Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Many of us here do shows where we set up temporarily for a weekend.  Some may even be in galleries, temporarily or have a permanent rotation, with items on display or for sale.  

I am wondering if any of you rent space for a permanent booth?  I am talking about a brick and mortar that rents out spaces to those who sell their art / craft.  The places I am thinking of collect the money & pay the sales tax (if applicable) to the authorities, provide a 1099 at year's end, etc..  The artist sets up his or her booth with appropriate displays and stock.

If you have your art/craft in one of these places, I am wondering how it is going for you?  Has it met your expectations?  Did it take more or less work than you thought?  If you have left this venue, what caused the departure?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

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Cindy

It sounds like you are talking about a Gallery?

Some galleries work on the basis of space rental.

Some charge hanging fees, etc.

Is that what you are referring to?

Larry,

No, that is not what I am talking about.  I am referring to people like myself who have upcycled and repurposed furniture and home decor via painting/staining/etc., go "picking"----looking for and purchasing for resale items that are antique or vintage, etc. Some of the decor & furniture is in very good shape and just needs a good cleaning.

A store offering permanent booths will have the booths divided up with (semi) permanent walls, that may or may not go to the ceiling.  It could be an old home that has each room as a booth. Usually the owners have guidelines for the sellers to follow about quality of product, restocking as things are sold, keeping the booth clean & neat, etc.  Sometimes they require the sellers to work a certain number of hours per week or month, at no pay, as part of their contract & to inform/educate customers about what is offered, etc.  Often these permanent booths are indoors.  Some owners provide electricity in the rent and others do not.

The person renting the space sets it up to showcase their products, utilizing the walls, shelving, tables, and other fixtures.  They are usually responsible for all decorating.

Think about a show that is set up temporarily for a weekend.  Then imagine all those booths transported in to a space with walls that define the individual spaces for booths and it's set up permanently, with aisle space and a/c or heat, etc.  It is often call a art and craft mall or craft mall.  Quality can vary from one mall to the next depending on what standard the owners uphold for the artists.

Here are a couple of examples.  I am having trouble trying to get the idea across

Photo 1

Photo 2

In the 70's we had a shoppe in a location like that.However we were the ones to man / operate our soace. If we or our workers were not there, the booth would be closed. However you were required to be open all the hours that the building was open ,  unless you had an emergency or special exemption which was extremely rare and you will find for that . Except for holidays it was only open on weekends. It was in a very high traffic area, it had been a very large department store that they broke up into Booth spaces like that. Back then the rent had gone as high as $1,750/ month. At times, on weekends, the line into the parking lot was 1/4 mile long down the highway.

Wow, $1750 per month?!  Just for weekends?  It  must have been in an affluent neighborhood or had extremely high traffic all the time to demand that amount of rent.

The places I am going to look at charge so much per square foot and usually a % and 3% to cover credit card fees.  I have the figures from one place that I am going to see in a couple of weeks.  A lady I know has a booth there and she forwarded me the fees.  (I do not know how much square footage she has.)  I can use those fees to compare to what I see today.

Sorry for the typos:

"operate our soace" should have been "operate our space"

"rare and you will find for that" should be "you would be fined for that"

Darn voice to text software :-)

I would not say it was a highly affluent area. Above average though. As I mentioned, the traffic was such that there would be a line of cars, a quarter of a mile long, down the main road, just to get into the parking lot.

This had been a very large department store. Some of the "vendors" in it had 5 or more other locations. It was full retail business.

But no one did the sales for us. We had a 15' x 15' space, if I remember correctly.

Lease rates vary. I'm in an area where lease rates, for retail space, run anywhere from $12 to $40/ per square foot - triple net lease. Then they throw a CAM on top of that. 

That is for the larger spaces. Anything small is much higher.

Now as this seems excessive, think about this.

A booth at an art show, will typically run at least $500 for a two day show.

Divided by the 100 SqFt space = $5/SqFt. As the show is only two days, lets multiply times 182.5 to get an average for the year = $912.5/ SqFt

Of course there are other factors, however even with them factored in, Booth space is one of the most expensive retail space leasing setups I can think of.

