Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This event has been around for a long time and supports the Lambs Farm, a non-profit organization serving people with developmental disabilities. I've had it on my radar to attend for awhile now. It is held indoors at the Arlington Racecourse, a very attractive venue. My art fair friend Sandy Dunstone and I attended on Saturday and there were huge crowds spread over 3 levels with a reported 500 booths.
I'll let the photos tell the story, but basically there were a lot of Christmas decorations, lots and lots of food vendors who had prepared products that would make good gifts, commercial vendors (think Cutco, Chicago Tribune, Pampered Chef, etc. There were even people who had purchased products, e.g., cake pans in boxes, pet treats, for sale in their booth).
What I learned is that this event brings in busloads of people to shop (I could see evidence of that in the size of the crowds), but that it used to be run by Arts Plus, a local art organization. Now it is run by Tower Show Productions and from the looks of it there is no saying "no" to anyone who sends in a check. There is an admission fee of $8.
Booth fees start at $450 for prime placement on the first floor and I believe they may be only $250 on the third floor.
Over the past several months I have lost 4 pair of earrings so I was definitely shopping for some replacements but almost every jewelry booth (and there were a lot) looked the same! Swarovski crystals everywhere, Michael's beads strung about, etc. It was hard to believe I wasn't going to score here. I took very few photos and when I did a quick video of some work that I thought caught the flavor of the event an exhibitor asked me to delete it. I suppose protecting his one of a kind work, that to me looked like five other people's.
Learn more about this show: http://holidaylightslambsfarm.com
Were there people making money? Of course, folks! Big crowds getting good deals means some people are doing fine and they have the right product for the marketplace.
We spoke with many exhibitors, some who had participated in it before the organization running it changed hands. No one seemed displeased with it. Yes, they said, it was better before the great recession, but it was great to sleep at home and be able to make a decent profit.
Did we spend money? Well, yes we did. It was a great place to pick up some Christmas gifts.
On CBS Sunday Morning a few weeks ago they did a segment about discounts and getting shopping deals over the years. The summation basically was everyone wants a good deal and a bargain and they go looking for them. If you think you can sell in an atmosphere like this this may be the show for you. Just think about it: you can be part of the OOAK Show and spend $2500+ or be in Arlington and spend $400.
What do you think would work for you?
(See Part I about the One of a Kind Show in Chicago this same weekend right here: http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/a-tale-of-two-shows)