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Rebekah Krieger

My First Show!

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Congrats on the show, sounds like you took some valuable information home.. Now you have a idea of that fair crowd and can cater to the desires of that area.. As you go to more shows, you will learn what their desires are, and with each show your profit margin will rise and your client base will grow..

 

Kind of funny,  I sold a oil painting at a benefit auction.. It was just color put on the canvas with a huge knife, it had absolutely no content what so ever.. It was going to be a background .. It sold for $375 - I about dropped dead... Then I remembered a old Bob Ross saying, "people will buy color over content"... So True !!!

 

Some folks may not understand or appreciate sculptural work at a fair setting but don't let that stop you from creating from with in... I know a lot of people who make things to sell but in the background they are making things they truly enjoy from the profits of sales...

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HOORAY!   call it profit because you came home with a head full of knowledge.

 

some you might not really appreciate today but might someday .    bet you next time your setup time will be less and your enjoyment of the crowd more.  good for you to recognize early you cannot satisfy everyone.

 

(don't people come in all shapes, sizes, colors and moods?) :wacko:

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Congrats on the show! Glad you made some money and learned a lot. You actually helped me by mentioning the portable cellphone charger. My brain went DING! Why did I not think of that I always sit there worrying if it will make it to the last 15 minutes of the show when I get a flurry of sales. I have one in my Amazon shopping cart for when next I place an order so thank you.

 

My brief experience with pottery shows ( many years fine art show new to pottery) spoon rests spoon rests spoon rests. I have 3 sizes the standard size for large cooking spoons, a small size big enough for serving spoons and a mini dish just big enough for teaspoons.

 

I actually make a "normal" 8 oz size mug that I offer a mini dish with. The little dish is just big enough to set your spoon in when you are done stirring your coffee or tea. Everybody uses mugs now so there are no saucers to keep the drips off the table. These are popular people even just buy the mini dishes I have in a basket to add to their own mug at home. The term handful comes to mind.

 

I also make bracelets and pendants. I sell my "country bracelets" by the dozens at $10 a piece. I roll scrap clay out a bit thinner that is left over from cutting out larger items add some texture, stack em high in bisque then use that set of 4 oz sample jars of coyote glaze I got to have fun. I dip them in whatever colors intrigue me that day. I am developing a few favorites though so eventually I can see myself focusing on just a few but until then it's a fun way to test out all the different colors and see what colors sell best. In glaze firing I tuck them around the bigger pieces so every inch of my kiln is used. If I have a lot I use bead racks. I use hemp or leather for the wrist band and use a bead to close it. I have been working on making my own beads to use as the closure and will eventually switch over the those instead of commercial beads. It takes no time to make these, very little material and are popular with everyone from teenagers to women wanting something to wear with their causal outfits. The pendants I string glass beads or use silk for the cord. These are more popular at galleries than at festivals.

 

I learn something new at every show I do and I read through your first show journey. You got a lot of great advice one I use a lot is the grouping of complimentary items. I have found people are drawn to a certain color and having it all grouped and displayed together gives their eye a place to go to. One thing I have found really useful are plate stands they get the plate up so people can see them from a distance. I place a dinner plate and salad plate together in the stand then set a cereal bowl, mug or tumbler in front of it. Extras like spoon rests and large bowls and platters go around the place setting set up.

 

For vases I take fresh flowers. People are attracted to flowers and when they ask I let them know if they buy the vase they also get the flowers. They LOVE this. Just warn them the flowers are real! Had one woman almost douse herself by tipping it over to look at the bottom. Let them know the flowers are real and are in water or keep towels on hand lol.

 

You already mentioned an apron with pockets for your sales stuff. I wear a vest or cargo style pants with lots of pockets. Get yourself a zippered pouch to hold your money AND KEEP IT ON YOUR BODY AT ALL TIMES. Especially during set up and take down. I usually carry $200 in change mostly 1s and 5s but as I metioned I sell mostly small items and everyone seems to carry 20s these days. The PayPal swiper on my phone takes care of credit card sales. For myself at the moment credi cards are about 25% of my sales. If you find yourself taking lots of credit cards make sure you have allowed for the additional fees coming out of your sales price when you price your items.

 

That's it! Good luck! When is your next show?

 

Terry

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That's great! You might want to think about taking some inexpensive wrapping paper to wrap sales in if they say it is for a gift. Everything I sell online I gift wrap and people really like opening the package even if it is something they bought for themselves. Wrapping their item makes it extra special and they remember the extra touches.