$912.5 x 100SqFt = $91,250/ year. = $7,604.1666 / month

Quick give our art work away and start selling show spots :-)

Before I get bashed for this. I KNOW there are a lot of other factors and expenses going into putting on a show. This was just simple math of the view from a renter of the space for pure retail real estate use.

Larry, I am getting into the math phase now.  But let me back up a bit.  I am going to share what I observed about this place ....

I went by the one store yesterday.  It was on a block/corner that borders a commercial area, very busy street, Veterans Blvd., in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.  That's for those who know the area.

The building exterior is non-descript to me but it seemed to have adequate parking for a Saturday.  The exterior was neat and swept.  It appears to be in a safe neighborhood.  The residential area behind this building seems to be a middle class, well kept neighborhood.

Booths range in size ... 5x5, 5x10, and 10x10.  One may also rent a display case or wall space to hang art.  Prices vary depending on what you rent and everyone pays 15% commission and 3% for cc processing.

The ladies working yesterday were very friendly, greeted us at the door and offered to help in any way.  They were professionally dressed for a retail setting.

The booths showed a variety of products.  Most of it was art or hand crafted.  I could see some items that I know are commercial.  However, all of it seemed to "go together".  No pieces stuck out as be "out of character" from the rest of it.

I also asked about a public restroom.  The did have 2, one for women and and one for men.  I checked out the ladies room and it was neat and clean.  Very important if you want customers to stay longer!

Before leaving I inquired about their booths and if they had any available space.  That is when I was told that what they have is a waiting list.  I was encouraged to send an email with photos and the size booth I would like to rent.  Upon talking with the lady, she realized I had an online shop and Facebook.  She immediately went to both, saw my photos.  She was like, "Okay, so we have your photos now."  She took my card and filled attached it to my information sheet to go on the waiting list.  As simple as that!  They did not ask for any $$.  Which is good because I am not going to pay anything to go on a waiting list.

They will be in contact when a space comes available and I am at the top of the list.

I am still interested in whether anyone is doing this and how it's working out.

Of course it would depend on what the rent is, besides the Commission. However you may want to look at their incentive to sell your pieces, if you are not there and someone else is doing the selling. If they are getting rent for booth space and it is significant enough to them, what incentive do they have to sell your work?
This is why I do not go in galleries that charge me hanging fees or monthly overhead charges. I want them on pure commission so they have an incentive to sell my work.
Of course, eith the setup you list. it gets you more exposure and any sales you make should be extra profit.
Just food for thought.
Cindy,

As a hobby.... we have a permanent booth space like you are referring to. We strictly have collectible and vintage art for sale. Our booth is 8x16 for $305 a month with 12.5% commission. They have a full time staff so we don’t work at the store. We do commit more hours than we’d like into up keep. We go to the shop 1-4 times a week any where from 30min to 3 hours each time to check on sales, inventory and to restock/rearrange and clean our booth. In three years we’ve had to pay our booth fee remainder because we didn’t sale enough to cover rent. That said it is a hobby and not highly profitable just fun. The largest month check we have ever received was $595 after all fees.
Hope this helps.
FYI - it took 6 months to get a space off the waiting list. We made friends with the works and owner and visited the store weekly until they gave us a space.

Robbie

You mentioned "...In three years we’ve had to pay our booth fee remainder...".

Not sure how to read that?

How many times did you have to pay the remainder?

Did you get any sales via referral / people seeing your work there and calling you to purchase something different?

Sorry it suppose to read - we’ve only had to pay the booth fee remainder twice in three years. 

A few referrals.

Cindy, have you looked into any of the shops in the Antiques district in Denham Springs? There are several stores that seem like they would be a good fit for what you are looking for. Many have an extensive variety and price range. I do believe some offer inside booth space rental for a monthly fee and %. Another option might possibly be some of the locations in the Ponchatoula antiques district.

Both of these areas are most certainly interesting and worth the drive and visit.

Thanks for the lead, Greg.  Will look into it.  Do you have particular stores in mind that you would recommend?

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