I have officially been doing craft shows for a year.
I also have an official count of how many I have done: 11.
Here is my very first booth:
I borrowed the table from the venue, and all of my inventory could fit in a suitcase, and I only offered frames and hoops (and one sad mug).
Here’s the last booth as of the writing of this post:
Only one table is borrowed (I don’t even think the people I borrowed it from even know I have it anymore…does that make it mine?) and if I have a full booth like this, with my tent, then I can’t fit everything in my car. This was all shoved into a big ol’ truck. I now have frames, hoops, prints, mugs, bunting, and bags.
A few of those shows I have walked away, and felt very proud and pumped to go home and make more art.
A couple of those shows, I went home and didn’t want to do any ever again.
Only one time did I not make back my booth fee. That was rough. I spent about twenty minutes feeling very sorry for myself, and like I just should go home and have a large bonfire and burn it all. But by the end of the day, I realized that I had learned something valuable. The people there aren’t my people.
I spent this year trying to find my people, meaning those who are interested in my buying my art. During the show, it is very hard to have so many people walk by your booth and clearly have no interest. It’s less difficult when the people come into the booth and talk about how great everything is, and still choose not to buy anything. At least I know people appreciate what I’m doing!
It’s amusing to me when my innocent art upsets people so much they have the need to comment loudly about how expensive it is. Or how horrifying it is that I would “ruin” books. My quick defense is that my mom is a librarian and she is probably my biggest supporter (second only to Husband).
After each difficult show, I go home and sleep forever and decide whether or not I should apply again. I also re-evaluate my pricing and my items according to how people reacted to everything. Since most of my items are one of kind, I end up listing some on my online shop.
Instead of throwing in the towel completely after my terrible show, I decided to reprice everything and change how I do my display. The next show was one of my better shows! I don’t know if it was more that this was the right show for me, or the pricing, but I did notice that people shopped differently.
This Christmas, I have four weekends in a row full of shows. FOUR WEEKENDS. I don’t know if that makes me crazy or awesome, but I’m looking forward to it.