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Today, the first of my fall shows decided to cancel. It would have been early October. As of now, I still have two other fall shows. One of them said they will make a final decision in September, and they aren't asking for booth fees until then. I've decided not to apply for any more, doesn't seem worth it. 

I agree with @DirtRoads, I'd rather the shows be cancelled, than have us all in harm's way. For the artists and the customers. 

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I went and visited the art market i talked about in my earlier post. I saw nothing in the way of covid changes by the organizer other than a sign at the entrance advising social distancing and mask. T

I've been hesitating on posting some of my ideas because the response taken to Covid here in Canada has been very different, and I'm not sure if some of the things that will be working for me will be

I've started thinking about how to handle my own holiday open studio. It is normally on the second weekend of December, which is pretty late in the season. If all the fall shows get cancelled, I could

(I agree with @DirtRoads, I'd rather the shows be cancelled, than have us all in harm's way. For the artists and the customers. )

Very much so-best for all the community until there is a solution.

On a another note ,sales are picking up-its tourist season and they are flooding into this area. Bad news really for us in the long run here behind the redwood curtain.

 

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I will meet with our Holiday Market Team tonight (socially distant, in a backyard) probably in jackets with a stiff breeze blowing (it was 40 this morning!) I have called neighboring towns and Chambers and Creative Districts to see what they are thinking.  Steamboat Springs said they are planning on their holiday show.  They are even considering tents:wacko: (December?Really?) but...there are usually 3 shows in that town during the holidays and they are just going to host one.  One town to the south of us has cancelled all their winter markets.  Another to the east of us is considering cancellation of their big market.  Our mission tonight is to consider our options and arrive at plans for safe selling and buying.  We might be able to rent a second space  and put great distance between vendors.  Monitor the number of shoppers, hand sanitizer at each booth, masks....but for me personally, it will come down to the number of cases we have by November.  We picked up 2 new cases last week, while that still is only 10, it is growing.  Steamboat picked up 10 cases last week with tourist season ramping up speed. Like Mark said, it does not bode well for those of us who live in these areas.   We will have to be flexible and move quickly in the future.

Roberta

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I've started thinking about how to handle my own holiday open studio. It is normally on the second weekend of December, which is pretty late in the season. If all the fall shows get cancelled, I could move it to November, and conceivably have it outdoors. I would make it a one day event (instead of two), and set up tables in my back yard and space them far apart so customers can distance themselves. Masks would be required. It would be credit card only, and chip cards only. Customers would have to dip their own card. Apple Pay would also work. I'm torn about checks. I have good customers who always pay by check. I suppose a check isn't as filthy as cash, and hasn't been circulating in the environment for years. Customers could bag their own purchases, or simple carry them away unwrapped. A wrapping/bagging station would be set up for them, again allowing for social distancing. 

This would be followed by putting the remaining pots online for another "free home delivery" sale for those who did not want to attend the event. 

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Have been considering strategy for own holiday open studio as well, if such a thing is allowed come Fall. There may not be any group type of opportunity around here.

Masks required, aye. Ware stations spread out, aye that too. Was thinking that any pieces picked up and/or breathed on be placed on cleaning station table, where it would be wiped down before being placed back. I like wrap and bag yourself, however, each customer should only be able to inoculate their own wrapping materials.

I'm carrying a 2.5 quart plastic snap top vessel with me - with some soapy water plus a dash of bleach, and a washcloth - since onset o' pandemic, everywhere. I keep the wet washcloth in my hand; everything gets wiped. Cash goes straight in - we're "laundering" money, all money, incoming aaand outgoing as well. A check written in non-smearable ink can take a wipe with damp washcloth, and for sure clean hands and surface after putting the check in its box. The mail is holding up ok, fwiw. Later, alla checks can be hung in the sun with a clothespin for an afternoon?

Don't know why solution and washcloth isn't "a thing" yet; makes sense to me!

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1 hour ago, GEP said:

I've started thinking about how to handle my own holiday open studio. It is normally on the second weekend of December, which is pretty late in the season. If all the fall shows get cancelled, I could move it to November, and conceivably have it outdoors. I would make it a one day event (instead of two), and set up tables in my back yard and space them far apart so customers can distance themselves. Masks would be required. It would be credit card only, and chip cards only. Customers would have to dip their own card. Apple Pay would also work. I'm torn about checks. I have good customers who always pay by check. I suppose a check isn't as filthy as cash, and hasn't been circulating in the environment for years. Customers could bag their own purchases, or simple carry them away unwrapped. A wrapping/bagging station would be set up for them, again allowing for social distancing. 

