Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This was my first large show and what an experience. Thursday night was early set up, went pretty smooth except for the pick up truck that decided to block the path to exit. Other than that it was pretty easy. I was a little disappointed in the quality of the vendors. Of course there was buy/sell but even the hand made items were very "swap mart" like, for instance there was a booth selling marshmallow guns. Friday was the first day, it was a high of 64, that's cold for us near Phoenix. The crowd was probably 90% over 70, don't know too many people over 70 that's looking for wall art. I'm an abstract painter that uses bright colors and my market is around the 40-60 age, so this was not a good start. Many vendors have done this show for many years, so they had their followers come first thing in the morning to buy their goods and saw people leaving the show with quality art. After that it was lots of people buying canes, wind socks and cheap jewelry. The day ended with $0.
Saturday was warmer and good weather. I was hoping for a younger crowd but it was about the same as Friday. Pretty good crowd but not what it has been in recent years, as told by other vendors. Some quality art were seen in people's hands but again mostly small stuff. Many vendors were puzzled by the crowd. One vendor told me to count how many shoppers were smiling, most people look like they were not having a good time. Sales were slow for most but jewelry under $100 seemed to be selling well. Again I ended the day with $0.
Sunday was the experience I was talking about. Apparently there was a micro-burst in the middle of the night and when I walked up to where my booth was, I saw a tent and debris scattered in the middle of the road. Luckily it was not my booth, but my heart sank when I saw this. It was my neighbors double booth, he sold jewelry and their merchandise was not damaged but it was a big mess to clean up. He had home made weights, probably 20lbs per leg, obviously not enough. Everybody was great and helped him clean & pack up. I'm so glad I found this site and learned about tent weights, I had bought some sand bags that were 40 lbs per leg and that seemed to have worked. My tent or art was not damaged at all, so thanks to all of you! About 10 booths were destroyed, it's too bad they didn't listen to last weeks podcast. I had heard there was also a chocolate booth that was invaded by Havalina's and tore up there tent and everything in it.
So it was finally ready to start and it was cold and very windy, people were literally hanging onto their booths. Even with the bad conditions, people came out and was a younger crowd than previous days. Vendors who stayed had good spirits and people were buying. It was the smallest crowd of the 3 days but the people were more serious buyers. I made some sales, so it wasn't a total loss as I had expected at the start of the day. To sum up the show, I will probably not do this show again for 3 reasons. #1. A few Long time vendors of this show that I talked to are no longer happy with the show and are not going to return. They are finding other shows to take its place. #2. I don't have a following at this show as it was my first and most the sales vendors made were from previous contacts. #3. It was one of the most expensive booth fee's in AZ at $450. All in all it wasn't a good show but learned a lot and was happy to start doing these bigger festivals. Hopefully my next show in Tempe April 5th is a better experience!