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anybody know?? (Read 3,464 times)
 
Junior Adams
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anybody know??
Feb 6th, 2009 at 10:48pm
 
I went to my first arts and crafts show today as a patron just to do some research. The show i went to is one of the biggest in the state taking place twice every year, and it was HUGE... 5 or 6 buildings at the state fairgrounds full of arts and crafts. I was really looking forward to getting to meet other turners and maybe squeeze a few answers out of them. After searching a couple of the buildings and finding no turners, i searched out the office. When i found the office, i was told that there are normally two ( yes 2) turners, but this time neither of them purchased a booth.


My first reaction was suprise. no turners at all... weird i thought. This show takes place twice a year, and as the other show is in October, i am sure it is the better of the two as far as sales goes... but still,,, no turners? I ended up searching through all of the buildings and there were no turners anywhere.

My next thoughts were excitement.. If i come to the October show fully stocked, i should clean house... I mean even if two other turners show up i should have no problems doing good...

the cost of the show seems pretty high to me though... $300 to $500 for a three day deal. so my next thought is concern. I don't want to spend a bunch of money buying stock, and then all teh stuff i need to set up a booth, and then the cost of the booth itself, and then sell nothing..

There were tons of vendors, selling tons of stuff, and lots of people walking around with full arms, so it seems that it wouldnt be too hard to at least recoop the cost of doing it...


anyones thoughts and or experience here would be much appreciated. Cause right now i sure am excited about my possibilities.


(PS... not to sound big headed, but i saw two pens that were made by one of the other turners that usually have a booth and i was not impressed... even a little bit.)
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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #1 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:16am
 
It has been my experience, when you pay high dollar for a booth, you will get high returns. Not always but as a general rule. If the sponcers couldn't draw the crowd they wouldn't have vendors show up.
Most big show however require being juryed in and most of the time there is a waiting list for an open spot.
If their show is in Oct. and you are hoping to get in, start the process now! Come april or may and it might be too late, provided you can get in.
btw: I paid more then twice that to set up at the Cow Palace one time for a 2 day show. Was in the proffit before midway through first day.
but then again, I remember paying $150 to set up at one show and after two days had made $163... 
Only time I ever lost money on a show was when was invited to do a church, cost me $20 to set up and about $10 gas to get there. I made $5 after a whole day and a half.

Brad
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #2 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:48am
 
Junior, $300 to $500 sounds pretty high to me.  Leo or Vaughn might have other thoughts.  I just can't help but think about how many piece I'd have to sell to break even.  Not only do you have the cost of the space, but wood, kits, food, lodging, gas, etc.  It's a lot to figure on.  However, with a good variety of items at all price points, you very well could not only recover your costs for the weekend, but get home with some coin to spare.  If you can get the contact info for those other turners you might be able to gather some info from them as to why they've chosen not to be there.  Might give you some good insights.
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« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:48am by Rev. Doug Miller »  

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Junior Adams
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #3 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 4:36am
 
thanks for the advice fellas!

It is indeed a juried event, and the space might definately be an issue. My plan is to start the application process when i get my tax return here in a couple of weeks.


Another concern for me is in the application, they ask for photos of the work, wich is no problem, but they also ask for pictures of your booth. I have never had a booth before so i dont know exactly what to do in this situation... should i go rent a table and bring it home and set it up in the yard and take some pics maybe?? then i also run into the problem of having enough inventory now to fill a table for a show in October.


I am sure i would at least see a small profit. This craft fair or whatever is heavily advertised, and is the biggest show in the state... In fact, i saw lots of license plates from out of state in the parking lot.


I am gonna do it for sure!! there are a couple of small shows between now and then that i am going to try to make as warm ups kinda... man i sure hope this goes good for me! I sure would love to sell turnings for a living..
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #4 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 8:36am
 
More Power to you!
Reading a little more, I have to wonder if you might not be a little better off shooting for the big show next year. I am in no way trying to discourage you, but by taking a year to gear up for a big show and doing small ones could have a lot of advantages.
It lets you try a few different display plans (surprisingly it does make a difference) so you will have booth photos, It will give you a reasonalbe idea of what items move the best, so you can stock accordingly.  Little stuff like that...

Rev. Doug was correct, when figuring expenses you do need to figure more then just the set up costs. When your logging your costs, include everything. You may think you made a fortune only to find out hidden costs eat it up.