This would be followed by putting the remaining pots online for another "free home delivery" sale for those who did not want to attend the event. 

I think the outdoor sale is best (indoor air is no good)-checks are cleaner than bills-all can be handled with use of hand sanitizer after touching. Not so sure on them bagging pots

(some customers could not wrap a thing) How about you wrap then sanitize hands -write name on bags left on table.I think you dippin g cards and claening yourself is better than them all touching the pad.

I would change your dates and do it before the wether sets in-outside is the best now-sales will be the same in early November  as people get the new norms.

My Christmas sale is outdoors and I'm on the fence about it-when this all broke I thought well its usually just a few customers in front of racks spread over 14 days. It was perfect for social distancing now I'm not feeling that great about it.I think it depen s on how the fall goes. My usual salesperson is over 65 so I would need someone else as well.

I have sold in this shoppping center outdoors (under a huge overhang) two weeks before xmas since 1979

one postitive the tourists are all gone then.

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A family member who works for the federal government here said they widely use Microban 24. It's an anti bacterial spray that is effective for 24 hours. Is approved by the EPA as an acceptable product to use for the Coronavirus. I just tried the aerosol on paper / ink. I purposely used a lot of it and soaked the paper, writing ever so slightly blurred on one tiny part but other than that it's fine. It did take a long time to dry though. I really like that its effectiveness lasts through repeated touching.

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2 hours ago, Min said:

A family member who works for the federal government here said they widely use Microban 24. It's an anti bacterial spray that is effective for 24 hours. Is approved by the EPA as an acceptable product to use for the Coronavirus. I just tried the aerosol on paper / ink. I purposely used a lot of it and soaked the paper, writing ever so slightly blurred on one tiny part but other than that it's fine. It did take a long time to dry though. I really like that its effectiveness lasts through repeated touching.

I have seen that here.  Not consistently but I have seen it on the shelves.  I will get some next time it is in stock.

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What I am seeing is that customers will not skip Christmas buying.   I wrapped up 6 pieces for Christmas yesterday.  Customers are focused on occasion buying at my store.      Birthdays, weddings .... less self purchase.   Going to start collecting numbers on this.     I'm planning on 4th quarter.       Fall events are getting cancelled.   I have my one fall event, which I advise.   They won't call it off but even if they have it, I'm not going.

It seems the under 50 market is just going ahead with the idea of "lets get it and then we have immunity".   That person I mentioned walking around that event, knowing they had symptoms, outright said that.    The over 70 market is going to wait for a vaccine.     I think you will see some variance in 50 to 60 ... even up to 65.     At 65, many will shelter in place.

Get your product situated for November/December gift sales

 

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Just billing for the second quarter wholesale  accounts and the numbers are not that far off normal-there has been a huge upspike about two weeks ago when the tourist tap turned on. Its great for sales but I'm thinking its bad for spread and our small community. I would rather take less $$ and have less spread myself. 

I personally have less hope for some miracle vaccine in the near future-I'm planning on the long hual for the show to be done .I'm not doing any this year and next year is strill very much a maybe.

People still want potterty and they will find a way to get it -you just have to provide that option. For me its 4 large natural food markets and recently two of my galleries oped back up. Pottery is their #1 seller at the two shops.

I just got a large wholesale order today from a restaurant gift shop I have sold at for 48 years now-they where closed for 3.5 months now open to 50% of capacity.

I may have to work more than every other week now in clay. Just when I was really starting to like the off weeks.

Since I will miss 5 shows  this year that will be a large chuck of $ and time and work not realized.

I'm very much ok with that right now.

My 1st 4th of July that I will not be selling pots since 1973-I may do a bisque that day but plan on a Tuna BBQ at home with my partner .Last time I had this holiday off I was kid .

 

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I've been hesitating on posting some of my ideas because the response taken to Covid here in Canada has been very different, and I'm not sure if some of the things that will be working for me will be helpful to the Americans here yet. My province shut down for 2 1/2  months and our numbers were still declining all through stage one of reopening and are holding steady 2 weeks into stage two. It makes for a much different business environment, I think. But here's what things might look like if matters improve.

Fall and Christmas shows aren't cancelled here, although that may change if we experience a second wave at the wrong time. Many are expressing a distaste for crowds. Some informal surveys done by a few colleagues among their mailing lists and social media followers indicate while some are planning on coming to in person shows if they're available, the majority are planning on shopping online for the Christmas season.

