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ACC Baltimore....this past weekend crossing Maryland off my list.

We drank the kool aid and tried the Acc Baltimore Show. This would be a world class show if they would reduce the number of artists from 650 to 325...the booth fee and electric was around $1500, we do not use credit cards so this was a real crap shoot.

I was told by old timers you have to go big at these shows, double booth, corner, etc. I made a huge misstep and feel crap on a cracker right now!

The load out line took a minimum of 2 hours of waiting, our friends were in line for 3 hours or more. I am so shell shocked from doing this show, we are in our first year and have been through a myriad of art show dramamine, mixed with super amazing new friends and humbled by the level of artistry and hard work we have seen.

Baltimore was not digging our "edgy" "interesting" vibe at all, it was painful, i never knew what other artists meant when they said, " i have been at shows, well i think i was there" meaning they felt invisible! Ego puncturing to say the least.

Now we are in a serious finacial hole and i am kicking myself for not booking back up shows in Florida that are  now closed out. We would so appreciate any show suggestions for Florida, because of deadlines Howard Alan shows specifically. If i posted in the wrong area please let me know!

So grateful to have a new family of people who understand and REALLY "get" it.

Views: 1235

Comment by Laurie Leonard on February 29, 2012 at 4:47pm

I was also at the ACC show last weekend.  I was against the back wall in the wholesale/retail portion of the show.  I'm sorry that you felt like crap on a cracker.  Although I was happy with my sales, I was down from last year by one day (the show was one day longer last year).  It's amazing to see all the beautiful work and talent at that show.  I agree that the show is so huge, how do people pick what to buy?  It seemed so overwhelming.  You feel like such a little fish.  Your work is beautiful and don't let this get to you. 


I waited 1 1/2 hours in line and finally got around to the front of the convention center.  Right around the last pull in for the convention center the vans in front of me went straight on the road instead of turning in.  I followed them and then thought OH NO...we actually got out of line and had to turn back onto Charles street at the light.  Boy the dirty looks!  The guard told me I'd have to go back around the block, I said 'There is NO WAY I'm going to do that, we were all in the line until it split'.  Luckily he let back in line....geesh!

Comment by Geoff Coe on February 29, 2012 at 6:36pm

I'm sure you have Howard Alan's  The ACE shows (American Craft Endeavors) is accessible by clicking the "Craft Market Exhibitors" text on the main page.  If you have problems, call them and ask to speak to Megan Morton, she's the artist liaison and very nice to work with.

(I am not sure if 'wearable fibers' will fit best in their fine art shows or the ACE shows, but Megan can help you sort that out.)

Good luck!

Comment by Maureen Roberts on March 1, 2012 at 12:32pm

So grateful for your suggestions and encouragement! Yes, sometimes fiber is considered fine craft and other time it's functional art depending on the show! I feel so good having both of you responding! It get's lonely here sometimes! Thank you for the contact of Megan Morton...i always try and help other designers here in New York with any and all contacts and information i have made over the years! Good to see it lives on in the art world! Peace, Maureen

Comment by Carol Larsen on March 2, 2012 at 9:54am

I did a different show in Baltimore several years ago. Once there was enough for me. And, I am a textile artist in another area.

When you say credit card do you mean you don't use them for paying for a show or you don't take them? There is another string of conversations about taking them so I wanted to make sure I understood you.

I have to tell myself when there is a show that is a major tanker that it just wasn't my turn. It wasn't my turn to make the right decision, it wasn't my turn for sales, it wasn't my turn...whatever. It helps me get past the pain.

I know that was a major financial loss...look for smaller venues to "fill" in where the loss will be less to help make it may be surprised at the sales.

Check with boutiques in high$$ areas to sell directly to such for instance high resort areas - St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, Traverse City in Michigan...etc where seasonal  high end shops are. It will help make up for the lost sales and may be the avenue you need for your products right now. When you subtract out your projected show costs, you "can" offer those very same goods at wholesale and make it desirable to both you and the shop owner. Just an idea.