As for the set up cost, I don't think they are too high for a good show. Just keep in mind it does not matter if the set up is $10 or $1000 there is no promises you will make even $1.   

A years experience can only help


All the best of luck

Brad
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #5 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 9:31am
 
I would have to go with Rev. Doug and Brad here.

The excitement of potential, whilst intoxicating, can also mask pitfalls.  I was going to suggest doing a few smaller shows to get an idea of what you sell best and to give you time to build up stock before doing a big show but Brad has covered that.  I have talked to people who do craft shows and one point they all made was that you need to have lots of stock that people would consider standard, in our case pens, bottle stoppers etc.  Buyers accept that they need to be there first to get larger, individual pieces like bowls and hollow forms etc but they expect you to have a good choice of smaller stuff.  This applies to any craft, I know potters who make loads and loads of eggcups and mugs to keep the passing crowd happy because people will complain if they feel your stock is inadequate - unless you are listed as a specialist in your particular craft offering a particular style.

Rev. Doug also made a good point.  If they normally have two turners and one decided not to go the other should have been delighted - but neither turned up.  There's a reason.

I think you should have a go at selling stuff because it would be a major thrill and you wouldn't know where it might might lead.  If I were doing a show (I never have) I think I would concentrate on lots of small stuff and business cards so that when people are showing off their new pen or stopper they have your card to show as well.
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #6 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 9:33am
 
Select your very best piece and take it to a professional photographer.  See if you can work out a deal for his/her services.  Bama was able to get his calendar pic for a couple of pens (if I remember right).  The quality of that picture is of utmost importance for getting into a juried show.  The booth picture is not as critical, but still important.  Yes, you will need to set up a booth for that, even if it is in your yard.  Would help to see it set up in a show of some kind, but they want to see what the general appearance of your booth looks like.  There is a standard that they are looking for.  You never know what that standard is, but if you don't meet it, you're not accepted in.  Hope something here helps.
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #7 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:54am
 
Good luck to you. Sounds like it may be a venture worth pursuing.
There are tons of sites on fairs, shows etc, for those selling and what to do, what to expect, how to, tips, problems, etc.
I'd recommend reading some. There is a wealth of information available to help you from having to reinvent the wheel.
I'd avise you research the show, visit if possible (which you have), and make notes on what you saw there to give yourself the best chance of being accepted. If their booth spaces are 10x10 for instance will your 10x10 booth with weights/tiedowns outside the frame be allowed? You might be surprised when they come up and charge you extra for exceeding their dimensions. bang head Another friend took his lathe and was going to turn some just to catch people's interest. When he was setting it up he was told he would be charged an insurance fee for using power tools in the public area. bang head Generally surprises at such events are not welcome and are rarely in your favor.
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #8 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:38pm
 
Junior,

I went to my first show last Oct. and had a ball, like all the others here, you need to check out what is available to you. When I contacted the event manager, I was asked for the same info as you... photos of what I'd be bring, booth info, size wise and would I be bring any of my equipment, so I asked him would it be ok to bring my mini and he said by all means, he as well as other would like to see the process of turning a pen, bottle stopper's and small items as well.

Being an outside show I ran into a problem with my "Neighbor" when wood dust started covering her Avon stuff, so I had to put up sides on my tent to prevent this from happening during the rest of the show which is something none of us thought about. The cost was really reasonable and selling wasn't a major problem, I went at it as a first time learning experience and came out far better than I expected. I know now what folks at this show look for and this coming Oct, I'll be more prepared, doing small shows first is a great learning experience and when I feel comfortable enough, I'll start looking at the larger show later on down the road.

The major thing to remember is, no matter what you make, not everyone will be impressed, for those you do sell to and get good reviews, you'll have some who just aren't interested on what you have to offer. I think I'd do what the others have said here... try a few small shows first, see what folks like/want and then gear up for the big one next year and by all means, see if you can contact the other turns and see if they will express their views as well, it couldn't hurt and it may save you some time and money or it might give you some insight on what to bring.

Good Luck Buddy!!!
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #9 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:40pm
 
Junior, I've typically paid $200 to nearly $500 for a one or two day show in the Los Angeles area. Entry fees vary around the country, but unless you're out in the middle of nowhere, those sound like pretty reasonable fees.

