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An Aussie show with an organiser who MUST have read AFI

Hi all, been busy, busy, busy here downunder with my autumn shows - as a rule they've been nothing spectacular either in organisation or sales... but last weekend a regular annual one day show had a new co-ordinator and I'm sure she had been reading AFI ... it was just so.... ORGANISED!

The event was a one day show run by a private school about 2 hours drive from me.   It has been slowly dropping off in sales over the years - last year there was an explosion in the number of booths and the result was that no-one was happy with their sales - there just wasn't enough $$ to go around.

Anyway, this year, it had reduced to about 2/3 of last year's numbers - a happy amount I think with a good variety and quality and this resulted in a slight increase in sales over last year.

This is one of the few shows that actually sends out a map with your booth allocated prior to the show.  (The high majority just tell you when you arrive, or its a jumble of waiting in line and you get the next spot on the ring...)  If you have been before they will give you the same spot, which is a relief as repeat customers can find you!

However this year

*each booth was allocated a time slot to drive in and unload, then the car had to be moved pronto and parked away from the show area.  (Previously there was just a time frame to set up in and many would park and leave their cars there, leisurely unpacking from the car and only move the car just prior to the show starting which caused a few dramas).

*helpers were on hand to unload each car, erect tents and tables.  This meant you were in and out of the show precinct in under 10 minutes.  The helpers had put your tent up before you walked back from parking your car! 

*booth sitters were available if you were manning your booth alone, by phoning the co-ordinator.

*every booth was a corner booth - two booths were next to each other with a wide walkway before the next set of two booths.    AND the stall space was generous at around 4mx4m (a tent is about 3mx3m).

Now these may not seem momentous... but with the very casual arrangements most shows have down here, these were very different.   Of course some people complained as their allocated unloading time didn't suit them, however you were able to park away from the show and dolly your items in at any time, providing you were set up before the show started.

On the downside, the co-ordinator really wanted everything to be ready on time... and so we all were... by about 2 hours BEFORE the show opened.   (This speed was assisted by not spending time erecting our tents)  And whilst they had a coffee van and BBQ set up so we could buy breakfast, it didn't open early enough so there were many cold and hungry people wandering around!   I managed to do quite a bit of shopping in the other booths waiting for the show to open, although many of the booth holders just looked around - hoping for a sale or two first, to fund their wanted purchases!

Unfortunately crowds were down substantially this year which everyone noted, and with the early set up time, this meant for a very long, dragging sort of day (especially when I added on the 2 hour drive each way).  Whilst my sales were acceptable, most of these were to previous clients and if I didn't have those, I would have been very disappointed.

The high note for me was experiencing co-ordination that I have only ever read about here and which you may all take for granted!

Views: 269

Comment by Connie Mettler on May 15, 2014 at 9:29pm

YEAH! I hope Nels reads this report, Annette. This does indeed sound like this person was reading along here. You've got to admit it takes a lot of stress out of the day when the logistics are not only in place but adhered to. Now, what are we going to do about the sales? Hmmm... Spring is hopefully bringing better sales than we've had around here for a few years. Hope it is the same for you.

So good to hear from you. I miss all the chatting back and forth that we used to do.

Got another show soon?

Comment by Annette Piper on May 15, 2014 at 9:45pm

Hey Connie :) 

I have been reading some reports and hearing about great sales!   So pleased... we tend to follow suit a couple of years later so that means I'm experience your 2011/12 and by 2016 it should be OK again!!!  

My sales are acceptable at shows, I'm close to my targets but often have to work harder for it, instead of the customers just buying  ... they're thinking first LOL.  Doesn't help with a harsh budget by the government and the lead up to that, it has had people a bit on edge I think and holding on to their $$. 

I have two art shows (competitions) in the next 3 weeks - one is a 2 day show of which I am a sponsor and I will be talking about gems/pearls/jewellery making processes as well as having work for sale, the other is 2 days as well but I will be there just with work for sale.  

These are art comps and limited to paintings, photography and ceramics however they have visiting artists/artisans.  They do bring out some buyers with deeper pockets so here's hoping!   

Then I have winter off :)  Its been a busy autumn, so I'm looking forward to some weekends at home!!

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on May 16, 2014 at 11:02am

Hi Annette,

Here's hoping for a stupendous last 2 shows before your break.  Congratulations about the organization of the last show!  WOOHOO!  Since the director seemed to be pretty savvy, hopefully she will have noticed that the early prep time was somewhat excessive and change things around for next year.  Wonder how she heard about AFI?  

Comment by Annette Piper on May 16, 2014 at 5:48pm

Thanks Kathleen :)  As for the show director... if you search, you will find?   AFI comes up well in google searches, maybe she just got lucky!!

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on May 19, 2014 at 5:01pm

Thanks Annette for your report.  Hopefully, this will catch on down there.

I also hope you are not heading into a 7 month winter like we seem to had had this year.  I am so sick of it.

Comment by Annette Piper on May 19, 2014 at 5:33pm

Thanks Jacki, its been a pretty mild autumn so far... we'll see I guess!

Comment by Geoff Coe on May 19, 2014 at 6:56pm

I am glad to finally have the chance to thank you for YOUR review!  It would be fun to come down under, visit you at a show, and learn how the Aussies do it.  I will bring this up with my accountant to see if it is tax-deductible! ;-)

Comment by Annette Piper on May 19, 2014 at 7:13pm

It seems everyone else can do overseas trips as part of their business.... why not us!!??  Would love to see you Downunder one day!

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