I did my first weekend at my usual summer farmer's market last weekend. This market had the go ahead to run with food, alcohol and plant vendors only, as groceries are an essential service. Stage one reopening began one month before the market did, and stage 2 reopening began 2 weeks before, which means us non-essential vendors could join in, with special precautions. and caveats. If the number of infections starts going up and we have to increase the restrictions again,  the non-essential vendors will be excluded by the province, so there's that.  The new to me health precautions include: 

  • Redesigning my booth so that either it is only front-shoppable, or having only one family cohort in the booth at a time to promote physical distancing
  • Providing either a hand wash station or hand sanitizer for both myself and my customers
  • Discouraging shoppers from handling wares if possible ( I have been asking customers to hand sanitize before picking things up, and it's been well received)
  • All tablecloths must be covered in plastic in order to be sanitized regularly with a 1:50 bleach solution or other disinfectant from an approved list
  • All pin pads and other touch points should be covered in plastic and sanitized regularly as above
  • Vendors are encouraged to wear masks, and wash hands regularly 
  • There are rules about people from different family groups in one booth being required to wear masks around each other (didn't pay a lot of attention because I'm by myself)
  • I have to submit a questionnaire every week saying that I don't have any symptoms,  I or my family haven't been out of the country in  the last 14 days, neither I or my family have been tested or come back positive for Covid 19, etc.
  • Plexiglass shields are recommended, but not required
  • There's even more for food vendors.

 

The market itself has increased the already generous spaces between booths to encourage more distance between people, they're limiting the number of people in the market at a time, they've provided a few extra hand wash stations and all foot traffic is one way. Mask wearing is tapering off after a month on stage 2, but I'd eyeball adherence at about 1/3 to 1/2. 

How did I do sales wise?

It was a generous day and better than average, but not a record breaker. People bought the small to medium items mostly, and held pretty strongly to Mark's previous observations about buying during recessions. People were glad to be out and about, and there were surprisingly few tire kickers. People were definitely conscious of supporting their local producers, and glad to see us since all the spring shows had been cancelled.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

 

It was a generous day and better than average, but not a record breaker.

 

That's good to see.   I'm thinking this will be a decent year in my free standing store front, but won't hit last years record sales.   For people that have no shows ... got to get your product out there for Nov/Dec.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/6/2020 at 9:37 PM, Juliagoolia said:

In my province they've said no conventions until there is a vaccine, community immunity, or effective treatment protocols. Farmer's markets are happening (outside), and there are some outdoor christmas markets that might happen, but the major indoor ones likely won't this year.

Correction! Our local arts centre sale will happen indoors (currently) but they've got a great system that doesn't require most vendors to be present at each day (they have someone in each room, and someone managing cash at the exit).  So they expect to be able to operate like any standard retail location. Which is awesome. Because this is actually where I tend to buy all of my christmas gifts.

Edit to add: I live in a province of 5 million with about 20 new cases a day that is in phase 3 of reopening.

Edited by Juliagoolia
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I usually participate in 3 or 4 local (ish) shows during the holiday season.  And I try to find a new one out of the area, when I can.  This year everything is cancelled (as is for most) .   I am part of an organizing group that hosts a very successful holiday show locally.  We have not publicly cancelled our market, but as a group, we have decided to not host our event this year.  When we started reading through the rules and regulations and restrictions, and considering the liability for the event organizers, we knew it would be more risk than we were willing to take.   With that in mind, and with the comments about virtual markets (not very successful)  running through my brain, I am thinking of alternative ways to sell pots.  I have a few things in a local gift shop.  I brainstormed with the owner this week, and I think I will load her up with my work, and since local markets have been canceled, she is going to seek out some local artisans for her shop rather than purchase manufactured gift items from other places.  Depending on the virus case load come November/December, I may do a studio sale at my house (actually in our workshop).  But if numbers are way up, no, I will not.  Are there any other great thoughts running around out there? 

Roberta

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  • 1 month later...

Shows in Mississippi that are going forward:

The Market Shows Sept 18-20  https://www.midsouthmediagroup.com/holiday-market-of-jackson-ms

Canton MS Flea Market October 8   http://www.cantonmsfleamarket.com/ 

Mistletoe Market Jackson MS Junior League Nov 4-7  https://www.mistletoemarketplace.com/

Hand Works Jackson, MS  Nov 20-21   https://www.handworksmarket.com/

Another event, Mississippi is having the annual state fair.  I was told that this is the main reason  for all of the other shows going ahead.

https://www.mdac.ms.gov/bureaus-departments/state-fairgrounds/fair/

The only one of these shows I do is Canton.  They voted last Tuesday to cancel it and had another meeting today and voted to have it.   I'm not sure about my participation yet. (My recommendation to board was a polite "no".

