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Friday, November 21, 2014

November Art & Craft Fairs & A New Design

I'll start this post with some jewelry and on a positive note.  Later I'll balance this blog with some reality about 2 recent shows.

So the title of this post says 'a new design' and for those who read my blog you know very well that my dragonfly pendant has been buzzing around my studio for years.  The design is new because one of my lovely customers wanted dragonfly earrings to match the pendant, as a gift for her daughter. Motivation or inspiration comes in many forms and frequently it's a request from another human. These were a challenge and I fretted for days. Tiny wings that need to be gently hammered.  The first 2 went into the trash.  Then I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked, took a break from my work table and came back and conquered the design.

Loading my Honda CRV for a show is a challenge.  Heavy stuff on the bottom, cover to cushion and more on top.  And yes, I had to do this on my own.  Whinnnnne!

During November, I participated in 2 shows.  Neither were what I would call successful.  Al tho, I did make a profit at both shows.  The profits were minimal and quite frankly not worth repeating next year. However, this is how you learn about shows and which to repeat and which to avoid in the future.

On November 1st, I did a very well run and juried show.  I was assigned a great location with awesome lighting.  To make it even better, the stain glass artist and her husband next to me made these two days so much fun and very bearable.

November 1st show.  Almost set up.  More displays and jewelry will be installed the next day.  I need to add several inches of trim to my table covers to cover the new additions of bed risers.  

The show was run and organized by the Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild.  They have very strict guidelines.  I was honored to be juried in and then accepted into their shows.

Starting to set up at the Nov. 8th show.  My new folding shelves have arrived (right center).  This is their maiden voyage.

The November 1st show has been held for many years in a large recreational center and has a wonderful reputation and a large number of repeat customers.  There were many people, many compliments and many smiles, but not so many wallets opening.  I think the reason for low sales was the date it was held.  It started on the day following Halloween, so people still had that holiday in their heads and simply were not in the Christmas gift buying mode.

Set up at the November 8th show.  The folks behind me were trying to inch some space from me.  No I didn't allow it.

I made a small profit.  But not enough to warrant all of the time and efforts of getting the booth together, the driving, the setup, the days on my feet, the breakdown of the booth and the putting it away time.  Add that to the time to make and create and I didn't make minimum wage.  I didn't secure any future leads.  I did however learn a lot.  If I'm in a residential area I must consider that this type of shopper needs to be in the mood!  There were several wonderful customers that recognized my style and skill were a rare find and they took advantage and bought many items.  For this I am truly grateful, for the sales and for the validation.  When sales are stopped or slow I immediately think I'm doing something wrong.  In reality it comes back to what I have often written about.....It depends on what's going on in the mental and emotional bodies of the public.

Here's the left table.  One of my new folding book shelves on the left has my cover design from Step by Step Wire Magazine.  Then, my folding pendant display.  I recently changed the back felt from black to teal to bring the energy up a notch.

The second show was such a disappointment and again lessons were learned.  And, again, this 1 day show was saved by my having 2 very awesome booths near me.  We lifted each others spirits.  This second fair was sponsored by the Vienna Women's Club.  They have being doing this show for 40 or 50 years at the Vienna Community Center.  But, it would appear that their style is now outdated and the public is very aware and stayed away.

Here's the right table.  One of my mannequins flanks each table to draw attention from across the room.  There's the other new folding shelf unit and the folding earring display.  Yes, that's a teal colored Christmas tree.  I couldn't resist it!

The lesson.....Just because the show has been going on for 50 years doesn't make it logical or profitable.  I should have heeded the word bazaar.  That word means there are a lot of buy-sell vendors.  The traffic was slow.  I believe it's because the local customers have come to expect higher quality vendors and with experience have learned to stay clear of this event.

My next and final show is on Thanksgiving weekend.  Yes, it's 3 days!  This is the longest show I've done.  It is predicted to be awesome.  It is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild and all artists and artisans are juried members.  This show has a positive 40 year plus history and will occupy all 3 levels of the Vienna Community Center.  I have a few things to tweak in the next few days, but basically I'm ready.  I will blog about this show, but it might takes me a few days to rest and zone out afterwards.

Thank you for hanging out with me and reading along.

Have a joy filled and creative day!