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Non craft show venues

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#1 Chantay

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 01:38 PM

I would like to hear from others if anyone has had any luck doing non-craft shows.  I was thinking specifically of a Home and Garden show and a Bonsai show (I make bonsai pots).   The local I live in does have a large craft show twice a year but the majority of products are more crafty and retail type products.  Last time I went I saw about 4 potters out of around 600 booths.  Only one seemed to have any real business.  In addition the booth fee is very high.  Looking for other options for sales.

 

 


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#2 Mark C.

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:52 PM

I have some friends who make garden items in clay-In the past the large retail and wholesale garden shows where good to them.

Your bonsai pots fit that bill well.May be a better fit for them than any art show.You could also sell directly to nurseries -especailly as spring time sales are the best time of year for sales. A few local outlets would be an easy target.

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#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:08 PM

If the booth price is high it might be better to just visit the show this year to gauge your fit. The market is so saturated with imported garden pottery selling for low prices ... all you need is for them to be in the booth right next to you. I would check out the show before I spent the booth fee ... Even if you just ask them for a list of other pottery vendors so you can judge for yourself.

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#4 JBaymore

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:30 PM

I have a friend that does nothing BUT home type shows.  Makes his living from them.  He does custom hand painted tile work (and well I might add).  High end pricing.  Know your market.

 

best,

 

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#5 bciskepottery

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:44 PM

One of my best shows last year was a Flower and Garden Show . . . my focus was on vases: ikebana with kenza, tall kohiki slipped vases, dishes formed from leaves, envelope vases, etc. (although the first item I sold was a mug -- and I had put that out only on a whim; completely surprised me -- but the woman who bought it came straight in from the street to the mug, picked it up, and said, I want it.). So, if you have work that fits with the focus of the show and the audience that type of show attracts, you can do just fine.

#6 DirtRoads

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:44 PM

I used to do Junior League shows in another business.   The first year i had the pottery I did Tinsel & Treasures in Lafayette, LA.    http://www.juniorlea...com/?nd=tnthome

 

This is not the best Junior League show but it is the first of the season and has lower booth fees than most Junior League type shows.  The booth fees for a 10x10 range from  $1000 to $1350 at T&T.  It's a 3 day show, with a preview party.    My sales here were $7800.   I did not consider it cost effective as I was gone 6 days, 5 nights in a hotel and took a paid worker with me.  My break even point was about $4k (gas, meals, hotels, COGS, booth fees).  The best shows of this type are in Texas.  I used to go from Chi Omega Christmas Market (Dallas) to a Christmas Affair (Austin) to The Nut Cracker Market (Houston).   I really don't find these shows cost effective for a hand crafted product but I do know this one potter that does Holiday House in Little Rock AR, and it must work for them because they have been doing it for years.  I'm sure I could have increased my sales if I continued to do those type shows but it comes down to the fact that I don't want to have to make that much pottery to break even.  Plus I have 100% sell through in my retail shop, which is in front of my studio.  

 

I did do a garden show in my other business and found it to be profitable but not nearly as profitable as Junior League shows.  It comes down to the fact that you have to make pottery.  Your prices would have to be hand crafted prices, not art prices and you would most likely sell well at these venues.  But it comes down to production ... you can only produce so much.   Not sure about spending that much just to break even.

 

If anyone is ever interested in these type shows, feel free to contact me as I have done most of them.  



#7 Chantay

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:13 PM

OK, thanks for all the info.  I will preview shows this year for next year.  All I have done so far is the local farmers market during the summer.  I have sold out each time. (no booth fee!!) We will see how long that last.  I'm only doing pottery part time now but looking at other options for in the future. 


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#8 Stephen

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:41 AM

mind my asking the types and qty of items you sold out of at your local farmers market :D



#9 Davidpotter

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 12:15 PM

OK, thanks for all the info.  I will preview shows this year for next year.  All I have done so far is the local farmers market during the summer.  I have sold out each time. (no booth fee!!) We will see how long that last.  I'm only doing pottery part time now but looking at other options for in the future. 

I can't believe i never thought of this! While there is still a $5 fee for one day for me it is a lot better than what the craft shows are charging... and I've never see any potential competition at the farmers market.


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#10 schmism

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:05 PM

As a hobby farmer who does farmers markets. Be forewarned, these are places of no frills sales. "cute packaging" and decorative labels, the types of things common for craft shows will get you no were at a farmers market.

 

You'll likely have the best luck with functional pieces at reasonable prices. spoon rests, mixing bowls, "GP bowls" etc. Not really the place you can expect to sell those "artsy" vase pieces. 

Remember these people actually coming for fresh ingredients to cook with. They want something they can use!

 

NOTE: not all farmers markets are the same, some are more "upscale" especially in select markets (think downtown Seattle or San Francisco) It pays to know your market (but that's a basic business moto)



#11 Mark C.

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 02:54 PM

Our local farmers market does not allow anything but food items grown from members or thier plants (cactus or plant starts).

No crafts or soaps or whatever only FOOD and plants.

Mark


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#12 Chantay

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:25 PM

The local farmers market is very small and as Schmism said, no frills.  I popped open a table and put out some stuff.  All functional wares and a couple of vases.  First thing I do when I get there is grab some produce and display it on the bowls and dishes. 


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