I know we aren't suppose to mention politics here, but it's widely known Mississippi is 100% Republican from the Governor on down.    I'm not sure how these things are decided, but isn't it mostly by the Governor?  (I never watch news or vote)   Please no political assessments here, but I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it.  Please correct me if it's different.  Like I said I'm personally apolitical but I'm sort of shocked by all of these events going forward.    But the Canton show was voted on by the City Aldermen in Canton, MS, which I doubt is Republican influenced.    So I guess it's a city decision, that can be over ruled by a governor.

 

 

Edited by DirtRoads
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Colorado is rather purple. So I really don't know if that has anything to do with it.    And our numbers, while alarming to some of us, are lower than many states.  Most of the counties have public health directors who work with the State to set up the guidelines for gatherings.  Our market organizing group could have pushed forward with having the market this year, but felt the liability was too great for us personally.  And I know in Denver (they have the highest number of cases in the state) there are  guidelines for people to apply to have an event. (as in the rest of the state)   Is anyone monitoring to see that guidelines are being followed??  I do not know.  I would think not since most agencies are pulled in so many directions.  My daughter attended an outdoor event in Denver with a timed ticketed entry.  She said it felt very safe, the vendors had numerous protocols in place.  But...there were not a lot of people in attendance.   If the goal is to promote a good sales event for vendors, can that be achieved?   Can the organizers provide a safe shopping experience for shoppers?  Are the organizers willing to face litigation if there are repercussions?  I feel that many people are ready to have a more normal experience in their lives, pushing forward with some of the shows and events just seems normal.   But here in Colorado, our winter events are indoors.  And to me, that seems a much higher risk.  One that I am personally not willing to take as either a vendor or organizer.   Even though Colorado has a mask mandate in place, our local law enforcement put an article in the paper saying they would not enforce it.  Very few people wear masks here.  I have been told in a number of small shops that I don't have to wear a mask.  I just say "oh, I am fine!" and keep it on.  With that thinking here, I do not want to gather in a group.   I am with you @DirtRoads.  I think it is foolhardy to go ahead with indoor events with large numbers of people.  And if there are not large numbers of people, then it's a waste of everyone's time and effort!!!   

Maybe it's the color of your State @DirtRoadsor maybe it's just people's personal philosophy.  My daughter who teaches in a Denver school district says, "mom, you do you!" and that is truly where I am at with it.  I do me.  

Roberta

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I think as Roberta said its a state to state deal. Also to some degree its the event upper managment driving the economics over caution. I had a show in Califonia cancel in March before the funds where due one in Washington state wait and decieded the risk was to high  a few months before show and one in Nevada who was full steam ahead until two weeks ago and I though they would do it but the governor said no .These where all outside shows as well.

I was not going to do any of them anyway as its a personal risk vs reward for all of us.There is nothing at all different right now with covid that has changed since March.

I have afriend who is doing the Breckenridge Col. show this coming Labor Day . They said he can cancel the day of show and get a refund. the show is downsized a bunch and masks required.

Not my deal but he is going to try it.He expects sales to be 1/2 as usual. He spends a week fishing in Co. anyway.

Edited by Mark C.
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Didn't mention it but 3 of the shows are indoors, in the Mississippi Trade Mart Building.  That building is old and a new one in place sometimes next year.  Ventilation is not great in that building.   The Canton Flea Market and Fair are both outdoors.  It's truly appalling those indoor shows are going ahead.    My area at the Canton Flea market is going to skip spaces between booths.  I usually have 6 booths on a corner and will cut back to 4.   If I do it, I'll form a square and customers  will only be able to shop on the outside of the square.   I have a service road on front, a house in the back that has a 20 foot corridor.  One side will face a sidewalk and the other side an empty lot.   I am going to strictly enforce no one in booth, with shoppers on outside.   I'll block the small entrance of the square with a small table.   Probably only 3 total workers there.

I know the money was the key motivation for Canton.  The booths cost $140 for 10x10 and the city gets    $80, with my church getting $60.  Plus the merchants in town were begging for the show because of the influx they get of shoppers.   Plus city gets sales tax and increased gas, food, etc taxes.