Comment by Carol Larsen on March 2, 2012 at 9:56am

Correction: the sentence: about smaller venues to "fill" in where the "COSTS" will be less (I accidentally re-entered loss)

Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 2, 2012 at 12:08pm

ACC stands for the American Crafts Council. ACC was created in 1943 and is currently based in Minneapolis.   Anyone can become a member of ACC and with membership, you get a subscription to American Craft Magazine.  They primarily run wholesale events and they have a number of retail events.  The ACC shows are 2 or 3 levels above your standard run of the mill art fair.  They are expensive because they are always indoors and they use union labor.  For about 15 years, I did ACC shows both as an artist and as a buyer, until the wholesale market dried up forcing us to sell in the streets.  The best part is that the shows are only high end crafts, meaning glass, clay, fiber, metal, jewelry, etc. There is no photography and painting, which means no repos, no prints, no buy/sell.  You actually get treated like a human being, with respect.  They buyers are more intelligent. Comparing the ACC with the Howard Allan ACE is like comparing a dinner at the 4 Seasons with a McDonald's value meal.

I don't know anything about your work.  If it had been me, I would have tried for the wholesale part and the retail part. It might have helped to be better prepared. Sounds like you didn't know what you were getting into. I know that the buyers at Baltimore are pretty astute. If you have a nice product and are charging less than you should, you will sell out.  

Comment by Maureen Roberts on March 2, 2012 at 12:58pm

Hi Barry,

        Thanks for all of your experience, strength and hope. Barry we met at State Street Ann Arbor, we do wearable Fiber and are from NYC! We also met at Arts, Beats and Eats. The ACC show itself was very professional and we made some gallery/store contacts, reflecting on the show i realize we have a great product we could have done well with (possibly) at wholesale and taken our prices down by 25% retail, and had a much better show. We have in the recent past wholesaled around the world, but pulled back when the economy spiraled around 2006. Barry, you are right! I did not know what was up and then i said to my husband "Pumpkin, this is a trade show!" and then i realized our mistake. We thought it was retail like Philadelphia Craft, not so. We have had a challenging Winter and are debating on heading down to Florida before Atlanta Dogwood, we did Boca Museum and Mount Dora, we are thinking of Siesta, and or Hyde Park and City Place...are we nuts? We are now contacting high end boutiques in Atlanta to set up appointments and if we go to Siesta, i will check out Sarasota..we have sold in Palm Beach. Please let me know what you think before we pull the trigger!

Peace, Maureen

Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 4, 2012 at 11:34am

Maureen, now that I remember who you are, I can easily tell you why you didn't sell at ACC and at the same time help you instantly sell better at shows like that.  Simply, you need to upgrade your presentation, your booth look to attract the upscale client that passed you by even though you had really nice stuff.  I hope you looked at other wearable booths to see how to do it right.

Maybe it's because I learned "buying" and hence "selling" from two masters of retail before I ever made a pot, but, I had a really successful first wholesale experience. I cringe when people talk about reducing their price to sell wholesale. In reality, you always have a wholesale price and you add a percentage to get your retail price.....ALWAYS!!!!! Even if you never sell wholesale. I always start from the bottom up, not from the top down.

Anyway I can help you create a line, pricing, and presentation, or at least. an understanding of it so that next time you will do better.

Comment by Maureen Roberts on March 5, 2012 at 11:27pm

Thank you! You Rock! We have upgraded our presentation, we have a craft hut now, yes used, but much better, we scrubbed it for 2or three days until it sparkled! We do have design limitations as we have a Nissan Maxima!! i can send you a photo if you don't mind. We were told to take the wholesale and multiply by 2.2? Some retailers, like Barneys did 3.0 on our retail!!! they were a trip...i have so much to relearn! I am teachable! I have to say one fiber person showed up, no nothing, just hung her pieces on her neighbors pipe and drape and no rug, she was so sweet and i learned from her, she has a killer product and less "stuff". I saw people who had been doing the ACC since the beginning, they had a total built in boutique double booth....something to shoot for! I am so grateful you have offered to help us!  I mean it! Peace, Maureen

Comment by Maureen Roberts on March 5, 2012 at 11:33pm

oh yeah, we had beautiful carpeting and new curtains and have done some editing. i will send you pix...i also want to show you our soho store we closed this time last happy not have that rent! It was and is beautiful! We painted and designed it ourselves. Michael painted every inch himself, even the ceiling..Peace, Maureen (MoMo)


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