Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I did this art fair for the first time last year (after trying State Street and S. University in previous years). After those first two attempts I swore off Ann Arbor, but last year I relented and thought I'd try the Original. The weather was abysmal last year but I still managed sales of 5K. It was really tough to do this show. Long hours and hot weather.
This year Marcia and I thought we'd try again, but we would try to minimize the misery. We booked a room at the Bell Tower Hotel and secured a corner booth a block away on Washington. We thought the extra money for this expensive hotel would give us the opportunity to trade off and escape to the air-conditioned room during the long hours of this show. The Bell Tower booking added $600 to our expenses, but it was worth it. Bell tower provided parking for my car and trailer only a block away from the booth. We parked both car and trailer with help from the polite attendants on Tuesday afternoon after setting up. And we didn't move the car or trailer until Saturday when the fair ended. After the show ended each day, it was a short stroll to the hotel. A good breakfast was provided in the morning, after which, we strolled back to the booth for another day of selling.
Sales were brisk all four days with only a few dead spots. But the vast majority of sales were for small unframed prints (I'm a digital artist/Printmaker). My lowest priced product is a selection of 5x10-inch prints for $24, which I also offer at 3 for $60. I also sell lots of them framed at $56 each. These small prints constituted the bulk of my sales. I had 86 sales over the course of the show with the average sale being about $80. I only sold a few larger framed prints, and I sold zero large canvas prints (which are priced at $950 each). This was a crowd eager to buy, but not eager to invest much money. My sales were just short of 7K, so I improved on last year's totals. I was expecting to sell one or two large canvas prints, but that didn't happen. Deep pockets did not attend... at least they didn't find my booth.
Set up on Washington was pretty easy. so was break down. Lots of room for storage behind the booth. Seems like University had more foot traffic during the show than Washington, but the extra room and convenience of being on Washington at this long and difficult show would prompt me to ask for the same location. I've already booked a room at the Bell Tower for next year.