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graybeard

Graybeards 1St Sale

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Well the truth is.........I didn't even cover the cost of the table.

I didn't sell 1 piece. I think part of the problem might have been that

it turned out to be more of a flea market than craft sale, but jeeez!

 

one last thing....... posting this is one of the hardest things I've done in a while.

talk about embarrassing.

 

graybeard

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Flea Market instead of craft sale should be a big indicator a reason why you might not have gotten sales. Have you read Mea's(GEP) articles about shows?

 

She has 4 parts talking about it, slap full of absurdly good information for someone who is doing shows. I highly recommend reading it. I don't even do shows and I read it several times and bookmarked them all. 

 

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-1

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-2

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-3

http://www.goodelephant.com/blog/the-art-festival-plan-part-4

 

As far as embarrassing, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you don't try you can't fail, and that itself is failure. You should be proud of yourself for having the heart to get out there and put your product in front of eyes.

 

I am sure if you sit down and make a list you can come up with plenty of things you learned about the show. Things you can make sure you don't do again and things you can improve for the next time. 

dricherson, GEP, Celia UK and 4 others like this

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Did you know that seasoned festival artists will have zero days sometimes, even at fancy shows? It's true! You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You had the courage to take this big step. I agree with Joseph that you should sit down and make notes about everything you learned. This will make a big difference for next time. But before you do that, put your feet up and have a drink!

Babs and Min like this

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Hi Graybeard! I am new to the forum but have read many of your posts, and just wanted to chime in to say not to be so hard on yourself. The first couple years in doing sales was trial and error for me figuring out which sales were worth going to. I went to quite a few that I look back on and think "Why on earth wouldn't I have checked that sale out more before hauling all of my stuff there!" So it very well may have been the sale, and nothing to do with your pieces at all! My first sale I sold all but one small box of pieces I had brought, then the next two I sold zero...then one more good one, then another zero. Still the odd sale that is a complete flop. Whenever I have a bad sale there are always so many kind potters that have been in the buisness for years and years that come around and remind me not to get discouraged...that it happens to everyone, pretty solid advice.

 

Never be embarrassed for putting yourself out there and trying something :)

Min and TLDinNC like this

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Graybeard,

 

Chin up old man! You did the hardest thing... You decided to give it a try and followed through. CONGRATS on surviving your first show. Shows are hit or miss, I always do a review of the year and decide which shows have potential to do again, which are definites and which are run the other way as fast as I can. Look at it this way you got that last one taken care of and out of the way.

 

As others have said chalk this one up to a learning experience. What did you learn? ( other than not to do that event again). Things you might not consider a learning part of your experience:

1) how did you prepare for the show? What would you do differently the next time?

2) how did set up go for the show? What would you do differently.

3) how did your display work? What would you like to improve or change?

4) how was tear down? How can this be improved?

5) how did putting everything back away at home go? Is there a way to streamline or improve this?

6) what did people say about your pottery? Write down some of these as you will forget. Most you can toss but there are usually some gems in the bunch to help you improve your sales pitch and set up, not necessarily your pottery mind you just how you present it to the world.

7) did you notice any particular pieces or colors getting more attention than others? One of the hardest things to learn is to take what you know sells at shows and leave the stuff (that you may LOVE) at home because it's just going to get damaged and not sell. Find another venue for these pieces.

 

It can be the littlest things, like how you box items, or how you have your sales set up, or even your price tags. Look at EVERYTHING, figure out what worked and what didn't and use this show as a jumping off point. I've been doing shows for almost 30 years and I still do this review after each one.

 

In the few years I've been doing pottery (was fine art paintings and photography before) I changed my layout pretty much everytime EXCEPT for this last show, I did the same for everything since I think I have it the way I want.. Oh no wait... I want to change my tablecloths to be more tailored rather than draped. But happily since my tables configuration is now optimal I can focus on this and not worry about changing the tables and needing new cloths if I do.

 

You will an old pro at this in no time and giving pointers to the newbies and wondering how quickly you got to where you are.

 

T

GEP likes this

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that was not the worst place to try to sell, try a church bazaar in a small town.  you might find yourself next to someone selling barbie doll clothes or woven potholders or wooden clothspins painted with flowers or things made with popsicle sticks glued together or tissue box covers made with yarn woven through tiny squares or.........................whatever the human mind can think up that is ridiculously silly.

 

never be embarassed, it is only something in your mind, not a real thing.

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My sympathies. I did a string of those a number of years ago, before I knew, well, a lot of things. They straight up suck.

A zero show can lead to a truly hideous shame spiral. Allow yourself the space, and recover a bit before you start analyzing. But don't wait too long to get back on the horse, either. Next week, find the next show and research it, and start planning where to go from here. When you get a good one, they're awesome!

Min likes this

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When ever I get down because of sales, I breakout the Zig Ziglar cassette tape my dad left me. Google him, or one of the many other top sales people. Motivations go a long way in helping us see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

And I can't forget another great salesman, W. Clement Stone. He motivated me to stop smoking, drinking and to attend college. He change my life. His book, The Success System That Never Fails.

 

Best wishes for success.

JohnnyK likes this

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Graybeard, thank you for posting this!  It takes a time and reflection in order to find shows that are a good fit.  And you will!  And even when you think you have found some answers and you have a direction, then sales seem to shift.   We are all in this together!  Good luck at the next one!!!  I know it will be better!

