Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Ive done a few shows this past May......and oh oh.....the economy is so bad!....everyone is saying, no the weather was bad......but really I can tell....there were a couple of nice Saturdays and no crowd.......
Face it .....it will be a long year.......and I will enter less shows.....and do shows close to home.....hope the recession will be over soon.....but really with the goofy politics in this country and the electorate electing the bad guys way to much......it will be a while before things return to profitablilty for us artists....
Thanks for the kind words.....not really being negative....just being a realist.....
I have done more than 5 fairs already this year....and one down your way in the burbs of Chicago......realistically I am just breaking even or loosing a bit......I will be in Deerfield this weekend....and hope not to loose very much.....just being realistic....this is business.....not the land of OZ.
I have made a whole bunch of smaller items and that is basically the majority of my sales.....
You're in good company because that's my motto, too. I'm not negative, I'm just a realist. ;)
Whenever I ask how an artist is doing, I'm hopeful. And when they said they did great, I really don't know what their definition of 'great' is -specially in this economy.
I just don't know how to qualify their response.
There's a great article titled How to Be an Optimist without Being a Fool and it's aptly titled. I love this statement,
"Unrealistic optimists, on the other hand, believe that success will happen to them --that the universe will reward them for all their positive thinking"
That was a pretty good article! Thanks!
This really summed up my attitude:
"Realistic optimists.... believe that they will succeed, but they also believe they have to make success happen, through things like effort, careful planning, persistence and choosing the right strategies. They recognize the need for giving serious thought to how they will deal with obstacles."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm so tired of hearing "that's it's the economy". The economy has always been there, and always will be there. I can never say that because I have experienced shows since 1986, and, what sells great one day, doesn't sell the next day--AT THE SAME SHOW. It's all about how you present yourself, your product, and your price points. Mine have to be broad in order to attract. I learned years ago (in selling Tupperware-yes, you read it right, Tupperware), that your high priced item sells your medium priced items, and that your less expensive item sells your medium priced items. Notice the singular usage of the the words 'higher' and 'less expensive' 'item'--and the plural usage of the word 'medium priced items'. In my experience, with my jewelry, I have found that by having a 'showcase' item or 2, and having some lesser priced earrings---my medium priced pieces sell very well.
I've had two shows so far this year. And, I would say, the market is still the same. I am not going to say 'oh you should have been here last year.' That just doesn't fly with me. Forgive me if I sound a little preachy (after all, I do live here in the South ;-).
On a final note; maybe it's time to re-evaluate your show circuit. It could be time to tweak it a little bit.
While I do agree that re-evaluating one's tactics are always in good form, I will push the boundary on this one and say that it is still the economy and it's getting worse. The economy has forced people (middle class) to cut back spending and luxury items are the first to go... and Art is luxury product.
I'm still hearing of people getting laid off and putting their Coach bags on eBay. This doesn't bode well for me because those same people are 'bag addicts' and refuse to come into our booth to see the other variety-priced innovations we've created.
Do you know how many times I'v heard, "I can't buy another handbag, I just returned 2 that I bought last week." Gah! No longer is it the handbag buying economy, but a 'let's wait and consider this purchase so that we don't feel so damn guilty about it in a month." The customer is a little more consciousness about buying from an artist because she knows she's pulling food from our mouths should she consider returning it. So for us, we wait a month or more for our buyer to make up her mind.
If there are no crowds at the shows you are exhibiting at, perhaps you are at the wrong shows. One thing for sure about free outdoor art shows, they draw a crowd during tough times because they are free. Sales are tough in this economy but my sales for the year are up. I don't ever blame the economy, the weather, the crowds, or politics. There will always be recessions, rain, bad shows, and idiots in office. Part of being successful is navigating those things.
Australia has had less impact in the GFI than the US and as I sell to predominately clients on the land, my sales are more tied to weather/harvest/wool, lamb and beef prices. While the latter three may be tumbled by world markets to some extent, there is nothing like a good season to raise spirits and spending and a wool/beef/etc cheque to give these people the feeling of having $ to spend... even if they might only get one or two of those cheques a year!
All that being said, there is still some belt-tightening happening and overall sales for me have been slightly down the last couple of years and there have also been less shows to sell at.
But there are still people who will buy regardless of the economy on a whole and I have sold high, middle and lower priced items at all my shows, although I have noticed a tendency, particularly this year, that they're going for smaller items with lots of punch but a lower price tag.
I am trying new shows.....and really here in the Midwest, the economy is down.....we have to admit it....
But I am very happy for anyone who can still sell like they did 5 years ago.
My artwork is much much better than 5 years ago as per my customers.....but the crowds are down ...both new shows and old shows.....
I have a range of items in prices......more different prices than 5 years ago.....and this year I came with the smaller lower cost items.....and that is mostly what sells.....
It is the economy.....
Gas prices are high......unemployment is high.....foreclosures are happening.....fewer housing starts......recently the stock market has tumbled.....health care costs increase......the middle class is shrinking.....art show sales are down....
Wish it was not happening....but have to face reality.....Ill do fewer low cost shows close to home in the future......this is my last big travel year for a while.....when people are hurting they dont buy......
But dont worry......I am always a happy camper......
Thanx for sharing that David. Yes, I have felt it too. My sales for May were definitely down from past years. My March was up slightly and my April was way down.
I see the reality but I also look at it as an opportunity to learn some spiritual lessons :) Like...um..... PATIENCE!?
I keep creating art daily but Ive noticed that my motivation for creating a LOT of art, like I used to has waned a bit.
Ive got a large inventory now already, but I know that being an artist means that we 'make art'. I do believe things will turn around and I will be prepared with newer and more inspired art for the future.
My highest price points have not been selling. My lowest price is keeping me afloat. Im glad that I am surviving , no doubt. I have noticed lately that even my more affluent customer is wanting a 'deal' though.haa.'
I now do a 'buy 2 get 1 free' special which really works well for me, on my best selling work. This way I rarely if EVER sell only ONE piece anymore. I also work relatively fast so I still make a decent profit this way.
Most artists Ive spoken with are also agreeing about the lower sales these days. Im sure there are a few that are UP from other years. There are always exceptions, but i agree that we cant overlook the obvious state of the economy.
We've done 11 shows so far this year. And we talk to the other exhibitors because we're all friends. The most common phrase we hear from the customers is "we just don't have the money".
I don't care what anybody's politics are. But I can tell you one thing. America is angry. Angry at Washington for not doing anything. One side says cut taxes, and the other side says raise taxes. Which tactic is helping us right now???
We're the ones on the front line of this economy. Because nobody needs anything we have. We're the first to feel it when it slows down, and the last to feel it when it picks up.
Food is rising. Gas is too high. Clothing is going up. Starbucks just raised the price of coffee 17%. Hotels are raising their room prices to make up for what they lose with Priceline.
Moody's says America may lose it's AAA credit rating.
CNBC yesterday said we might be heading towards another "great depression".
Americans are in a bad mood. Recessions last maybe 6 months, not three years. And we can all point to the "other" party and blame them, but that solves nothing.
90% of Americans have a job. But they're afraid to spend any money. And now we're in for a 17 month Presidential election campaign. And it's gonna be a donnybrook! The people are going to close their wallets even tighter.