Jump to content


2 Questions?

#pottery #ceramics #artshows #sales

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 bluecreekpottery



  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts

Posted 14 February 2017 - 05:11 PM

How much do you typically pay for a booth at an art show? 

How much in sales is considered good for a pottery booth at a one day art show?

#2 GEP


    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 1,433 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 14 February 2017 - 06:10 PM

I pay between $175 and $1600 for a booth at an art show. A typical show costs between $600 and $700.

As for one-day shows, my feelings about one-day shows are probably different than most. I would much rather have 2 or 3 days of selling for every time I set up and take down my display. So I rarely do them and will only do them if they are ROCKETS.
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery

#3 oldlady


    single firing an electric kiln to cone 6

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,452 posts
  • Locationharpers ferry west va and pinellas park fl

Posted 14 February 2017 - 06:13 PM

if you are looking for  hard and fast business numbers, you are in the wrong field.  each show is unique in that the physical location, date, weather, intent of the promoter and location in the country.  there are lots of posts over many years talking about individual shows and their results for individual potters so you can imagine that the answers will vary considerably.  


only you know your wallet contents and if you are doing a particular show to make money for rent or food or for the satisfaction of selling your work to someone who appreciates it.  


as with so much in ceramics, it depends..............

"putting you down does not raise me up."

#4 Diesel Clay

Diesel Clay

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,178 posts
  • LocationCalgary, Alberta, Canada

Posted 14 February 2017 - 09:00 PM

I've been tracking my own numbers for the last 2 1/2 years and doing some of the same sales so that I have information to compare to. There are too many factors involved for me to be able to give you my numbers, and have that be a reasonable indication for what you should expect. If you really want them, dm me and I'll share (even if you're reading this 5 years on). I don't feel overly private about them, but I want to qualify them here.
The economy in my area is unhealthily dependent on the price of a barrel of crude oil, and the boom-bust cycle means we go from times of extreme, gratuitous consumer spending to periods of major unemployment and bank repossessions. Two years ago when I started up my business, we were in the spendy part, now we're in the no jobs part. That affected sales. I changed my aesthetics quite drastically about a year and a half ago, and that affected sales. The number of markets has increased in the province, and because there's so many of them, that has affected sales. There are more unemployed people deciding to follow their dreams and start creative businesses so they can make ends meet. That has affected sales. Politics, both provincial and industry-wide, affects sales.

I have decided a method of determining if a show has been profitable for myself. I add up all my show expenses (gas, booth expenses), my table fees, and half the retail value (essentially the wholesale value) of all the pots I sold . If I grossed more than that number, I was successful. If I made less than that, I would have been better off selling those same pots wholesale.

#5 neilestrick


    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,051 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 14 February 2017 - 10:04 PM

The shows I do are between $100 and $550. I try to stay in the $350-400 range. I've found a couple of $150 shows that are great for me.


I do a couple of one day shows that are great, and a couple that are just a good way to earn several hundred dollars early in the season without putting in much effort. My first show if the year in April, a 1 day small show, will get me enough to buy my new canopy. The best show I've ever had was a one day show.


I do a couple of two day shows that would probably do very well as a one day show, as it puts more pressure on people to buy, and they just don't get the numbers to warrant 2 days.


Most of the 3 day shows I've done were not worth it. One of the days always seems to be a waste of time.


I tend to sell about the same at all the good shows I do. I have a number that I'm content with earning, but that number is different for everyone. It's a lower number than it was 5 years ago when the economy was stronger. I used to be able to sell at least one, often 2 or 3, big $250 jars at every show. Now I sell one or two of them a year, so I've got to make more small stuff to compensate.


I have a friend who sells 3x as much as I do at every show, but our work is very different, and she has to pay a couple of assistants, too. I have one show that I sell well at every year, but none of the other potters I talk to ever do very well at it. There's a lot of turnover amongst the potters every year at that show. I can't explain it.


It's a tough gig, and you just have to figure out what works for you. There are a lot of shows I won't do because my work is too expensive for them. There are others I won't do because the show is too expensive for me.


Whatever shows you do, make sure your canopy and displays are up to the task. Weather is a killer. I've always used a pop-up canopy, and it has served me well through some really nasty weather, but I put a lot of weight on the corners, and have stabilizer bars on all sides. It only ever got crumpled once, and the Trimline and Light Dome canopies went down, too- nothing can handle 80mph winds very well. I'm getting a new one this year that will be much beefier, but still a pop-up.

Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC

[email protected]

#6 MatthewV



  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 562 posts
  • LocationAlaska

Posted 15 February 2017 - 03:18 AM

As for canopies: I take the top off when the weather gets windy. This becomes an issue if it is windy and raining-- in which case start packing up!


I do a low-key weekly small town market. It probably wasn't worth my time last year but I will do it again. Low stress and mostly I am advertising for the classes I teach anyways. Longer and larger events are too stressful for me. I am also the worst person to take recommendation about selling pottery from. 

Make More Mistakes

#7 Pugaboo


    Lifetime artist 3rd year potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,037 posts
  • LocationHelen, GA

Posted 15 February 2017 - 05:21 PM

My current festival range is $50-$150 for a 10x10 space, with a majority falling at $75.

Most of my festivals are 1 day events, all are local. For me at this point in my life traveling long distances and being away from home overnight just isn't possible. I have found I really like the 1 day events, if it's nice not too hot no chance of rain I don't even put up a canopy. I use an ez-up when I do use one and I weigh it down really well.

I kind of have a formula that I use to decide whether I return to a festival after the first time. My examples are all for 1 day local festivals which means no hotels, bring a bag lunch from home, only a couple gallons of gas at most, free parking, can walk there from home, etc. My only expenses are fees, materials and what I pay myself. If I make less than $250 I won't do it again. If I make $250-$350 I will give it another shot, this is especially true if there are other factors like weather that I think contributed to the low amount. When I reach $350 it goes into the lets try this again and see if my sales increase as people learn to look for me there. Anything over $500 is a definite do again. When I reach the $1000 mark it's skipping home clapping my hands in glee hugging the festival promoting on the way out. I have had a few $1000+ one day shows but around here with the average attendance of less than 3000 people I usually do between $500 and $750. I have had a couple that even though the sales were low, under $300, but I did get a large custom order from, that was delivered and paid for later, that I will do again since the custom order shows that there IS money to be had at the venue.

You have to kind of decide for yourself what your comfort level is and what amount makes it worth it for you to do it.

The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users