Back in September, I was looking for anyone with experience at the Witan French Market show in Akron, OH. A representative from the Witan charity organization (Woman In Touch With Akron's Needs) had contacted me through my Etsy shop and asked me if I'd like to apply. It was a small show held in a church hall - something I've learned to run away from! But I had heard it was well run, and I thought maybe this would be different.
At the time, I couldn't find much recent information on it, so I thought I'd post my experience here. First, let me say that Witan has been doing this show for over 40 years, and they are very well organized. The show is in a very large, well lit church hall, with high ceilings. The Witan ladies have the booth spaces laid out, and have pipe and drape already installed to separate each artist's or vendor's stall space. Set up was from 9 am to 3 pm on Thursday; the show ran Friday 10 am to 7 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm. Booth sitters were provided, and they even had a lady with a hospitality cart - pastries, coffee, water, and tea - come around a couple times each morning. The church ran there own food service for lunches, and vendors could submit a slip with payment and have their lunches delivered to their booths. Wifi was provided and was stable. Traffic was relatively steady throughout both days, and the organizers sent out information afterwards that there were about 5500 in attendance. They even offered vendors the opportunity to purchase their attendance list for marketing purposes. So all in all a very professional looking and artist friendly venue.
I wanted so much to like this show because of all the above! But, alas, my sales were dismal. Booth fee was $ 250, and I didn't even make that. I had only three sales; two very small originals and one reproduction. I don't think prices were a factor, as I had a number of prints, reproductions, and small originals all priced under $ 40. I saw three other painters there, and in speaking with them, learned they had a very similar experience. There were also a couple of pottery artists, a few jewelry booths, a clothing and textile artist, and a lot of crafts and food vendors. My booth neighbors included a vendor who made Vera Bradley type handbags and clothes, and a very talented textile artist. Like me, both were doing this show for the first time, and both had miserable sales. The only booths I saw that were kicking it were a couple selling metal lawn art and a booth selling liquor flavored caramels. The caramel lady did real good - gave out free samples, and sold a ton! But I didn't see many in the crowd carrying bags of arts or crafts.
So I left the show kicking myself for doing another church show, as I never do well at those things and had promised myself I wouldn't do another. Ok, Sonja, you're going to stick to that now!