 

I'm doing 4 more weekends before the end of the year including Thanksgiving weekend and the first weekend in December. I focus my items a bit for these shows making sure I take holiday themed items as well as my regular stuff. This past weekend the lady with me had made ghosts, jack o lanterns and little pinch pot pumpkins and sold a whole bunch. It's something to think about, making a FEW holiday themed items that people might want to add to their decorations or even give as gifts. I wouldn't do too many unless you have somewhere to store or sell them at between seasons.

 

Oh and you mentioned liking to do Sculpture but thinking it might detract from your functional items. I like to do Pug sculptures and try to fit one or 2 in amidst the functional stuff. One way I found that seems to make sculptural items more acceptable is to make them also have a function, it seems to make people's brains say oh that's a neat way to make a useful item. So I make sculputres that have an opening to be used as a vase or a part that lifts off to be used as a box. If they are small things add a hole and have one or two shown as a hanging item. People like to hang stuff from chandeliers, windows, frames etc. Doing this means I can do sculptures and have them not stick out as odd among my functional items. Just an idea to maybe get you thinking outside the box when you are creating a new form.

 

Good luck and keep at it!

 

Terry

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Rebekah, thanks so much for letting us all walk with you through this process.  I have only been on the craft show path for about 3 years and I have to say I learn something each and every time.   And you will too.  I loved the mug "tree" in your first picture.   You have some lovely work!   You are definitely going to continue to find your market.  I guess that is probably the most important thing I have learned....find the right venue.   And bring the right things to that venue.    I had a booth at a wine festival 2 weeks ago.   I had no idea that people would be flocking in all day looking for wine cups.  So naturally I didn't have any.  However, I met some really nice people and one guy even went home and brought back a "wine cup" that he had purchased from a potter a couple of years ago.   He explained why it was a great cup, the shape, size, color, etc.  So, you always learn something.  And seriously, what is with mugs???   people want a certain size, shape, color, handle.....Yeah, Mea is right....make the size mug you want to make and there you are!  Great job, Girl!  We are all proud of you!

 

Roberta

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Man, I have no future in being a potter. I love making pots, but there is no way I could ever do what you just did. I am great around people and I make friends with everyone, but I just can't take people haggling and saying silly things that make no sense.

 

I am very proud of all you people who can put up with all this. I might just sell a few pots here and there one day online, but I can never see myself at these craft fairs.

 

Thanks for your awesome post Rebekah, hope your next show is even better.

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My first few times doing some selling the same woman came up to me three times and told me how she found my work horrible. Never worked out why the first time wasn't enough for her  :lol: I guess she wanted to make sure I knew her opinion.

 

Some people are strange but there is always somebody in the world who enjoys what you enjoy so look out for them.

I had a woman come up to me at a sale once. She said;"Dust collectors "' under her breath. took me a while to figure out what she had said.

Some people are just mean spirited or mentally ill. Don't let it get to you.I don't know why you would bother saying stuff like that.

 

TJR.

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You may just need to relabel your smaller mugs as espresso cups.  I made some 8 oz mugs for a sale and they didn't sell well, the giant ones other people made did.  The few people who bought mine told me later it was the best mug they had ever own.  The leftover mugs ended up at my son's home, he's a chef and a coffee nut even roasts his own beans.  He ask me for another set so they could have a lot of friends over to talk and drink coffee from that particular style of cup.   With a little research you might find the perfect customer for your mugs.   Denice

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Since I was in sales for 10 years prior to this, I have learned a lot about handling rejection and public insults. When I first started in sales, I took it personally and cried a lot over it.  

For work with pottery, you have to consider the source of the information to determine if it's valuable enough to take to heart.  If I was going to get opinions on vessels, I would want those opinions from people who appreciate good ones and from other makers of vessels. I wouldn't ask a hairdresser.

 I also learned that sometimes people say no for many reasons.  I used to teach my sales representatives that they should consider getting "no" as part of the process to get the "yes".  If you start tracking your rejections and figure out how many rejections you need to get a "yes" you can make it more of a goal to get all the "no" answers quicker to get to the yes.  You could take that concept further by calculating how much your average "yes" sale is. Divide that by your rejections and yes's. Lets say you get about 20 rejections before you get a yes... the average yes sale is $30... (just for instance, not actually)  You u can then divide $30 by 21 (20 yes answers and 1 no) You get $1.47 for each attempt regardless of the yes or no. ;) 

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some nude figures

 

 

 

 

There is a potter in my state that does these.   And at shows they sell basically nothing, according to their family.  Someone in their family asked me to tell them (even gave me their telephone number .....) WHY nudes are not a good idea.   Like I am going to call someone up I don't know and say  "Uh excuse me you are in the heart of the conservative Bible belt".....  I've never seen this potter's work. 

