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Arts and Craft fairs (Read 6,646 times)
 
Curt Fuller
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #45 - Sep 18th, 2005 at 6:31pm
 
Philip, I'm signed up for a big pre-Christmas boutique in mid November. So I want to learn all I can from your success and disappointments. I'm going to go a little different route than you with the majority of my goods being smaller, less expensive items. I may throw in a few bowls and things but I can't turn the big whoppers you turn on the big PM. I posted some pics tonight of a couple Christmas ornaments, pens and hope to have a few dozen of those things available. I'm working on some other smaller trinket type things too. This boutique features a central check-out so I won't have to worry about taking checks or credit cards personally. They keep 12% of your sales which isn't bad and they advertise heavily and get a huge turnout. I won't be in my booth alone either, I'll be sharing it with my wife and daughter's things and they've done pretty well in previous years. But keep us posted on how your craft fair booths go. I'm interested to see how the had turned wooden gift market works. And if anyone else has experience with Christmas time wood gift items, I'm all ears.
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Philip Peak
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #46 - Sep 18th, 2005 at 9:00pm
 
I will let you know how it goes after this weekends two day affair.  Another bad show and I may call it quits (not really I have paid for and been accepted into at leastone more show this year in Oct.  Nothing after that yet.  I probable should start thinking about doing somethign like ornaments and such.  I sen your inside out ornaments and they are beautiful  you should not let those go cheap.
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #47 - Sep 19th, 2005 at 2:57am
 
Phil -  I think your on the right track doing making some smaller, lower priced stuff. I did a small local , one day craft show yesterday. Made about $100.00. Key rings, bottle stoppers, and a couple of pens were what sold. Had all the bigger, higher priced stuff, but none sold. Lots of looking, and nice comments. All my business cards disappeared. Was told I'd be getting called, have to see about that. My personal opinion is that doing small , local shows you need small stuff to ake money. If your lucky people start to recognize you and then maybe the bowls and hollow forms start to sell. If you really want to sell the higher priced items LYou need to get into bigger shows. More cost and probably travel involved there. I had one lady tell me my bowls were to expensive. Tried  to explain the work and time that went into them but some people don't want to hear it. Don't give up. Always try and improve your product and work your way into better shows. Good luck.
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Ned A from South GA
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #48 - Sep 19th, 2005 at 4:29am
 
I hate to put it this way, and remember, I only have been to a couple of small arts and crafts fairs, but...here goes...and remember, I have never sold anything or tried, and have only observed.
I was walking through the walmart the other day(though I try to avoid that place) and came across turned bowls in the area for flower displays etc. They were poorly done with obvious tool marks etc. However they were 10 bucks or so depending on size. I have seen the same at other craft stores, home stores etc. Not a big deal and to each his own (though it is a waste of good wood!).
Here is the part that hit home. The people shopiping in the walmart are the majority that go to the "cheap" craft fairs. I just don't think you can expect them to appreciate all of your work on a nice bowl and make the leap from that cheap walmart bowl they see everyday. To them as Phil said, it is too expensive. I think these places you are more likely to sell small, inexpensive craft items. The one renisance fair in KC was a little different, but I still did not see a lot of high price work come off the shelves, but lots of small stuff.
I would think to sell your work, it will need to be where people who appreciate the fine details and know what goes into it, and/or who are willing to spend the money for quality and beauty. Turning is a low penetration area, and I am not sure the best place to find consumers educated on its work.
I have walked a lot of galleries and some have done better than others at educating the viewer on the work it takes, but most have just put them on display with a price, often with very nice peices next to not as nice work.
Is this a nock on the American public. In some ways, yes. I just think most people do not appreciate and are not equipped/educated to appreciate turning as an art form. They have not made the leap in the qualitative differences between walmart and the gallery for turning as they have for other mediums. People know that the poster at the walmart is different from the gallery and show.
Okay, off the box, the soap is getting slippery.
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JimQuarles
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #49 - Sep 19th, 2005 at 9:03am
 
I have to agree with Nappen.  People in this country have gotten fully into the WalMart mentality.

JimQ
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Lee Goehring
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #50 - Sep 19th, 2005 at 2:09pm
 
I just posted a couple pics of some ornaments I've done. I have lots more available to photograph and post if anyone desperately wants to see them. They have sold pretty well for me at the pre-Chrismas shows that come up in the next few weeks.

In looking back at what I've sold in previous years at the smaller craft fairs, the great majority has been under $35, a few pieces up to $50. One thing that has helped is I have a loyal customer who has brought several friends to my booth and purchased 20 - 30 pieces herself, mostly for gifts. And she's not my Mom, either!

