Fairs and More
I am delighted so many people enjoyed yesterday’s post – this is a continuation. I was awoken with the furnace out back being broken again and haven’t stopped all day … so this will be quick and more tomorrow. One of the stops today was picking up the merchandise that didn’t sell at the local craft fair over the weekend. Tonight I am going to be part of a tele-conference (as a participant, not presenter) and then I get to go to bed! By the way, the little lost bubble is getting some friends here.
Resolving, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
Fairs are another way of marketing merchandise that is not selling items wholesale. Susan and I have been at numerous fairs and we have put in a lot more energy – in general – than what we have gotten out of the fairs. I think it was good experience for us … but it didn’t work well. There are many kinds of fairs … and we have gone to low-end craft fairs because they haven’t been very expensive.
In general we have paid $0 to $25 for fairs … so it doesn’t take too many sales to recoup the price. But remember we also need to factor in the cost of materials … and wouldn’t it be nice to factor in something for our time. There are high end fairs that cost lots and lots of money … and some in the mid-range too. We may try some of them at some point.
But there is also a basic problem for us with the fairs. We are not young chickens any more and I have a lot of health issues and Susan has her share. For me, to go and spend 2 days at a fair (after carrying lots of merchandise to the fair, packing and unpacking the car) is exhausting … it is not healthy for me. Probably at some other times of my life it would have been fun.
Why we choose to do this fair this last weekend is that you drop off the items and they sell and watch the merchandise. This takes off one big piece of pressure around the fair. Last year we actually did fairly well for us … and they were delighted we agreed to do it again. They do keep 35% of anything that is sold.
We had to tag every item and write up a list with the number, name and price of every item. I am sure you can imagine that took hours for a couple of hundred items. This year they are not sure we sold anything.
Two things … there was extremely cold, windy weather with a prediction of an ice storm and the local paper forgot to run the press release about the fair. So the turn out this year was terrible and several people who did great last year sold nothing. They needed to clarify the records to know if we sold anything … they will let us know … but it wasn’t much if any.
So perhaps you begin to see why I am not loving fairs. I will continue this topic …. very soon, hopefully tomorrow. And I will respond to your comments and read your blogs!!
~ Diane Clancy
Technorati Tags: marketing, energy, health, fair
Sorry to hear your fair didn’t go well! I know the issues you face with price of the stall, transport and goods needing to match the gain. It is hard when you factor in the whole cost not just the stall fee. I have a lot of people asking why I don’t put my art in fairs and I tell them that the outlay would be several hundred first. Anywhere from $200 to $500 for my canvases and paint depending on the size and quanitity. I could make that back on a good day and something for my time but you need to have the money to part with first and NOT be reliant on selling straight away. That is the joy of all freelance and self employement though isn’t it? I guess if we really needed to garuntee that income then it’s not the safest road to follow. Safe dosn’t always equal happy though so I am glad my art income isn’t our only one!
I enjoy your posts and comments. I will be back soon!
Fairs do take a LOT of effort and energy, which is fine if you make good sales. But many times the turnout is not what is expected or the market isn’t right or a jillion other things. I do see what you are saying, but it does get you before the public and every little contact has the potential to add to your recognition and possible sales later.
Glad to see the little bubble among friends! I admire you for doing these fairs as the commercial world seems to be quite hard, especially if you have health issues. Sorry about the bad weather. We get that very often in England and it spoils all manner of things, even in the summer!
My daughter and I did a couple of fairs only and in just that short experience, I can really relate to yours. Bad weather, lacking press, lots and lots of work to unload and load, and net income less than 0. Add on top of that if you have health problems, well I can see that it is a very big deal. Too bad this particular arrangement — you drop off, they sell — didn’t work out this time.
Hang in there, Diane. I know you are doing everything you can to make your art work for you.
I completely understand about fairs. There was one I did while I still lived in Chicago, for about 12 years or so. The only outdoor fair I would do, the Bucktown Arts Fest. It was worth the extreme stress to my body because I would make a lot of sales and meet new clients. Since moving to the West Coast, I am not attracted to doing fairs at all. I am Done.
The great advantages of doing a fair include getting to meet lots of people and talk about one’s work. This is wonderful, and I learned so much from years of doing it.
The disadvantages include everything you pointed out, hardship on the body and health, inclement weather, low sales. Some fairs are just not worth it.
One thing I am learning is that I don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that comes along. some “opportunities” are tests, and I realize I passed that one already!
By the way, I love the image. The movement in these pieces you’ve been doing is wonderful, with the light and color. I always picture a buoyant spirit, happy and bouncy!
Hi Lisa, Thank you for your comment – yes, it is quite challenging when you factor in everything. I have never done a high end fair because I am not willing to take the risk – it doesn’t seem to me to be a good one – especially since I am selling mainly prints right now.
Hi Bobbie, that is how I work to look at it … that it is contact over time that will increase my sales … because they say people are buying the artist besides the artwork. thank you for your comment!
Hi Beverly, I am glad you like the bubble with their friends! yes, weather can effect things greatly! I still haven’t figured out how to do all this the best way for myself!!
Hi Debi, Thank you so so much for your encouragement!!!
hi Kris, I appreciate what you are saying!! I like that … I can see the advantages of the fairs too … and they seemed to be more worth it the first couple of years … good way to think about it. I an so glad you like my work!
~ Diane Clancy
Love, love, love this piece – so airy and beautiful.
I have to say I hate fairs too, but they do seem to be necessary sometimes, they do bring exposure somehow – any marketing is good, no?
Hi Rima, It is so so good to see you!! I am delighted you like this piece! I do feel I have learned a lot from the fairs and yes, marketing is good! ~ Diane