 

 

 

Never lived in Wisconsin but we have had several close friends and family in that area.  Did that Ducks Unlimited show in Oshkosh a couple of years.   I would say that with the except of Madison, Wisconsin is about as conservative as the South.  

 

 

 

I have learned from experience it is not good to sell products that even approach moral boundaries.   I caught absolute hell once from having a cook book entitled "Any B ... Can Cook".     And I caught grief over a few T shirts back then.  (omg I hate refacing these mistakes)  School of hard knocks taught me to NOT go that direction.  For sure nudes will deter some shoppers from entering your booth.     But if you place artistic expression over commerce,  go for it :)

 

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Milwaukee is a pretty artsy city, along with madison. But the rest of it is a bit difficult for artistic expression. If I say I don't watch football (even the packers), & don't go to church (other than meditation) I will get a few crazy stares. Can you imagine the flack  I got drawing nudes when I was 9 years old? ;)  I was "told on" to teachers for drawing naked people (on several occasions) ... and I was, but I usually drew them naked first before designing fashions on them.   I wore my "i have a culinary boner" t shirt to the farmers market and had a few women glare at me. F them! ;) I have to answer to myself when I die regarding how fully I live my life. 

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>>>I make friends with everyone, but I just can't take people haggling and saying silly things that make no sense.<<<

 

 

I used to attend an event near Knoxville, TN where there were "lookers" known as tire kickers and hagglers.

So when they asked me "Will you take this amount for that?"  I started saying, I can't today but will tomorrow.

Then that night, I pack up and leave.  ;>)   I'd make enough on the 8 hour Saturday to skip the 1/2 day on Sunday.

 

Just try making what you think will sell, High end all the way to low end items.  Consider the low end to be the food and gas

items.  Have fun and work out trades with other vendors if possible. 

 

A friend of mine goes to lots of shows and has all her coffee cups on one shelf....  So she tells the people that all the

handles are slightly different and to try each one for the right "feel".  If they are serious, and do pick up several,

they usually buy one.

See you later.

Alabama

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I few days before my first show, I was at a crowded gallery opening for some well known potters (Warren Mckenzie, Mark Shapiro, Randy Johnston...). One of the people in the crowd was Steve Branfman, who I had taken a workshop from many years prior. I was chatting with him and mentioned that I was doing my first show. He gave me a piece of advice that saved me many times over. He said, "If you don't sell anything, don't take it personally, and if you sell a lot, don't take it personally.

 

Rebekah, I love your pots. Thanks for sharing your experience.

BTW, I loved the plaid cloth!  :)

 

Karen

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Guest JBaymore

Steven is a wise guy. (read that with a pause between "wise" and "guy".......... not as "wiseguy". ;)

 

best,

 

....................john

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I few days before my first show, I was at a crowded gallery opening for some well known potters (Warren Mckenzie, Mark Shapiro, Randy Johnston...). One of the people in the crowd was Steve Branfman, who I had taken a workshop from many years prior. I was chatting with him and mentioned that I was doing my first show. He gave me a piece of advice that saved me many times over. He said, "If you don't sell anything, don't take it personally, and if you sell a lot, don't take it personally.

 

Rebekah, I love your pots. Thanks for sharing your experience.

BTW, I loved the plaid cloth!  :)

 

Karen

That is the BEST advice, just keep on progressing with what YOU are doing. :)  :)

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I'm probably being dumb but how to you use your phone to do transactions? Do you have a credit card swiper attached to it or something? 

 

Edit: Just done some reading, I guess you use Square, or the paypal or amazon card readers?

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Hey,

 

Don't forget to give a report between your 1st pottery show and your 2nd pottery show..  Compare and contrast the two shows and if the

crowds are close to the same the results should be more realistic.

 

You might not have time to get ready for a Nov. Thanksgiving Pottery show but maybe a Christmas show for sure.

 

Is the used mini-anagama kiln still in the works? 

 

Good luck,

 

Alabama

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When I first started doing shows, a customer picked up a piece and asked "Can you do any better?"  In my insecurity and self-doubt, I misunderstood the question.  I took it literally and replied that I was quite proud of the piece and that someday I probably could do a better one, but that I thought it was pretty darned good.  The customer just stood there looking confused, but she forked over the asking price while agreeing that she thought it was very nice, too.  Experienced craftspeople next door praised me for my quick thinking and clever response, but it wasn't until they told me that she meant "Can you do better ON THE PRICE" that I realized what she'd meant  On the rare occasion since then when I've been asked if I could do better, I've deliberately misunderstood the question, telling them how it's made and the difficulties encountered and how pleased I am with it.  They're always too embarrassed to correct my "misunderstanding" and they always buy it!  

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