Doing it right

I recently googled an exhibitor  and learned that he is president of a company that according to the company profile employs 20-50 and has annual sales of 2.3 million dollars.  Additionally he does art fairs in 28 states.

How do I compete against that?

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  • So, here's the deal about people like this, who essentially have small factories. If you keep encountering them at shows put it to the promoter: what are art fairs all about? Isn't their purpose to bring to the attention of the public work they can't get anywhere else? If it is in every gift shop, they are doing the Gift show at the Javits, etc., why would you want to have them in your show? Especially these big employers with seven figure incomes -- HRI is not the only company that is doing this. Overall, though, there are few.

    People do NOT come to shows to buy from merchants. 

    Last summer we did a podcast about keeping merchants out of the shows. Strictly speaking it was about buy/sell but the same ideas would apply in this situation. Here it is:

    • Hudson River Inlay has caused other wood artists in the Pacific NW to avoid doing shows where they are present.  Why? Because they can't compete with wood works from "apprentices".  We were next to these people years ago at the Silverton OR Art show and listened to the "artist" from NJ get into an argument with a patron who wanted to know more about the process and the time it took to make a piece.  I have written to at least 6 show promoters in our region where I've seen these "artists" and have had 0 response.  Makes me think they only care about collecting their booth fees and commissions.  Another reason to make us consider how long we continue this business.

      • I think I saw them at at least 2 shows this year. Gig Harbor and West Linn.

      • Knowledgeable patrons will know junk when they see it.  I'll bet that argument was initiated by a person with an agenda not that of an interested purchaser.  Perhaps another woodworker?  Will patrons really avoid shows with the occasional "factory" booth? 

        • Tom,not all production work us junk, i.e. Hermes, Gucci, in leather.
          • Or Louis Comfort Tiffany. And Gustav Stickley who started the whole Craftsmen movement in the 1930s. These weren't just designers, they made the pieces and had people making the work to their standards.

        • "...Will patrons really avoid shows with the occasional "factory" booth?..." 

          In a word, no.

          Those same "patrons" (I call them customers) go to Wal Mart to buy stuff they need. They come to our shows to buy stuff they don't need.

          And we are a complete industry selling something people don't need.

          • Chris, some of my patrons REALLY need a belt or suspenders to keep their pants up. LOL
            • They need suspenders, but do they need yours? They can buy them at Wal Mart, but like yours better.

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