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 Carla ~ all gets exposed eventually. Glad you began the season with a good..... I'm sure you'll have some "greats" this year.
Hmmm... As of the end of April my gross sales had totaled my entire 2010... I think it has very much become about making sure you are putting yourself in the right places for your work - and I'm new enough at this that I don't make all the right choices yet - but I get a little smarter each and every show/month. People are thinking more about their purchases, so making a personal connection to your buyers has become even more important.
And pulling back local isn't necessarily a bad strategy - neither is spending some of that time/money/energy you would have spent traveling to improve your web presence....
Oh, I also probably should mention that my husband's income has decreased to 25% of what it was just four years ago - so if my art business doesn't make a profit, I can't make art. We can't afford to float credit to keep it going while things are tough....
Thought you might be interested in this article that arrived in my inbox today
The Luxury Consumption Index (LCI) dropped 16.8 points to 66 points in the second quarter, down from 82.8 points in the first quarter and closer to the level seen at the onset of the recession, the latest data from Unity Marketing shows.....Read it at http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/independents/retail-surveys/artic...
I've been reading this thread with a lot of interest as I dropped out last year to take a year off until the economy turned around.
I think everyone has good points about the situation, and yes, if you have the right product you will always sell.
I just hit a series of shows that I just broke even and then had to remake stock. I've been having shows that people will appoligize and say, "I'm the only one in my family still working." Yeah, like I'm going to press that lady hard?!#?$%?.
I'm a silversmith that uses real gems and the coments on my work are just so strange. Everyone thinks they are pretty. But dispite signage, people don't know the difference between silver and silver-tone, They don't know the difference between crystals, glass and topaz.
I have my rings set up in trays that are organized in sizes, each has a tag with the price on one side and the size on the other. I can not tell you how many people have handed me a ten dollar bill for a size 8 ring that is sixty five dollars. Then they become embarrased and run from the booth. One time I even made a sign showing the pricing on the rings and how it worked. I had a big tag drawn, and put an 8 on one side and a 60 on the other and the next six people asked if they were all sixty dollars. My sister was helping me and she said, "I don't know how you do it."
And on top of that the competition to get into shows when you make jewelry is very bad. I tried to plan a february trip to South Florida and did not get into one of the 4 shows I applied to. This was just after I finished St. James Court in Louisville.
Sorry, I know I've gone on,, I just miss the shows. and making more art. Somebody tell me it's good out there and I should continue.....
Re: people not knowing the difference between sterling/silver tone and crystal/glass/topaz - I so know where you're coming from. If the normal (as in uneducated in jewellery) goes to a jewellery store they believe everything is "real" - even the synthetic stones and I'm sure a lot of jewellery store staff don't always enlighten them on the synthetics! But if they go anywhere else to buy their jewellery they assume it must be costume jewellery - glass/resin etc., they really don't care. There is a boutique in a town not that far from me that sells $250 manufactured (from China!) resin necklaces - I'm selling a necklace made from gemstones for the same price (or less) and people hesitate!? I've found signage doesn't work most of the time, you have to enlighten people - when people come into my booth and say how lovely something is, I often tell them that everything is gemstones, pearls and sterling silver. With the rings - could you put a SZ in front of the ring size and a $ sign in front of the price?
It is frustrating, isn't it? You have lovely work. Great sense of color and tecxture.
My tages are small, about 1/4th inch round, and with my bad handwritting, maybe I need to find some I can run through a printer. I have a hard time making the numbers clear as it is.
And yes, I do have a bit I go through when people come in, I say that everything is handmade and real solid silver and real gems. sigh, I've been working a real job since october and miss the shows so much! With the price of gas, and my big old suv, I don't know how much traveling would make the shows worth it?
I hate to say it but it seems to me that half the people (artists) at the shows are retired and living off their retirement and happy to break even. I need more than that!
I'm hearing you Robin! Sometimes you wonder why you try, the costs can be prohibitive. Lucky we're passionate about what we make and want to share it with everyone.
I stick to shows within a couple of hours drive if I can to eliminate accommodation costs and to keep travel costs at a minimum, although I am finding that after 10 years of doing this I need to find some new shows a bit further away to keep the sales figures growing - whilst I get a lot of repeat customers, jewellery IS one of those things that people CAN reach capacity on!
hmmm... if they are in a tray in rows could you label each row with a tag that says 'size 6' or 'sz 7', etc, and then only have the price on the ring tag?
I agree whoever is talking about marketing, and especially finding out what the public wants to buy. I am a potter, and always am listening to my customers when they ask for a new item. I find that when I develop that new item, that may be the popular item out there that many customers are looking for. That has made more income for me than anything else. Let them tell me what they want to buy. Also, price points are important, and having the attitude of "helping them find the item they came to buy". I figure that most of the patrons are coming to buy something, and I am just there to assist them in finding what they want. That way my whole demeanor changes toward them, and I am not looked at as someone that "just wants to make a sale". I used to sit back in my booth years ago, not knowing what to say and feeling quite shy about selling. Now I get myself out there and help them pick something out, along with educating them on the uses of my items. It seems to work, and my sales are very good. Now just teach me how to make enough items without the use of a Chinese factory. Does anyone else have the problem of not being able to make enough inventory before each show? Maybe it is the length of time involved in making pottery. Oh well...