How have the craft shows been for you?

Let's Discuss!We just completed back to back shows at Paradise City Art Festival & Morristown Crafts Marketplace.  Both of these shows are upscale Art & Craft Shows with the booth fees in excess of $700. I was speaking with many of the artisans at these shows to see how they felt about sales & attendance. I did not get answers to any of my questions, instead it  just raised a few more.  From my experience at these shows, they have been trending down slightly for the shows that I have attended for several straight years.
Have you seen the same trend?

What is the definition of a  bad show for you?
If you have a bad show, and everyone’s definition of a bad show will differ, but mine is a reduction in sales from the previous show by more than 15%. That is what I consider to be a bad show.  I am not complaining, because some of the venders did not even make their booth fee and travel expenses back – now that is a really bad show!
No matter what the reason,  if you have a “bad” show then you have to really take a global look at some of the reasons and not simply say “the other venders did not do well so I am okay.”  This is like he old adage “misery loves company” I never want to have that attitude!  Honestly, I don’t care how the other venders did, I want to do better!  I take a look back at the show and try to evaluate what I  think went wrong. Do you do the same?

Did the promoters not get the crowds there? 
For example, the other night at our show there were only 790 people that came through the door! That simply is not enough people!
Were your prices too high?
I have seen some pen makers charge $200 for a Baron made with a very nice burl – but $200?  I sell them for around $100  depending on the material.  That is what my market will bear – is your market the same?

Did you have something different that no one else has?

Did you have some different items that would attract a crowd?
One such item that I sell a LOT of is the old style pepper grinders (PSI204) made with the color blocks – I sold 10 of them last weekend for $65 a piece!  Everyone that went by my booth loved them.

Are you seeing a trend for your sales going up or down?

Traffic is lower, but are they buying?

What do you think are the reasons? Economic, saturated market, too much competition?

I would love to hear some feedback from other turners who attend shows. What’s it been like in your area?

Use the comments section below to chime in. I’d love to discuss it with you so we can help each other do better!

8 thoughts on “How have the craft shows been for you?

  1. I have found they have been trending down since about 2008. I have a few shows that I love to do and one of them has on occasion been down enough to make me think of pulling out of it, but last time it was actually up so I will be there next month again. My thing is I prefer the Saturday only shows. Seems that most Sunday attendees are tire kickers. The buyers are out on Saturday. I dropped a profitable show because they require you attend both days and Sundays were a waste of time.

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