When I first started thinking of doing art shows, I did like you and attended a few. I found a few vendors (net even woodturners) who were willing to offer advice, and learned a lot just from asking them questions.

For my first show, I had the same barriers as you...the product pics were no sweat, but I needed booth pics. So, I bought a booth, tables, and table covers, had a sign made at Kinkos, got a few baskets from Ikea, and set up my booth in the back yard and filled the tables with every turning I could get my hands on. I also had to submit a copy of my business license, so I had to go through the whole DBA, tax registration, and business license thing, too. All in all it was worth the trouble. I made more than my entry fee on the first show, and also made some great connections, including Ray Leier from Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register. (Ray was the promoter of the show, and I've done a number of shows with him since then.)

Brad's had better success as far as making back his entry fee than I have. It sounds like he's got a wider spectrum price-wise of products. Although I usually have a few pens, bottle stoppers, and confetti lamps, I mainly have bowls and hollow forms, which aren't always fast to sell. I've had a few shows where I only made a few bucks more (or less) than the entry, and had a couple where I only sold a $40 pen, yet paid $285+ to do it. Right now I'm a bit leery about entering anything in this area due to the economy, but I still plan to pick out at least one show to do this spring, just to test the waters. I really saw the effects of the economy hit the shows out here last fall. My best show ever was the Brentwood show last spring. Expensive entry fee for a one-day show, but I netted more that day than any two-day show I'd ever done. Then my worst show ever was last fall, at the same show in Brentwood. I sold a pen. Nothing else. Lots of people walking around the show, but nobody was carrying any merchandise. I wasn't the only seller who lost money that day. Fortunately, I'm not relying on the income to put food on the table. (But the extra shop fund money is always nice.) If I was serious about making money, I'd have more small stuff for sale, but right now I'd rather try to sell what I like to turn instead of turning things that don't interest me, just to make a sale.

The fact that you saw people carrying purchases around the show is a good sign. This sounds like a show that would be worth pursuing, but I'll second the advice of the others in saying you might want to do a couple smaller shows first to warm up with.

Sounds like you're going about things intelligently. Best of luck, and much success.  smiley=thumbsup.gif
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« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2009 at 10:47pm by Vaughn McMillan »  
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #10 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 12:21am
 
I have been out of doing shows for 2 years now (divorce, she got the tent Wink  ).  Just wanted to clear that up, but the economy hasn't hurt my none show sales at all and I do plan on starting back up with shows this year. (I am still on a bunch of lists )
I do have a wide price range of items starting at $4 and going up over a couple 100. (my best sellers are in the $20-$30 range)
But, one thing that is probably a bigger asset to me is that I target a specific demand, my biggest area is tools for the fiber arts, support spindles, drop spindles, nostys, wpis stuff like that. I also go for the historic items. I seldom do arts and craft shows, I do fiber shows, rendezvous and ren faires ect. basically found a nitch that works for me. Which is and was a merchandising decision. My next plan is a small treadle lathe aslo a marketing statigy.
Don't get me wrong, turning is one of the 2 best things in the world in my mind, but I did go at it with the intention of making money doing what I truly love.
So, if you are serious about making a living turning, do the research and go at it with a well thought out plan, I know it can be done and I do wish you the best Junior.

Brad
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #11 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 8:58am
 
Jr I used to have a link to a website that had a really good forum and info on Craft fairs I am going to see if I can find it again and I'll post the link here.  
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« Last Edit: Feb 8th, 2009 at 9:00am by Philip Peak »  

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Reply #12 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 9:00am
 
As promised, some of you out there may have already heard of this one.  Tons of good info.

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Re: anybody know??
Reply #13 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 12:29pm
 
thanks Phil Smiley Smiley
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Junior Adams
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Re: anybody know??
Reply #14 - Feb 8th, 2009 at 3:06pm
 
yep.. i am gonna do a couple of smaller shows first, and gear up for the big show. i will be taking notes on EVERYTHING...


thanks again for all the help everyone. and Phil, thanks for the link!! that looks like a very good tool. LOTS of work to do, and that's not even thinking about the shop time!! i will do the parts i don't like and save the turning for my reward so it isn't like a "job" where i HAVE TO go to the shop... i wanna go to the shop because i want to.as much as i want to sell my work, i dont want it to become "work" you know?
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