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an observation on shows/ long

updated sun 23 dec 07


Chris Campbell on sat 22 dec 07

Rosemary posted -

> Is this optimism? Denial?

To be fair, the pros who do shows year
round really have their stuff together and do
make a profit more often than not.

They know their costs and read their clients very
well. They will not keep making a piece if it is not
bringing in a profit. If peach is a hot color, then they
will have peach glazes.
You want bowls & mugs, they have bowls & mugs.

Not much romance in the bottom line figures
unless they're in the black.

But remember, some other people have no clue
about their 'cost of sales' so any money in their
pocket at the end of the day is considered a profit.

> Failure to track sales?

Once again, if you do not know how much it
cost you to make an object how likely is it you
will know which sales are most profitable and
which lose you money with every sale?

The people I know who work this area well
know exactly what it costs in time and materials
to make every item. If something does not sell
it is dropped without a second glance.

> Desire to look successful?
> Or just not wanting to look negative?

Some have had a good day if they
make a couple hundred, others need to
make $1,500 per day in sales to cover their
expenses ... others lie or inflate for their
own weird and various reasons.

In the smaller craft fair environment ...
and I would suspect on 'etsy' as well ...
a high percentage of the artists do not know
whether they are making money or not ...
the only time they are sure is when the day
was an unmistakable failure.

> Or it based on something else?

I think some just do not know what else to do
to make money at their craft. They lack a basic
understanding of business principles. Some are
too shy to approach galleries and too short of cash
to invest in a web site or serious advertising.
So they just keep doing shows.

> Receiving commissions or orders not paid at the show?

I suspect this mostly happens at wholesale shows where
your sales figures cannot be determined until at least
three months later ... owners who take your card and run
usually follow up later with orders.

Are craft shows dying?

As an entertainment venue they are great for the promoters.
As a chance to see real artists, most shows have at least a few
booths for handmade work.
As a chance to find a great unknown artist, get to know them and
follow their careers ... there are fewer of this calibre every year but
there are still some good ones.
Unfortunately, they are VERY hard to get juried into.

I think doing local craft fairs is a fabulous way to start out and
somewhere in the archives and in Pottery Making Illustrated
I have written why I think this, so I will not bore you all again.

But as a week in and week out way to make a living ???
Very, very, very hard work.
Hard physically and hard mentally.

My ten cents worth ....
Happy Holidays to all ....

Chris Campbell - in North Carolina -

Chris Campbell Pottery LLC
9417 Koupela Drive
Raleigh NC 27615-2233

Designs in Colored Porcelain

Fax : 919-676-2062
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