Hey peeps! Yup, it's mid-May and the anxiety is building. Time to build stock for shows and inevitably I get some AWESOME bulk orders at the same time as I'm preparing for the summer (which is totally fantastic, but of course it all comes at the same time.... eek!).
Here's my show schedule:
Art in the Park (Windsor, ON) June 1 and 2.
Artfest (Kingston, ON) June 29, 30, July 1st
Home County Folk Fest (London, ON) July 19-21st
Brome Fair (Brome, QC) August 31st, Sept.1, 2, 3rd
Ottawa Folk Fest, Sept.5-8
Oh my, I think that's enough. *insert heart palpitations*
Shows are great! I get to meet my customers face to face, see their excitement for my bags, and make a lump sum of money (rather than one bag here, one bag there). I also get to be on the road, out of my workshop, sleep in hotels (loves this!), collect carnie tales of adventure (oh my, do I have a few!), and come home stinky and tired but usually satisfied and feeling validated (except for a few crap shows over the years.... don't wanna remember those!). Yup, shows are an experience! :)
However, there is also a very ominous side to doing shows. The fact is that the artisan vendor is always at the bottom of the food chain. We pay upfront months in advance for ever-increasing booths fees (sometimes exorbitant amounts, with randomnly-set premiums for a corner booth) often with ridiculous cancellation policies, not to mention the application process itself which requires a life-story, and CIA screening (well, not really... but it can be an ordeal!). On top of the booth fees we have to pay travel, hotel (not always, but often for me), and many times parking fees. I also pay to rent a trailer to tow my stuff behind my car. All the shows I do in the summer are outdoors, so I have to have the right equipment (canopy with walls, etc). There is usually 'security'..... ahem.... Some people do pack their stuff up at night, but it's really not feasible for most of us. So I close my tent walls, cross my fingers, and hope for the best. This is very unsettling when I usually have all my inventory sitting in a public park, separated from the open sky by a thin piece of plastic tarp material. This is where I take a deep breath and surrender to the universe. lol Of course, these shows also require that I carry 2 million dollars liability insurance in case my tent blows over and injures some unsuspecting person. This translates to almost $1200/year for me. Yikes! So, as you can see, just getting to the show and being set up is nothing to scoff at. And after all this, I have to cross my fingers and hope it doesn't rain. And the final coup de grace is that I've spent all this money, taken the corresponding risks, and there no guarantee that I will sell anything. *Over and Out*
So as I was saying, shows are great. hahahaha! Obviously I do make money at shows, which is why I do them. But ya gotta have nerves of steel and be just a little bit foolish, too. lol
Hopefully I will have the opportunity to meet some of you at my shows this summer. Come by the booth and say HELLO! I highly recommend attending all of the above shows, as they're quality events with lots too see. Yes!
All for now. Would love feedback from other artisans who do shows, or any show-goers about their experiences. Feel free to comment below. :)
HUGS! All aboard The Hobo Train!