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musings on craft shows.....

updated fri 20 may 05


The Sherman's on wed 18 may 05

I've spent way too much time working at the hospital this week.. bushed from
helping patients and families trying to cope with cancer. Clayart is a
bright spot in my day.

The post on the first time craft show perked my interest. I remember the
first one I did as well. An added shelf to the top of a table, covered with
a cloth. Lots of resale in the area. Pots wrapped in newspaper, in
cardboard boxes.

Now I'm getting ready for the Long Island Art League's Art in the Park,
Father's Day weekend. The only outdoor show I do now. I have a "Finale"
from Creative Industries. The domed roof with aluminum frame does take more
time to get up and down but I have never been concerned about loosing it to
weather. My shelves are home built ladders for end pieces and removable
pegs in boards for shelves. Packs flat in the Blazer and are 6 feet high to
fit the bed with the back seats down (and fits many shows requirements that
displays be no higher than 6 feet tall).

Pots are wrapped in wrapping paper I buy at moving supply stores. Newspaper
gets recycled in the studio but I hate getting black hands at shows. And I
buy a box of plastic bags now and then so the pots are presented to the
purchaser in the cream paper and a handled bag without a grocery store name
on it.

Pots get toted to and from shows and are stored in the studio in plastic
flip top boxes- the ones that are sold for holiday ornaments or hanging
files. I wait for them to be on sale and get a bunch. Use then for my home
storage as well. They stack nicely, I can get 12 in the Blazer with the
display, and look fine if a few are left in the booth to hold show stuff and
a little extra inventory. Only problem is they aren't water tight- but who
cares? Don't know many pots that would be hurt by a few drops of water.

The only signs I have in the booth are about 3 x 1.5 inches that state all
prices include the 8.75% NY State sales tax. I made change my first show
and quickly learned that I lost sales by spending so much time counting
pennies. And I do have business card for people who ask for one. I don't
keep them out in plain sight- too many kids cruising through just to see how
many different cards they can get. Of course, I have a waterproof "Zephyr
Pottery" across the door way. I do include a card with each sale that has
my "care and feeding of hand-made pottery" info on it. It reminds folks of
what I said while we were chatting in the booth.

And I do talk to everyone who comes into the booth. I try to make eye
contact and smile to everyone walking by and invite them in. I "sell" my
pottery. What it is, how it is made, how it can be used. And if I don't
have what they are looking for I refer them to one of the other potters in
the show. I do a quick walk of the show the first morning of the show-
noting who is there and what they have. Are my prices reasonable in
comparison to theirs? Colors, shapes, clay bodies. Hey, if I can't get a
sale might as well send them to a potter who might have what they are
looking for.

And don't forget to start the mailing list! A book for names and addressed
for your future use. I send show announcement cards to the list reminding
them to stop by and include the booth number if known. Any one who writes a
check gets asked if they can be added to the list (their address is on the
check). Some don't so I always ask first.

Shows are a lot of work but the immediate feedback is great and seeing
people's response to the pots is gratifying.

Well, time I toddle off to bed.

Marcey Sherman
Zephyr Pottery
1/2 way out Long Island, New York where the new wiring for the kilns in the
new studio will be used for the maiden bisque firing this weekend. Still no
water supply to the sink but a tap is close by.