till 4:00 PM. I didn't expect things to pick up until after Noon. OOPS - never picked up. Spotty, at best. Sold a pen in the first two hours, a lot of looky-lou's, and several I'll B Back's.

    One of the b-backs walked by three times saying they weren't done yet and the third time, I said "Yes you are! Have a nice day!" The other B-Back was looking at a the Dalmation bowl I made from Jim King's wood. I priced it at $150.00 since it was so beautiful. Before they made it back, another customer bought it.

    That one sale made the day And the show! I really wish the B-backs would be honest and just say they like, but are looking for something else.

    Bruce

  2. #2
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    Ain't retail sales a blast Bruce

    I do retail everyday, some days a guy walks in and talks my ear off for an hour about wine, then leaves, not even buying a coke

    other days, a guy walks in, credit card in hand, and spends 2K

    You just got to keep at it, I'm sure your creations will sell.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Congrats on the show, but sorry to see things were kind of slow.

    I'm particularly interested in posts like this Bruce, since I'm planning to start applying to a few juried shows myself. In my area, the shows cost the vendors $175 to $325 per weekend, so I'm a bit nervous about making my expenses back. By the time I include the start-up costs like the booth, displays, resale license, and jury/entry fees, I'll be needing to do pretty brisk sales to recoup my investment. A lot of that hinges on finding the right shows.

    I've already bought my booth canopy and tables, so there's no turning back now.
    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

  4. #4
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    Vaughn, I'm sure that you know that the first few shows you do might just be a wash, but it is an investment in your future.

    If I was doing this, what I'd do is to plan or budget to do one seasons's worth of shows (dunno how many that is, 6...8....12... ) and then look at the whole season as a whole to decide if it is worth while or not.

    Some people do well at shows, some do better with studio, or galleries showing and selling their work, some do a mix.

    Retail is hard business, but if you have the right attitude, good products and faith in yourself, you can do well at it.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    havnt been there in a long time!!!

    and it wasnt in the wood working line. but the one thing i did learn vaughn and bruce is by all means tell the looker that if there is anything they are wanting that you can make it for them. get a name and no. i was in leathercraft back then and had some purses and wallets and such that had a fair amount of time in them sold a couple. but the i also had couple of braclets that had names on them. those sold like hopt cakes and i was lucky enough to have few balnks that i could make whle there,, i had to send the wife to the local store to get more materails,, i was there past the closing time both days just making braclets. and had more orders than i could get done in the time i had at the show...those bracelets were my bread and butter and i made over 700$ during that show and most of it was in braclets... i had got lucky and hot on something that even a young kid could purchase.... so my advice is to have something small that everyone can purchase and then have your show pieces for the lookers to see what you can do. i had went away from there with many orders form folks wanting this or that in there color or style... just a veiw from a common fellar...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    Stu understands, I have owned retail stores and confirm that being in the business is an easy way to insanity and/or deep depression. There is no figuring the public. A big problem with shows is that they are called "shows". People go often just to look. And, I must confess that my wife and I do that on occasion. We'll walk through just to look at the interesting stuff and kill time. I go to every gun show that comes to town even though my gun acquiring days are past and my budget is now directed more to tools. Maybe if they were promoted as craft "markets" the attitude might change. I have asked those who do shows regularly what sells and the common thread is items under $20.00. That leaves out fancy bowls and my $60.00 to $200.00 pens.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    I'm sorry if I misled you folks. Since this is my first, I'm happy with the outcome. I make pens and other inexpensive items to pay the booth rent and occasionly sell some bowls and boxes.

    Last year, I made a cherry (what I will call a FLAT bowl) bowl 1-1/2 tall, 12" diameter, with a rolled side. I priced it at $100.00. It lasted two shows. At the first one ( a Saturday morning marked) a woman came in - fell in love with it till she saw the price - offered 70.00 - and I declined. The next weekend, a different woman came in - made a bee line to the bowl - cradled it to her chest and when I asked if I could hold it for her was told " NO.... It's MINE!" She didn't even ask the price till it was wrapped up and the check was half written. Just goes to show, you can never outguess customers. The lady that bought the $150.00 bowl (just by looking at her), you would think "here's a waste of time." So, I always treat all of the crowd with respect.

    Bruce

  8. #8
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    Bruce, I can relate to the comment about not knowing what to expect from a customer based on their looks. Sometimes the least likely end up being the best customers. Look at my avatar pic...I'm sometimes one of those customers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Vaughn, I'm sure that you know that the first few shows you do might just be a wash, but it is an investment in your future.

    If I was doing this, what I'd do is to plan or budget to do one seasons's worth of shows (dunno how many that is, 6...8....12... ) and then look at the whole season as a whole to decide if it is worth while or not.

    Some people do well at shows, some do better with studio, or galleries showing and selling their work, some do a mix.

    Retail is hard business, but if you have the right attitude, good products and faith in yourself, you can do well at it.

    Cheers!
    Yeppers Stu, I suspect the first several shows will likely cost me more than they make. Like you suggested, I'm planning on doing a few just to get a taste (probably 2 or three this fall, and about the same next spring), and to see how much more of it LOML and I can take. Then we'll figure out the next steps from there.

    I've logged my hours in the retail business as well as other jobs that involved dealing with the public -- like tech support -- so I know how much of a pain (and joy) customers can be.

    I've also heard comments like Frank mentioned about the sub-$20 items. I'm still undecided about how many lower-cost items I plan to have available. It's a toss-up between offering primarily what I really like to make (mostly hollow forms and bowls), or things I suspect will move better, like pens and bottle stoppers. Thing is, I'm not depending on this for income, so I can be a bit choosy about what I decide to sell, as long as I'm willing to potentially take home less money, and as long as I recoup my investment.
    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

  9. #9
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    One suggestion, Vaughn. If you're going with your BEAUTIFUL Bowls and H forms, go for ART shows instead of Craft Shows. I believe that is where your work belongs. Not all of them are expensive and juried.

    Bruce

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Shiverdecker View Post
    One suggestion, Vaughn. If you're going with your BEAUTIFUL Bowls and H forms, go for ART shows instead of Craft Shows. I believe that is where your work belongs. Not all of them are expensive and juried.

    Bruce
    Thanks Bruce...I agree completely on being selective about which shows to do. One of the things I've been doing this summer is researching to see out which shows are art shows, and which are craft shows. They do seem to have a pretty separate demographic. So far, I've not found any art shows that are particularly inexpensive to enter in this area, but I'm sure they're out there. The deeper I dig the more shows I'm finding.
    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

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