 

Roberta

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You can add Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins to the cast of characters, too.

I actually attended a Zig Ziglar seminar about 25 years ago...talk about a dynamo!

As has been said above...the show/sale was not a failure, it was a learning experience!

 

On a personal note...I had gone to a professional photography school in Sacramento back in 1980 where, among other things, I was introduced to the writings of Napoleon Hill. Hill had literally changed my life. I had visions of being a professional freelance photographer. I was a great photographer but a lousy salesman. The country was in a recession and few people were buying photo services. At least that was the way it seemed to me, and I went nowhere in the photo business.

My wife, meanwhile, had a successful housecleaning business that she and a girlfriend had started a few years prior to my photo endeavor. Since I wasn't doing much in photography, she asked me if I would do some minor repairs at a house she was working in. I did...and that was the start of a small handyman business. Over the years I applied the principles touted by Napoleon Hill in his books, "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude" and "Think and Grow Rich". After 10 years as a handyman I had to get my General Contractor license since my jobs were getting bigger and out of the range of legal handyman work.  My success was tremendous and I had developed my sales skills to the point where I could go in to give an estimate to replace a kitchen faucet and come away with a full kitchen remodel job.

I've been retired from the remodeling business for 1 1/2 years and loving the opportunity to be a farmer, photographer, and potter. I currently have plans to sell my pottery at my vegetable stand.

My point here is that if you look at each "failure" as a learning experience and take what you've learned to heart, you will go far!

To paraphrase what Mr. Hill says in his books, "Opportunity is knocking all the time, you just have to learn when to open the door!"

 

Good luck with your future endeavors!

JohnnyK

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You can add Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins to the cast of characters, too.

I actually attended a Zig Ziglar seminar about 25 years ago...talk about a dynamo!

As has been said above...the show/sale was not a failure, it was a learning experience!

 

On a personal note...I had gone to a professional photography school in Sacramento back in 1980 where, among other things, I was introduced to the writings of Napoleon Hill. Hill had literally changed my life. I had visions of being a professional freelance photographer. I was a great photographer but a lousy salesman. The country was in a recession and few people were buying photo services. At least that was the way it seemed to me, and I went nowhere in the photo business.

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You can add Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins to the cast of characters, too.

I actually attended a Zig Ziglar seminar about 25 years ago...talk about a dynamo!

As has been said above...the show/sale was not a failure, it was a learning experience!

 

On a personal note...I had gone to a professional photography school in Sacramento back in 1980 where, among other things, I was introduced to the writings of Napoleon Hill. Hill had literally changed my life. I had visions of being a professional freelance photographer. I was a great photographer but a lousy salesman. The country was in a recession and few people were buying photo services. At least that was the way it seemed to me, and I went nowhere in the photo business.

 

I am so jealous. I would love to have met Zig. He could sell ice to an Eskimo.

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Well the truth is.........I didn't even cover the cost of the table.

I didn't sell 1 piece. I think part of the problem might have been that

it turned out to be more of a flea market than craft sale, but jeeez!

 

one last thing....... posting this is one of the hardest things I've done in a while.

talk about embarrassing.

 

graybeard

Its great you posted this

I would consider this a learning experience on what venue to they showing at-its not a failure at all.

My suggestion is go see the next one before ever signing up. The venue does matter in terms of what types of customers and whats for sale.

I do not know what part of the planet you live in but as you now know flea markets do not support ceramic sales.

Good luck with the quest

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Jeez! I don't know what to say......... Thank you for all of your support,

wisdom and ..... well thank you.

 

Yeah, I learned a lot Saturday and am working on some ways to make a better

display. All I had was the table covered with what I now think was a too busy

table cloth. I think some of the smaller stuff kinda blended in with the

pattern, and my tea pots in a group, mugs in a group, small covered jars in a

group.........you get the idea.

 

Next time I will have a second level (im working on open box end supports

for a second shelf some sort of draping....gonna be nice!!)

 

OLDLADY The tissue box lady was right across the sidewalk next to the

lady selling the TUPPERWARE HAND CRANKED FOOD PROCESSOERs, at least that was

entertaining. (unreal) It was almost all used clothing, used toys, used power

equipment, I was the only potter. YUP! the wrong venue. I did almost sell my

blue tea pot, until I told the lady that she shouldn't put it on the stove

to heat the water.

 

Anyway, it was a letdown for sure, but I'm a long way from giving up.

Oh! the weather was good! (until it started to rain)

 

Again, Thanks guys fer everything!

 

graybeard

Joseph F likes this

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Greybread

Keep the covering simple like white or grey with no patterns. Make 2 levels so  some stuff is off tabletop for interest . There has been quite a bit written on this subject if you use the search function on main board.

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Everyone has a bad sale on occasion.

I did a 3-day festival in a small town in Wisconsin several years ago. Didn't sell a single thing. Barely had any shoppers in my booth. The lady next to me sold out of knitted dishcloths the first day and I watched the guy across from me sell out of his plastic-animals-glued-to-chunks-of-wood 'art' on day two. I found out small-town folk prefer to buy from the people they know, and it turns out the lady next to me was the Pastor's daughter and the guy across from me was a longtime local bartender.

It took me years to figure out my weirdness sold well in urban settings, not in the burbs.

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