The aches and pains that follow a show are easing up after a great Saturday in Bellevue Ky. This is a really nice little show to do. The site is right on the Ohio with a lovely view of the Cincinnati skyline. Lots of old friends peddling their wares. Lots of regular customers coming back to get more stuff. Beautiful weather and wonderful organizers and volunteers. I did very well and so did my friends.
Bellevue was a wonderful finish to my outdoor show season. Last summer, I did six shows. This summer I dropped two of them and ended up making just as much money. I wouldn't have minded having a couple more good shows but there is no point in putting in a very hard 14 hour day and ending up with less than $500 in sales. I have struggled with taking too much stuff to shows but I like my line of tableware and baking dishes.I refuse to make yarn bowls, berry strainers, sponge holders, or incense burners. When people ask, I tell them I don't chase the pot of the week trying to make a fast buck.I make solid timeless country pottery that will last a lifetime.. That's my brand and I'm stickin to it. Slow steady and dependable. If I make all those gimmick pots people can get them anywhere at any pricepoint. If I stay in my brand, people know they can only get it from me. On the other hand, if you take that dinnerware times 8 of each piece times 4 glazes and add a few vases and jars, you have a lot of stuff. I carry a pottery store, not a gallery display. I have coped by making my shelves lightweight, flat folding, and fast to set up. I carry a lot of mugs and bowls. Most of these have dedicated boxes with cardboard sleeves that I can quickly drop stuff into at the end of the day. Other items have designated boxes and wrappings that never leave the box. It is efficient but it still takes up to 2 hours to pack up after a show and there are lots of heavy boxes. I have gotten rid of all cardboard boxes and paper wrapping. Everything is in good plastic boxes with lids. No worries about sitting boxes on wet grass or getting them rained on.
All four shows this year had great weather. Not to hot, not too cold, no rain. People came out in good numbers. I particularly had a lot of returning customers this season. My buddy and mentor Mike always advises people to make plates. Most of them don't listen or don't stick with it. It takes a while but once people start buying plates, you've got a good customer. They come back for more and they come back for bowls, mugs, and serving pieces. I've been doing shows for 5 years and this year really paid off. Every show had return customers coming back for more. When they come back, they don't just buy a mug either. Life is a lot easier when you don't have to make your money $20 at a time.
I did something different at the last 2 shows. I cleaned some odds
and ends of little cups and such off the studio shelves and made little grab
bags that I offered to $50 customers or people who saw me on the
internet. I'm not sure that it boosted any sales to a higher pricepoint
but people loved it. Customer appreciation always comes back around. Hey I even made 2 women happy at the same time. Not many guys can say that!
Next up is packing stuff up for Empty Bowls and making a few more things for Holiday Fair. Thanks again to everyone who came out to a show this summer and especially all those return customers.I just love talking to you and hearing all the kind things you have to say.