We did another show this weekend in Rolling Hills Estates, on the Palos Verde peninsula. Absolutely gorgeous weather, tens of thousands of people, but not really an "art" show, despite what I'd been led to believe. Tons of import crap, vacation timeshare salesmen, chiropractors, realtors, the Libertarian Party, the Scientologists doing IQ tests, pet adoption booths, auto dealerships, a big carnival, and very little handmade stuff that wasn't from a third world country. There were a couple booths selling hand-carved cedar bowls and baskets for $20 each. These were made in China from roughly 12" cubes of cedar. You could tell the public knew the difference, though. The cedar bowl booth was attracting people who walked right past mine, and the people who stopped at my booth would ignore the cedar stuff two spaces down from me. The Chinese guy selling at that booth (nice guy, too) almost sold out, but he and I were comparing notes, and I sold one bowl for the same amount he sold a table full (11) of his bowls. I'd wager that I actually grossed more than he did.
And here's a poor cell phone photo of his booth:
As it turned out, what the crowd lacked in quality they made up for in quantity. There were not a lot of people willing to spend $100+ for "art", but in a crowd that size, there were enough. Not including the bowl I sold the night before the show, I roughly doubled my entry fee. (Which, by the way, went up with the addition of the $35 the City of Rolling Hills Estates decided to charge each of the vendors for a 2-day Business License.) Once again, not near enough money to put food on the table, but enough to cover expenses and still give us a little mad money to play with.
Here are a few street scene pics...sorry for the low quality; more cell phone pics...
This shot is from the parking garage behind our row of booths. Mine is the white roof just above the green one on the left. The fair was adjacent to a nice shopping mall, and out little street was the path people walked to go between the mall and the fair. This is less than a tenth of the booths...there were four streets full, going in four directions, and our street was the short one. This pic shows about half of it.
All the streets except ours had four rows of booths. One on each side of the street, and two rows on the median. Some of those streets got too crowded. We had a prime spot with breathing room, in the shade, and closer than most the other vendors to the parking garage.
There was a pet rescue booth a couple spaces down from us, and LOML spent a lot of time there helping out. (Do not get between my wife and a puppy. You WILL be run over.) This particular rescue place specializes in the hurt and crippled animals that are extra hard to find homes for. There was one pup they had just received Saturday, and the poor little thing has some type of neurological issue that looked like a cross between cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Between the shaking and the bobbing her head like Stevie Wonder, it was pretty sad to see. Little thing can't really even walk. (Personally, I think it may be about time to stop its suffering, but it's not my dog, so not my call.) Nonetheless, LOML spent a large part of Sunday holding, comforting, and caring for the little girl. I snapped this pic of her feeding the pup. You gotta understand my wife is someone who refuses to touch raw meat, and is generally grossed out by anything slimy, but she doesn't bat an eye at grabbing a handful of canned dog food and feeding it a pinch at a time to a sick puppy.
And the last poor pic...the street we were on was not level. The north side of the booth was about 8" higher than the south side, so for the first day, my tables were all unlevel since I had nothing to shim them with. I did find some stuff to shim the shelf, though. This pic shows a level shelf, with tilted tables underneath. The booth canopy is pretty level because I was able to extend the south legs farther than the north legs.
By Sunday, I showed up with sufficient wood blocks to get the tables leveled up pretty well. I'll need to remember to have then with me in the future.
All in all, after a fairly slow start, this turned out to be our second-best show based on gross sales, but it was quite a bit more expensive to do than any of our previous ones, so the net sales were somewhere in the middle of the pack. Not great, but not bad. I still want to concentrate on doing art shows instead of being the "art guy" at a neighborhood fair.