Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I made almost $1500 selling my photos out of my booth that I setup in my driveway.
i live in a historic, almost 100 year old house in Ybor City. Ybor is a historic district of Tampa. Now known for bars and cigars.
Across the street from us is a vacant 18,000 square foot factory building.
I heard thru the Ybor grapevine that a Christmas craft show was scheduled to be there on December 2&3.
by coincidence, I had no show planned for that weekend.This event was charging admission, was gated, complete with food trucks and beer and wine sales. Crafters were being charged $200 per day to sell there. They claimed they already had over 1000 online paid ticket admissions. They expected to have more than 2000 people come.
i liked the prospects, but I was a little skeptical about those numbers.
In years past, Ellen and I have had an open studio sale in our house for two days. Both times we did it we were lucky to get about 100 people to attend and we barely would sell $500. Not a great return.
so I salivated about the prospects of several thousand people mingling across the street from us.
can you say “scab?”
OK, let us just call me a savvy opportunist.
So, last Thursday, after golf I got my Lightdome tent setup in the driveway complete with my walls.
I then attached a tall panel adjacent to the booth. I attached it to the corner pillar of the porch.
I hung two 30x40 framed images there. Good curbside appeal.
The booth showed off well. I had a lot for my handcolored iconic images hung there in 16x20 frames, think PeeWee, Christopher Walken, et al. (Threw a Little Latin in there).
on Friday, after golf (I get to play a lot more in the fall, light show schedule), I added two more tall panels to two more porch pillars that bordered our front stairs. Again, I hung six 16x20 iconic images on them. More curbside appeal.
on the front walls of our porch I hung four 30x40 framed photos. Yummy curbside appeal.
to cap it off, I planted two pole flags with the words “gallery Open” on the curb in front of the house.I wanted those fish across the street to sniff our bait and run over to us.
We had Ellen’s work hung on the hallway and living room walls.
We also had four tabletops full of flat and blown glass, ceramics and wooden items priced low, to go.
after all that, I zipped up the booth and parked Ellen’s van up against the front so nobody could get in,
We sat on the porch and drank wonderful Manhattens while hoping our efforts would bear fruit.
Early Saturday morn, I rehung frames on the outside panels and walls, unzipped the booth and made it pretty.
Beside the two flags we had a sandwich board sign that also said “Gallery Open”.
I put that in the driveway, close to the street. Ooh, we just oozed with curbside appeal.
Their event was 10am to 6pm both days.
I was ready by 9am.
I sat in my directors chair. With my IPad in lap.
By 9:30 the crowd was lined up on the sidewalk two blocks away from the ticket gate. My booth was directly across from their gate.
I smelled money.
Mind you, these people were paying $4 to park in the nearby Ybor garage, then they had paid $10 for admission. Some paid $35 for a VIP pass that included food and booze.
these people were coming here to buy $10 candles, custom jellies, designer salsas, Christmas wreaths, lowend pottery and other objects, most priced $20 and under.
my lowest price was $20 for a 8x10 matted photo that I usually sell for $30 at shows. I also had 11x14 matted photos at $40, which I usually sell for $50. I had my 16x20 mats at $60, usually at shows for $85.
my 16x20 framed photos were priced at $125, at shows they are $150. I had 24x30 framed photos marked down to $225, usually sold at $295. Finally, I had 30x40 framed at $375, usually at $500.
my goal was to make $500 or more.
Some people in line spotted me. They ambled over and I told my stories. By 10am I had made $150.
After that, I knew I had to be patient and wait for them to come out, and then see if many of them would amble over.
Amble over they did. I drank wine, told stories, and even sold a large framed Fallen Angel for $350.
Many even went inside the house and Ellen worked her magic.
At day’s end, I sold $1100 in the booth, and Ellen sold $300 inside, plus we got to drink a lot of wine, plus the judge awarded me best in show. It was our yard cat and I gave him extra kibble. Plus, I am invited back for next year, no jury fee, no booth fee.
Just kidding, there was no judge. The cat got extra kibble, all six of them, don’t worry, we got all of them fixed.
Sunday dawned, and I yawned.
And that was the tone for the day. Smaller crowds, way smaller sales.
we still had fun. I started teardown at 3:30 was done by 5pm and they were still open to 6.
My sister knew the promoters. She said that they blogged on Facebook that they had 1800 paid attendance on Saturday, and another 800 on Sunday.
I estimate I lured about 300 of them my way.
We ended up with total sales inside and outside about $1600.
Not bad for zero overhead costs, plus I got to drink wine all day, and I finally tore my Lightdome Monday,after golf.They are planning this for 2018, if we are still in Ybor, I plan on doing it again.
Oh, we are selling the Ybor house—but, that is another story.
The purpose of this blog was not about bragging because I made money in the driveway, it was about seeing unexpected opportunities when they come your way, and then capitalizing on them.