Hey everyone! I have been toying with so many ideas for 2010 that it seems hard to figure out what is best for me and my craft business when going ahead and making plans for next year - which shows to sign up for, what other things I would like to do next year (as in vacations and such, to plan around show dates) and then what to do new and creatively regarding what I sell for next year. In addition it was about this time last year I decided to make some big changes for my business as I decided it would be worth changing the business name, create new labels and some new packaging, and added some new products. What can I say I do embrace chance and it has worked for me. I just feel "I have to top that for next year???" LOL I don't plan on topping it, but deciding on what the next step is in promoting all the new stuff seems to be a challenge. I have an idea of which path I wish to take, (not going to jinx it by stating it now) but still working out the kinks. I am wondering if anyone here is having trouble, like me, in deciding how to approach 2010 when making business decisions for their well art/craft business when it comes to doing shows? Are others concerned about finances too - what might be going on economically next year and factoring that into their plans? - Michelle

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  • Considering that all the good shows deadlines for shows through April have passed and some May shows deadlines are coming up, I'd say that everyone should already have plans for the coming year. Or, at least the first half of the year.
  • Yes, I'm already planning for 2010. There's a couple different shows that I want to do, and a couple that I may drop. I'm still working a full time, 9 to 5, job, so I can't take on too many shows yet. My work is Nature Photography, but I haven't been out shooting as much in 2009 as I'd like. The last couple of shows I did I had repeat customer coming in to look for new stuff, and I didn't really have that much. So, in 2010 I need to take some time off for photo trips. This winter I'm also going back throuch and re-editing some older work.

    I could see at shows this year that the economy was affecting us. I only lost money at one show, but I didn't really make that much at others. At the Ocean View Show a couple weeks ago I was very encouraged about the attitude of the people. Sales were OK, but the people that didn't buy looked more like the really wanted to buy than at previous shows. The attitude thing is kind of hard to explain, but it's a difference in people that were just looking, and people that really wanted to buy. I am encouraged that 2010 will be a better year.

    I agree with Pauline about it being amazing what people will buy. At the Ocean View show I sold two framed prints that I didn't really think were that good! I just put them out there because I had the space.
  • Hi Michelle, I am also rethinking what to do for next year. This year and last year proved to be tough art sales years in this economy. So I have reservations about 2010 unless we see things moving upward. I know I will not have as many shows on my list but will be doing those that are productive. I may include more smaller shows since I have found they can be just as productive as large ones and cost less.
    Keep on trucking, as they say.
    Sometimes we need to freshen up our look or appearance. It helps but be careful not to overdo it. Changing your business name might be fine once but if you are aiming for repeat customers the name needs to stick. Think of Prince changing his name to______ . lol I love adding new products when I create them. Sometimes I find it amazing what people will buy.
  • I have a plan A which includes doing about 2 Renaissance Fairs in my area as well as two wholesale gift shows - also in my area. The shows would cover each season Winter (wholesale show), Spring - ren-fest, late Summer renaissance festival - fall/winter (wholesale show) with possibly picking up 1-2 holiday shows - depending how things go. The part that is most uncertain is getting into the ren. faires and what happens if I don't. As of now, I don't really have a plan B. - Michelle
    • If they are smaller Ren Faires, it is a bit easier to get into to start. There are such different levels of accuracy that they each want as well. You want to be as authentic looking as possible, though, because other Ren Faire representatives might find you interesting and invite you to do their fair. That is very prevelent in this genre. I think you will be very pleased if you do get into them. Keep me updated.
      • Will do Amy! It is funny after starting this message post I have ran into some old friends giving me some heads up about other ren-fests. One, whom I met for dinner this week, is an actor at the AZ ren-fest and also occasionally does the one in Louisiana. A troupe of other friends where we all went to high school and in drama together have been doing the circuit for 15 years now and do all up and down the East coast as well as AZ. If anyone is interested look them up - they have a website and facebook page - The London Broil. Consistently I hear NY is super - big and all that jazz and have heard that for years (20 at least). I also ran into the owner of the MD ren-fest and he remembered me from my younger years working there. I told him I applied to be an artisan for 2010 and between the two of us figured my application is on one person's desk we both know. He asked for my business card and sounds like he'll put a good word in. The show is juried, but generally speaking if you were there last year (and many have done the show for 20+ years) they will be back. The rest, as I hear a lot do apply, is all up to whether or not there is a lot in one craft medium and of course the quality of the work. I can't say there is one artisan at the MD ren-fest that doesn't deserve to be there. Half the time I am there is devoted to checking out the exhibitors. I am just crossing my fingers that I will get in as well. I am hoping it helps to know some of the people up top as they can vouch for my work ethic, that have experience in ren-fests and so on. I will update with any news as I get it. Perhaps we could have a round of ale if I get in!
  • Michelle,
    Right now, with the economy tanking, we are just looking to survive next year. We already have some shows lined up for 2010 in January and February, but these are the "standard" shows we do every year, like the flower and garden shows.
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