Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Fair

Saturday was the big day for the Cincinnati Clay Alliance's annual Holiday Fair. I hadn't done it for a couple of years and the format was changed from a "table show" to a 6x8 booth so I really didn't know what to expect. We had 30 artists so the total budget was $3000. Not a lot of money for rental, promotion, and hospitality.Most of the advertising was social media along with postcards and posters. We didn't draw a huge crowd but it was steady and the people that came bought well.

 I had made a flat mug display pegboard for the back of my small space and it worked perfectly. The back of the booth had the mug rack, my chair and a 42" table that ran along the side of the booth. I used my 4 ft two sided rack in the front and that left just enough space for people to walk into the booth and shop. Some of them needed an invitation to come in but most of them did.

My day started with one of the best clay artists in town coming over to say nice things about my work and buy a mug. That bit of recognition got me through the first half hour of the show as we got off to a fairly slow start. People started coming, they kept coming.They started talking about how much they use the stuff that they bought from me last year.They bought more. Not just onesies but twosies and foursies. They brought their friends and talked loudly about the quality of  my work. They bought oval baking dishes. They bought cereal bowls. They kept picking the mugs off that new rack and I kept pulling the box under the table out and filling it up again. They bought big bowls.They bought that fabulous big black and red jar that I have been taking to so many shows to help her find a good home. They came into the booth and gave me hugs. I had brought 12 boxes of pots 4 were empty, some were light.

About 11AM, an older couple came into the booth. Mom said she was looking for a soup mug so I showed her one of the new shino glazed footed ones that I had gotten out of my buddy Mike's kiln earlier in the week.We got them all down and even though they were a little pricey she settled on two. Pop said he wanted a couple of the tall coffee mugs too. Nice folks, nice sale. About 3:30 Mom came back to the show. She said that they had gone home and made soup for lunch and it was so luscious (her words) to eat it out of her new soup mugs that she had to come back and buy the other four. It doesn't get any better than that folks.That is why I make pottery. That is why even with all the hard work I do shows instead of galleries.

The show was very good to me It helped my wallet and it stroked my ego. It is always good to show with friends and this was no exception. We had to load in and pack out through a small slow elevator and all of us working together and helping each other made it quicker than expected.The show closed at 5, I was all packed and knocked down by 6:00 and on the road at 6:30. It made me glad that I don't make crap.It made me glad that I don't made gimmick pots or cute little baubles.It made me glad that I don't chase trends or make the pot of the week that everyone else is making.It made me glad that I make solid useful ware that people use everyday and that I have developed a brand and a body of work that is my own. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Congratulations! Your success is well deserved!

  2. Good to hear of your success The show in Marion NC was good also, much bigger, and more traffic before 1 than the rest of the day. . I was in a booth next to a real production person who undersold our mugs and bowls by...wait for it...4 for $20 !!! I sold one mug, and no cereal bowls the whole day. But since I do all kinds of stuff, I did attract a good amount of attention and made enough to be happy. Barb at Alchemy of Clay

    1. Barbara I feel your pain! We don't sell many mugs at the Celebration of Seagrove Potters show because there are too many potters selling $6 mugs. Jeff and I can't compete with that. 4 for $20 is hardly worth getting up in the morning and making them.... never mind setting up at a show.

  3. Dennis your mini booth looked great! So glad you did well. It was a good show even for some folks who dabble in baubles. ��

  4. HI! Just met you today at Baum open house. I checked out your work and Wow, very nice! Hope to see you in a class soon.
    Take care.
    Happy Holidays!

  5. Great job! It is quite a pat on the back when another potter, especially one you hold in high esteem, buys your mug. As for working shows versus having work in galleries...I have to agree with you about the interaction factor. Of course with the co-op gallery I belong to I actually do work a couple of days/month. Sometimes one of the other artists on duty will email me to describe a customer's reaction to a piece he or she purchased that day. Not quite the same as being there, but it's nice to hear.

  6. You make good honest pots, nice to see people still appreciate that. So fun to read about other potters having good sales! I am sitting back this year enjoying the success of others:-)

  7. Good for you! Great sales and positive feedback can be really energizing to go back to the studio and work. Your setup looks super on the wood floor, very inviting.

  8. Gee thanks everyone. I appreciate your kind words. Tracey good honest pots is exactly what I'm going for thanks so much.Michele, I agree about the Seagrove show and the $6 muggers. Too many people trying to cut corners to hit a price point and it shows.People get the idea that $6 is the right price for any mug and if cheap is there, they don't pay for quality. I couldn't afford to sell mugs for that price if I had Elves making them at night for me.

  9. brilliant mug display, congrats on all the sales


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