Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A New Review

Last Saturday was my final show of the fall season. The week before, I had been in Bellevue Ky. under bright blue skies.The crisp temperatures had told people it was OK to turn on their ovens and bakeware flew off the shelves. Not this week. We were at a new site at a park in Mason. It was not on a main road but I had been assured that there were to be plenty of signs and since it was an established show a reasonable crowd was expected.The rain that was forecast for Friday didn't start until late Friday night. By Saturday 5AM there had been about an inch and a half of rain and it was still coming down. It's not a game for sissies so I had a hasty (not tasty)  breakfast took care of the critters and headed down the road. I got to the show at my appointed time of 7AM and was directed to my booth. It was so beautiful that years a go they made a movie about it, "A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT" .That inch and a half of rain was all standing in my spot. I asked if any straw or anything was available and the volunteer said she would find out.They had a bunch of kids to help unload but nice as they were, they had never set up a booth before. Trying to pile everything on a table under a tent in the rain and still leave room to set up the displays is an awkward affair at best but we got it done. Another volunteer asked if I needed anything. I said straw. They said they would check. I started setting up racks and putting out pots as my 100% waterproof boots started to let the water in. About 9 the rain let up. About 10 a volunteer came by and said "Do you need anything?"  I said " Some way to deal with the water" He said" The park guys might have some plywood I'll see if I can get you some" This is a significant point. He had actually enlisted to help rather than pass the buck to someone else. ( I found out later that the first two bucks had not even been passed) Ten minutes later he came back with a sheet of flake board, 3 2x4's and a helper. My booth suddenly had a floor.Another few minutes and he came back with straw.Maybe this would work out. As wet as it was, I did not get my table covers out and stacked my boxes in plain sight in the corner of the booth. I was roughing it , not trying to look pretty. The show opened and I sold a couple of pots. People straggled in and I sold a couple of more.There were people strolling through the show all day but there was never a crowd. I had very low expectations and I was not disappointed. I ended up about a hundred bucks short of mediocre after a very hard day. My feet have almost dried out.

Overall thoughts from this season.

1. I had some really good shows and some crap awful shows.Overall, I think I am ahead of last year.

2. Everyone has their own thing to push and all shows are run by volunteers. I had speakers blasting into my booth at a couple of shows. I got them turned down but not enough. The sound guys always think people come to hear the music and crank it up. They are wrong. If people can't carry on a conversation in my booth, it costs me money.

3. The graphics folks seem to want to make the signs fancy. You can't read most of them from a moving car so they are useless. If people can read the signs, they need to be on the main roads and have arrows directing people to the show sites. I had complaints about poor sign placement last week. If people can't find the show, I can't sell them pottery.

4.It takes a while to establish a presence. I have had a lot of return business and people who come to certain shows looking for me.People like to know you are not just blowing through town.

5. I did not even apply for the local Christmas show. The date conflicts with a buddy's open house that I always help at and they always seem to find a juror who is looking for "ART" instead of functional ware. No point in paying to be insulted.

6. I still like doing shows but I need to keep refining which ones I do.

7. You don't need to go to Vegas when you roll the dice every Saturday.

Hope your fall season goes well. Thanks for stopping by. We haven't had a song for a while. You can add the harmony on this one.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FS3zPwhI40


  1. Never been so connected to the weather until all these outdoor shows. Trying to figure out which ones are best is a challenge. I have gone mostly local this year and there are still a ton I could go for, but do I want to? The difference between a good show and a bad one can be one customer. I have figured that I am a craft person and have accepted it. I really hate putting in my money for a jury then getting rejected. There's a place for us.... Do you ever have a home sale Dennis?

  2. Every year I talk about having a home sale but never get around to it.I have friends who do very well with them.

  3. I've been to some shows on days with perfect weather and haven't sold a thing. I had a show in the rain this weekend (see today's post) that went pretty well. A lot of factors are involved in making a good show, everyone working as a team is key but often other people (music people, graphic people) don't know what works or hurts us.

  4. I think your point of establishing a presence is a good one. the Vegas thing is so true.

  5. I am so with you on the signage. We did a studio tour through the county arts council and they had tiny signs with the date on them... which meant they were only good for one year. I wish they had sprung for larger, simpler, directional signs that could be put out every year.

  6. I can sooooo sympathize with all of this, been there done that, absolutely!
    I tried going for more indoor shows, cost me a lot more in booth fees and I sold a lot less. That didn't work so I bit the bullet this year and did a few outdoor events fought with the rain all summer,so now I don't even want to sell pottery, haha! I'm doing the studio tour this December,and that's about it for me. There doesn't seem to be a good way to do any of this, it's all a major effort,wears me out! When you find the magic carpet ride, let me know:-)

  7. Thanks Tracey, If I find that magic carpet I'll swing through NC and pick everyone up. I'm just glad I don't have to depend on my pottery or my singing to pay the bills. It would be awfully lean around here !

  8. I am here to tell you that it is getting hard to depend on selling to pay the bills. I think I need to go into Brain surgery or something for some extra money- but I can't find anyone who will let me practice on them...


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