Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Is a Show for You?
Shows are as varied as artists. There are wholesale shows, high end shows, arts and crafts shows, bead shows, glass art shows - the proliferation of shows means you have to do your homework.
You're about to spend some serious time and effort to sell your goods on the road. You'll spend time preparing, creating product, designing a display, promoting your work, packing, traveling, unpacking, selling and promoting. You want to choose a venue worthy of all that work. So, research and start by reading up on all the information the promoters offer. Some questions you want answered is:
1. What is the expected attendance of the show? The more people who walk through a show, the more potential customers you'll have. Be aware, high foot traffic can mean a higher booth fee.
2. Where is the show hosted? Is it in an out of the way place? Is it in the center of town?
3. Does your work fit? If you're doing an arts and crafts show, if you have jewelry and the show is mostly home decor, you may not sell much. Or your work might not be in the price range of the most of the items for sale.
4. Talk to other artists who have worked the show you're researching. Be wary of comments made online about a show - read them but I find that most artists aren't willing to be too open simply because it's their business and they don't have to share openly. Besides, who wants to say they didn't do well?
5. If researching online, make sure the advice you follow applies to the show you're considering. For example, advice for a juried show may not apply to a small arts and crafts show for the local charity. Taking twice your inventory isn't necessary at a local show.
6. Go to the show before you buy a table. I can't stress this one enough - see what it offers you. Envision yourself at the show. Who are the customers? What kind of questions are they asking the artist? Are there other vendors like you? Is it busy? Do customers seem to be buying or are they looking? Are there imported products at the show?
I've completely ruled out some shows after researching them and deciding they were possible venues for me. Then, I went to them and realized they were not what they seemed.
Do you do research? If yes, then how has it gone for you? If no, then I'd ask the same question, how has it gone for you?