I would like to have a frank discussion about actual numbers, because I'm wondering if I'm missing something (math has never been my strong suit!)
I have always avoided the fundraiser shows that charge a commission on sales, for a number of different reasons. I subscribe to the old school theory that you should aim to make 10x your show fee, so right off the bat, a 20-30% commission crushes that dream. These shows usually have a central checkout system, which makes me feel like I've lost a little control of the situation for some reason. Generally speaking...I don't like them!
This weekend I attempted to put aside my biases, and sell my wares at Art In the Barn, in Barrington, Il. I have heard about this show for years, and the reports were good, so I had high hopes. Here's where the frank numbers come in...I'm gonna lay it all out there on the table. I made about $1500, which is kinda sad. If it was a one day church bazaar that I paid $75 for, I would be happy with that. But no, I paid $85 for an out door booth space, plus 20% for a grand total of $385 (25%, if I'm not mistaken). Subtract the cost of goods and overhead, etc., I'm left with a whopping $365 profit. (Over simplified for demonstrative purposes :) Is this an acceptable number for you?
It would seem to me that it might be "fairer" to charge a booth fee OR commission, or maybe cap the commission. After all, we artists are there to earn money too. What is the appeal of this system to artists? I really feel like I must be overlooking something or miscalculating, because they continue to fill the show year after year.
I would be interested in learning about the other side of this situation, or any thoughts other artists have. If you think I'm wrong, set me straight!