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Thread: Good Day at the Show

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    30,014

    Good Day at the Show

    With the help of LOML, I participated in the 21st Annual Brentwood Spring Art Show all day Sunday. This was another del Mano show, in an affluent part of town, so it had a reputation as a good show for my kind of turned wood.

    The early highlight of the day was a visit from fellow FW member Mohammad Madha and his lovely wife. It was a great surprise and a pleasure to meet them. Plus, now I can put a face to the name. Of course, I forgot to get a picture, so I have no proof, but at least Mohammad and I know the meeting really happened.

    Things stared slowly sales-wise. By mid-afternoon I had only sold two bottle stoppers and was starting to question my intelligence for paying to do this show. (This one day show costs as much as the two day shows I've done in the past - about $280.) After spending the first part of the day watching people pick up pieces, look at the price, set it down, and walk away, I decided I was pricing myself out of the market. So, I broke a cardinal rule (in the opinions of some show sellers) and started knocking 10% or so off the prices. If someone would ask how much a piece was, I'd look at the price tag, and say "Well, I have it priced at $120, but I'd let it go for $110." That seemed to be all the incentive some people needed. Purses and wallets started opening up. I ended up selling one pen, three bottle stoppers, six bowls, a platter, and one hollow form. I saw a few of my favorite pieces go to new homes. But I made over three times my entry fee, and nearly doubled my previous best show. Realistically, if I include my materials and time, I think I might have made about 25 cents per hour, but the gross sales figures came out looking pretty good for a one day sale. (Plus, as I see it, my materials and time don't count, because I'd be paying for and turning this stuff regardless of whether I was selling it or not.)

    And here's a bit of evidence, with my beautiful booth bunny dressing up the place:

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    And a few of the pieces that sold:

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    The curly maple bowl in the last pic (from some of Robert Mickley's maple stash) was by far the showstopper of my booth. It seemed like nobody could walk by that big piece of curly wood without touching it to see if it felt as wrinkled as it looked. Literally, a few thousand people touched it today. The looks on their faces when they felt it was smooth as glass was worth the price of admission.
    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
    Vaughn

    Glad that you had a good day. Pricing is always a nightmare to judge. Sounds like your getting a bit more of a feel for it. I will often offer some incentive if somebody appears to be wavering. Sometimes its cash sometimes its product - "If you buy both the chairs now I can give you one of the footstools as a gift". Second option means that they feel they are getting more value and I feel I'm getting more cash. Who knows - one day maybe we'll both get good at it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Barley View Post
    ...I will often offer some incentive if somebody appears to be wavering.
    I definitely saw that work at this show. One case in particular, the lady was wavering between two pieces, so I shaved the price a bit more (less than 2%) and she left with both of them. I wasn't trying to be a wheeler-dealer, but I just leveled with people and said I was still getting a feel for my pricing, and had a feeling it was a bit high, so I was adjusting them slightly. I get the impression that most vendors at these types of art show discourage price haggling, just because in the long run it cheapens the art, and makes it more like a swap meet.

    And I agree with you that pricing is a nightmare. It's the second hardest part for me...next to finishing. I don't like finishing, because I seldom seem to get it right the first time. Sorta like pricing.
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ...I get the impression that most vendors at these types of art show discourage price haggling, just because in the long run it cheapens the art, and makes it more like a swap meet.
    I'm not a fan of haggling myself. If somebody comes on the phone and the first question that they ask me is the price I know that I am probably on a loser. If they start the buying process and say something like "I'll give you £xxx for it instead" then they are gonna get nowhere and we will both walk away empty handed. If they say something like "If I took 4 could you do anything on the price" then we will come to a mutually agreeable deal. The best I can say is that it comes down to whether they are showing respect for the work and trying to get a bargain which feels like we've all won or whether they are simply trying to look like they won.

    Probably makes no sense but basically if it feels wrong it is wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    No, it makes perfect sense, Ian. As you said, when the person was showing respect for the work, I was much more inclined to try to reach an agreement.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Topeka KS
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    118
    hey out of total curiousity what did those bowls actually sell for?
    Als ik kan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    2,332
    Nice bowls Vaughn! I wish that I had been attending your show.
    Cheers, Frank

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    Way to go Vaughn.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    Sounds like a great day, and I'm sure the more you go to these shows, the better the reception will be to your work!

    PS make darn sure you bring your Booth Bunny along next time, just in case
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Harvey, Michigan
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    687
    Vaughn - Congrats on your good showing! Glad to hear someone can actually make money at this! I like your booth setup - not to crowded! Pricing does seem like it would be the worst part of doing a show. Think I would rather be sanding... at least I know what I am doing at the time! Congrats again and thanks for posting!
    Steve

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