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In my area (DC Metro) every county or city with its own local government gets to make its own decisions. Most events are still shut down, at least throuh the end of the year. But one jurisdiction is apparently allowing an outdoor show to take place next weekend. The promoter says that social distancing measures will be in place, but I don’t understand how. It’s a downtown street fair and there’s no way to make an entrance gate. Plus they say the artists will be spaced out, so did they uninvite half the artists? I normally do a show in the same neighborhood in October, but it was cancelled months ago (good example of the difference between for-profit and non-profit shows). The October show is normally packed with people, no way to meter them on a public street. 

My sense is that the for-profit promoter is itching to resume their shows, and the brick-and-mortar businesses are pressuring the local government to open up. 

I was thinking I would go down there to see how it worked, but I don’t want to take public transit, and this is a neighborhood where parking is very difficult, so I’ll pass. 

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We were locked down as a country for the better part of two months, so our Covid numbers dropped quite a bit all through the summer. My socially distanced farmer's market has been one of the best years I've ever had there! The "support local" energy is even stronger than it usually is, and people seem to be nesting, since they can't travel, or have been working from home. Which means buying pots, apparently.

Numbers are on the rise again in my province however. Technically we can have indoor trade shows with no attendance caps at the moment, .as long as there's room for social distancing. That last caveat has cancelled a number of larger shows operated by Signatures (but not all). There's too many unknowns to be able to properly make adequate contingency plans if numbers spike two months from now, so the organization decided to just call it for everyone's safety and comfort. Full refunds have been given promptly for any shows they've cancelled, and kudos to them for it! Signatures has been hinting at some sort of "alternate experience" on social media and in newsletters, but they haven't said what they're doing with the remaining few shows. S

OOAK Toronto, the largest show in Canada (2 weeks long normally) has cancelled their in-person show, and has decided to offer 2 months of some pretty serious online and conventional media promotion and a fairly sophisticated online shopping setup for $650 if you've never worked with them and $450 if you have. They are encouraging everyone to set up a Shopify website so they can link them all together somehow, and they've negotiated the free 3 month trial with them for all Canadians to facilitate that. (If any Canadian lurkers wanted to set up a Shopify but haven't yet, here's another chance at that deal they were offering earlier this year.) That one's interesting, because OOAK isn't one I can pull off in the physical world because it's too long and too far to haul a trailer full of pots alone at a time of year not known for good road conditions. If they're promoting my shop for 2 months though, it might be good value. There's something to be said for paying people who know what they're doing....

Spruce Meadows has announced they won't be doing in-person, but is taking their show online. I don't do Spruce Meadows at the best of times despite its size and the fact that it's located in a very upscale area as the overhead is too high. Millarville, which is 10 minutes up the road from it and runs the week before for half the price, has in turn announced that they will be going ahead in person. They're using the signup time model, and the show will be held over 2 weekends as opposed to the usual one to accommodate everyone who wants to come. Because of all the other cancellations, the vendors who want to should be able to attend. They will however, only be approving half the regular number of vendors to allow for physical distancing. 

 

While I'm waiting to hear from Signatures about 2 of the 3 Christmas shows I had signed up for, I'll be probably redoing my website on Shopify, and building an online catalog. I figure if the in person shows do wind up going ahead, I can offer it as a "pre shop for your convenience" service. If the in-person shows don't go ahead, I will likely do what Mea did, and run a sale for the Edmonton and Red Deer folks where I take a road trip and drop off the purchases in that area on a given day. If I was going to travel there anyways, at least this way I'll only have 2 days worth of travel expenses instead of 5, and no booth fees. I'll keep the website stocked with my best sellers this year (mugs and berry bowls), and just keep to the smaller items for shipping.

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Update:  The mayor of Canton, MS shut down the Canton Flea Market October 8.  He vetoed the decision made by city aldermen.   However, they say they can reverse the decision next Tuesday.  I decided I wasn't going before this.  So not planning to go even if they reverse.   They said No.  Then Yes.  No again.  And now it's up for decision again next Tuesday .............

 

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I will not do any events until there is a safe vaccine that the masses have taken.  My family has a history of vagal reactions to vaccines and I was useless for about 24 hours after my flu shot.  I'm not looking forward to the COVID shot.

With schools and collages opening back up the numbers are going back up fast.  There are a lot of stores with in 80 miles of me that are having staff test positive and are shutting back down.  We moved to mostly selling on line, 2 local stores, by appointment for some people, and we have done a few popup parking lot sales.

I had to file 2 credit card disputes to get back my booth fees.  I will only pay booth fess by credit card for this reason.  The more charge backs a company gets the harder it is for the company to negotiate terms with the credit card companies.

I'm one of the few stores that have not opened back up to the public yet and do not plan to any time soon.

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