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Chris Campbell

Rain, Rain, Rain

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We have had two soggy, rainy weekends here and many potters have seen their income hopes disappear.

I just saw a post from a potter friend lamenting a totally rained out, low sales show and could not help but think of all the potters here who do the grand haul of work to and from shows.

We are kind of like farmers, counting on the weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet ... people stay home from even the best run shows.

Coping with this is truly what separates the doers from the wannabes.

How do you pull yourself up and get back in the groove after a disaster show?

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This is a very interesting topic and one I am quite familiar with but not related to pottery sales as yet. From 2000 to last year a large portion of my income was based on having good weather. I gave inline skating lessons outdoors, sometimes with groups of up to 15 students. I also conducted many outdoor group fitness classes. I didn't have any indoor back up plan B in case of bad weather due to the cost of renting a space so I always took my chances.

 

Some years I was rained out a few days at a time or for a few consecutive weekends and it was always frustrating. I had to constantly keep both eyes on the weather reports and hope for the best. Occasionally the weather would be nice enough when I left the house but I would find it pouring in Manhattan when I exited the subway 45 minutes later. That always sucked.

 

For the participants that purchased multi-session packages it didn't matter too much because we eventually would make them up. I know I lost many of the last minute walkons due to the weather but some of the income was made up for it by those who paid but quit after a few sessions even though there weren't many of those.

 

So, for the first few years I was always upset when this happened but then realized I still had a lot of other indoor income and I wasn't going to go broke. Later on I would just sigh, say "oh well", and just enjoy the time off.

 

Now that I have an outdoor craft fair under my belt and had to again be wary of the weather those three days and have registered for a few more I can appreciate what all the full time professional potters must go through. It is a ton of work and can be really devastating emotionally to have a disaster due to bad weather.

 

Paul

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this is the weekend for the Waterford va home tour and craft exhibit.  the 82 nd year. . it is rained out and was cancelled by the foundation because the little streams you would cross to get there are over the roads.  the governor has declared a state of emergency for va and even the big one in Alexandria is postponed until next week.  we are small fry in the face of the real problems in other states but it is bad enough.

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In recent years, my plan is to schedule enough shows that one or two can be impacted by weather, and cash flow will still be where I need it to be. Then if I have a year when no shows are impacted by weather, it's a bonus.

 

Feeling very lucky right now that the show I was supposed to be doing today is going to be held next Saturday, rather than cancelled. And lucky that I had next Saturday free.

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I seem to get some die hard customers that come out in the rain. We aren't prone to hurricanes by the Rockies, however. Canadians have to be stoic about the weather, or we'd never get anything done. I signed up for a good Christmas market at the start of November that is held outdoors at a rural racetrack. (I coughed up the extra fee for a spot in one of the heated tents!)

For reference, the weather at the start of November varies widely, but it won't be above freezing. Boot warmers, blankets and thermoses will be the order of the day.

 

If I have a show that tanks, it means I have stock to put somewhere else. I can maybe pick up a small table somewhere, or put it in a shop.

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Wish you could send your rain here to california, though here on the north coast we are ok.  

 

our studio used to sell organic lemonade in mugs we extruded at a craft fair. one year it rained. we sold almost nothing and closed the second day.   we depended upon this income to buy major equipment items and it was rough. so glad we don't need to do that any more but I feel for those who work art fairs.   Can't believe i am looking forward to the winter rains when the only way to dry any art is to find a warm kiln.   rakuku

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Just recorded the annual rainfall (oct1st thru to oct 1st yearly) and changed batteries in my 3 rain gauges-40.36 for the year here near Blue Lake.

last year was 24 inches

As for rain and shows all my shows are outdoors now all 7 and its always a crap shoot somewhere-wind can be a larger issue than rain-I just roll with weather as its part of life as a potter doing outside shows-I gave up all inside shows for bigger dollars outside.

In the pacific northwest rain is no big deal for customers(they are like ducks) in AZ its like Godzilla is on the street-so its more what local are you in when it rains

You need to do shows all over to get a feel for this.

Mark

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