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Small craft fair

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I have adamently resisted "doing" craft fairs and art shows (except as sponsored by my potters' guild) because I just plain don't want to, don't care for it, and don't think the money, at my low volume, it would ever be worth the wear & tear.  On the other hand, I often donate my wares, and sometimes my presence, for selected local non-profit fundraisers.  So, I have decided to participate in one that benefits the Titlon-Northfield Hall Memorial Library (NH). It is a  modest 1-day sidewalk event. I am having a blast just doing the DIY display planning and finding/making the set-up for my tables (5 foot on the horizontal and a 4 ft. coming forward on the right, to creat a "walk-in" space. No tent. I find I am actually looking forward to this.  I'm using Square for my payment processor and just love it. Will be featuring "smalls".  Here we have cutting signage, sorting items with notes for what is still needed to be done, and some purchased display supports. I made a bunch of key fobs, which look great on the spinner rack.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, the deed is done. It was a non-event. The morning hours carried serious threats of rain-there was heavy competition from many other fairs and events statewide that weekend, and no signage (??!!) even at the entrance to the site. Nobody sold anything--literally (well, one vendor sold a $5 item-seriously-that was it!). 

Without knowing what I did over the weekend (organizing & packing up all that stuff, schlepping 3 tables and all the wares & display props out of the studio & into the car-unloading-setting up-breaking it down, re-packing, more schlepping, unpacking, etc. etc. and half of it was still in the back seat Tues.), on Monday my chiropractor told me that whatever it was, not to do it again! Took 3 times the usual adjustments to get me straight!  

I have decided that the only events I will do--if I do any at all--are those where they provide the tables! 

I think my low-budget set-up looked decent, tho. 25356579_CraftFair9-19.jpg.b6fd7a58cd76569a018e8b63dd1a775c.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to hear about the miss. Don't let one show sour you on the whole thing though because there are plenty of shows that do deliver a lot of people. I would suggest just checking out shows in driving distance first and then doing them the following year if they have a large turnout, have the right vendors and everyone seems to be selling stuff. It does feel great when you sell and really sucks when you don't. I don't think many potters make much from even good shows  once you honestly factor in all the labor and cost but one thing that always stands out when there are a lot of people though is that the interaction directly with customers is really helpful even if you are going to sell in other ways. The guys here that seem to make their living from shows all talk about traveling for a lot of them and having done some of that I know first hand you can really lose your a$$ on a low revenue show if you add in a bunch of expenses. 

Edited by Stephen
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Actually, I am relieved, because I knew I didn't want to go down that road in the first place!  :rolleyes:

I always trust my decisions & instincts, AND I am also willing to challenge my own positions.  The physical wear & tear of prep, selecting pieces, making labels/signs, packing carriers, packing the car, unpacking  and carrying into the site, setting up table displays, tearing down/repacking the carriers, repacking the car, unpacking the car, schlepping it all back into the studio, unpacking the carriers, sorting and putting away the stock and all the other crap......I could go on and on, because the whole process just went on and on!!  Don't see a "next show" on the horizon.  And I'm real OK with that!

I needed to know if the physical "cost" was worth the effort, and, for me (not young, not terribly fit, have my chiropractor on speed dial), it just isn't. I sure do appreciate all the support, tips, cautions,  & encouragement --- that is one of the wonderful things, of real value, about these forums and the people who participate here, as a community.  

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i think i have done my last solo outdoor show, lee.   you have hit the high points of why.   i still enjoy all the interaction with the public as they say lovely things about my work but i realize it takes a toll.  (edited by moderators for content not related to this forum)

greybeard, you might have just done the wrong show for your work.   small ones are just as much work but the rewards are less.   go to other shows and see which ones make you want to join the other sellers.   maybe simplify your display or take fewer pots to make it easier on yourself.

i think i have gotten the last of the checks in the mail from my last two shows.  it is always nice to find that my faith in the honesty of the person who does not have a check or enough cash is well placed.    eight checks totalling over $300, all with notes of thanks have come from people who thought everyone takes credit cards because everyone has a cell phone.  there was even a young woman who walked up with $28 and said "sorry i lost your address but i owe you this from last year.  thank you for trusing me."

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Doing craft show in the beginning is always a gamble. Like riding a bicycle for the 1st time-sometimes it works for a distance other fall off right away. It takes time to figure out shows and markets. It took me 20 years to get that dialed-most do not want to try that long. some shows where dead some meduim a few where good.Live and learn. The setupo looks fine it the customers that where absent.I did a show at a ladies club in a small town for 5 years back in the 70s we thought we where doing great with 300-500$ in slaees for a day . Now that for me would never  do today so this also is different for everybody .

Speaking of small sales I am part of a small local vender list that a local middle school lets the parents buy out of a catalog that the parents put together for 1 month of sales. They buy wholesale and make the same amout of money as us makers do and the $ goes to the kids activities . I have 1 month to fill the order-it came in yesterday totaling (my share $597 and the kids share is $597)I will fill this order on Monday as I premade all I needed last few weeks (spoonrests and mugs)This is my second year doing this . I keep my prices low so the sales are high in volume.They approached me for this as one parent is a customer.

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