So far no one has asked if I would sell something for less than it's marked, or complained about my prices. Maybe I'm too low. No one else has anything turned at the shows, so it's hard to compare. I guess I'd rather sell it for a little less instead of hauling it back home again. I've been able to raise my prices some over time, and it pays for all my woodworking expenses, so I'm OK with it.
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Curt Fuller
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #51 - Sep 20th, 2005 at 5:31pm
 
The sad truth is that you could take your best, most ingenious and creative piece of turning, box it up and send it to China, and they could send you a shipping container full of duplicates for less cost than you could buy the wood. Complete with your signature on the bottom! If we have to compete with Walmart we may as well have a garage sale and unload all of our turning toys and go sit in front of the TV. I don't expect to ever get rich at turning but I would like to see if I could sell a few things. That's why I'm going for a Christmas time boutique, in hopes that Walmart is sold out of my stuff.
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Lee Goehring
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #52 - Sep 20th, 2005 at 6:07pm
 
One of the things you might look for when choosing which shows to display at, is whether or not the show requires "hand crafted only" or "made by the seller" items, instead of allowing imports, re-sale, or manufactured items. My state (Wisconsin) publishes an annual directory for all the arts and crafts shows and fairs that have sent in their info. It includes all of the basic details for each one, including any restrictions on what can be sold. If you can stay away from the import sellers, things might go better.

Good luck.
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JimQuarles
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #53 - Sep 25th, 2005 at 5:36pm
 
Well Phil, how did you do today?  We know you did well yesterday, was today as good??

JimQ
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Philip Peak
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #54 - Sep 25th, 2005 at 8:11pm
 
  Not so good today, weather turned bad as Rita's remains decided to visit town and stay a while.  I was gonna try to stick it out until the official closing time of 4:00 PM but if I had I would have been all alone after about 2:00 and most were gone by 1:00.  Still overall, it was a decent show.  On saturday, sold two cigar pens (one was a corn cob) one small plum bowl that was cracked and warped (the woman said she could not believe I only wanted $15.00 for it, I wasn't going to put it out but Jeanne insisted I should).
  I just realized that of the three bowls sold yesterday, two were Catalpa.  Strange isn't it.  I think if the weather had been better I would have done okay today but overall, I made my double my booth fee plus a bit more so I guess I did alright. 
  Got another two day show in three weeks (Oct. 15th and 16th) supposed to be another big show)  hope the weather stays good this time.
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JimQuarles
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #55 - Sep 25th, 2005 at 8:29pm
 
Congrats, sounds like an alright showing.  Keep it up.

JimQ
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Ned A from South GA
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #56 - Sep 26th, 2005 at 3:28am
 
Quote:
The sad truth is that you could take your best, most ingenious and creative piece of turning, box it up and send it to China, and they could send you a shipping container full of duplicates for less cost than you could buy the wood. Complete with your signature on the bottom!
If we have to compete with Walmart we may as well have a garage sale and unload all of our turning toys and go sit in front of the TV.
I don't expect to ever get rich at turning but I would like to see if I could sell a few things. That's why I'm going for a Christmas time boutique, in hopes that Walmart is sold out of my stuff.



Good point, but what I meant was we can't compete with the mentality of those that live the walmart life, and we shouldn't try. I was opining about the fact that if we are to sell (and remember I don't) then we need to find a market that caters to a different group that understands the difference between your one of a kind Christmas ornament or Phil's bowl and the 1000s of knock offs at walmart. Unfortunately, it seems there are less and less of these people.
Also, it seems silly to say in one of the most affluent countries in the world, that most people cannot afford what your work is worth, and they are so enamored of "the deal" that unless they feel it is a steal, they are just not inclined to buy it.
Why did ya'll let me back up on this box. Cheesy
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #57 - Sep 26th, 2005 at 8:31am
 
'Cause it's fun to watch someone else up in the rarified air, for a change.
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Curt Fuller
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #58 - Sep 26th, 2005 at 5:49pm
 
I knew what you meant Ned. I was just being my sarcastic, somewhat cynical self.

Even as much as I try not to give my support to Walmart, I have to at times. Here where I live they've driven many of the smaller stores out of business. But I don't want to get too political. I guess I shop there for the necessities and elsewhere for the pleasures in life.
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« Last Edit: Sep 26th, 2005 at 6:06pm by Curt Fuller »  

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Ned A from South GA
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Re: Arts and Craft fairs
Reply #59 - Sep 27th, 2005 at 4:40am
 
You have to admit, they had a good buiseness plan and read what the American public wants well.
Besides the small shops being run off, I just can's stand the crowds and the cheap merchandise, but mostly the crowds. Cheesy
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