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Stephen

Christmas Shows?

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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 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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