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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Suck ass day

This second day, sitting in a hot stuffy convention hall with really bad Christmas music playing too loud, a concession booth that sold $10 tuna salad sandwiches and a less than enthusiastic art buying crowd has put me in a somewhat grumpy mood. The only thing that made it worth being there at all today were my friends that stopped by to say hello, the people that stopped to say my work was beautiful and they loved it (they didn't buy it though, grrr..), customers that own my work stopping by to say they still love their pieces and my vendor neighbors, who are all really fun and nice. This show is well run, the artists are wonderful and kind people and very talented, all of them. But my complaint is this: I sold two stars today. That's right, I made $48 in a booth I paid $525 for, not to mention the $50 I pay in dues to be a guild member.

I have observed a few things. Women are buying things to put on their bodies. Hats, scarves, jewelry and purses seem to be selling very well. The men like the wood work and Daniel Johnston's big pots and I think there are some freudian things I could probably mention about that, but I'll keep it to myself:).  There were many people wandering around as if they were in a museum, not really understanding that artists were there to sell things, and that is how they make their living. It was more like entertainment for them, some pretty things to look at that they don't often get to see.

And of course there are the usual show comments that have me needing to smack something. No they are not birdhouses, no I don't want to enter the birdhouse competition at the Carolina Inn, no I'm not even going to stand here and give you an answer to your question "Why are your prices so high?".
and my favorite one today, no I can't give you a ride home, sorry. People..... really....... I am about over this show thing, but I don't have an alternative answer right now. I am wanting to make houses like this one that probably no one is really going to understand or want to buy, I want to weave, I want to be in the warm sunlight of my studio, I want to drink hot tea from my beautiful pottery, I want to sit by a fire, I want to wrap up in my down blanket, I want to be with my family, I want to walk by the ocean, I want to smell the sea. I want to be an artist and have some magic way to sell my work without the annoyance of selling.

I don't want to be a salesperson. I don't want to be a marketing manager. I don't want to do math.
I don't want to sit at a trade show and watch a high pressure salesperson, pretending to be a craft artist when what they really are is someone that thought maybe it would be cool to be an artist, but they used to be in marketing and they know how to sell shit. The shit they sell has no soul. It is mass produced and sold to people that don't know what hit them when they walked into the booth. I have known many many slick salespeople, I know how it's done, but watching it all day makes me want to take a shower.

Oh crap, the *second day didn't sell a thing show blues* are upon me. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. There are a lot of factors that might have made this a bad selling day. Unfortunately I live in college ball heaven and all three schools had a home game today. There is also the fact that there are two buildings side by side at this venue and both buildings hold a craft show this weekend, one filled with cheap crap the other with high end art and in the parking lot there is a flea market that happens every weekend. So, you get a strange mix of people wandering about and there is little to no parking, because not only is the lot full of craft vendors and shoppers, there is football game parking too. One customer told me she had to park a half mile away. And then there is the fact that it's Thanksgiving weekend and many people go out of town. I'm just not so sure I want to do this show again. I don't think it's a good weekend to do a craft show. I know it's not the best time for me to do a show. I hate the way it interrupts the flow of Thanksgiving, the only holiday I actually like.

We'll see, I might feel better tomorrow if some people actually show up and buy something. I honestly don't know how they decide though. The building is full of beautiful artwork, well crafted, well displayed. Soooo many things to choose from. It's tough. All I know is that I am tired of sitting in a booth all day watching people walk by like the midway at a fair. I enjoy talking to people that stop at my booth, I love seeing my friends and I have certainly made some very good friends at shows and through selling my work to them, but man, this shit wears me out mentally! One thing that has improved though, is that I no longer take it personally. I don't have the *oh no you don't like me* issue. I know there are too many other factors contributing to lack of sales and whether or not someone likes me or my work has very little to do with it. I know my work is really nice, I like it, a lot of other people like it. It's just not a necessary item and it's not a bodily adornment, so my work sells if someone really connects with it strongly, as many people do, it just takes the right special people. So those of you that do buy my houses and barns, thank you, I am very grateful and happy for you to own a piece that I cared for very much before it went to live with you.
xo

ps: I took a bunch of photos today of some nice pottery booths, but it helps to put a card in your camera when you do that, hence the photo that I did post :)

20 comments:

Peter said...

Someone will probably come up with a label for the affliction that crafts people get from attending such shows... a Post Traumatic Show Disorder of some kind. It is truly demoralizing to sit there with a friendly grin for 3 days whilst dying inside, and I am full of sympathy, especially as I am trying to get mentally prepared to endure another show myself. Agggggggggggggggggggggggggh!

FetishGhost said...

My goodness I've missed your well pointed bitching Tracey... I'd love to say "tomorrow will be better", but I'm sure tomorrow has definite possibilities to be even worse. Sorry Hon :(

Tracey Broome said...

PTSD is exactly right Peter. The booth sitting is absolutely grueling and goes against everything an artist is all about, agggggghhhh, indeed!

Tracey Broome said...

Z, haha, you are probably right, but tomoorw won't be worse because tomorrow means the show will soon be over!! Actually lit is tomorrow now, and I have insomnia.... Ugh.

Drømmeriet said...

Hello Tracey,
I recognice your description of beeing in a booth sitting and the bad feelings so much!
I wonder, maybe it,s best to let an other person be there and do the sale for us...? A familymember or a friend,a friends daugther/son for some handmoney :)...they would proberly sell much more, because it,s not so personelly.

cookingwithgas said...

sell at home- it is still your best place to show, work and sell...
and can I nod my head along with this- yes, yes, yes, and can you give me a ride home?

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Dromerriet, you are so right, it is very personal and I would gladly let someone else do it, only everyone I know is working as hard as I am!
Meredith, I agree selling at home is the best option. Yes, a lady I don't even know asked me to give her a ride home. I used my new found skill of saying no.....

Dennis Allen said...

I'm about even with you on sales this weekend but at least I'm at a studio sale where I can visit with potter friends whom I don't see often enough.I also didn't spend $$$$ to be there.Obviously, I'm not the person who can solve this problem but I can sure identify with it.As they told the guy with the kidney stone, this too shall pass.

gabi said...

I just found these small dolls on Etsy and thought of you.

Have a look and see, if its something for you.

I would buy them, but with shipping and taxes it would add up.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/115124766/vintage-japan-bisque-doll-babies-dolls

Anna M. Branner said...

Ugh.

I think no matter that we do what we love, there will always be a side to it that we DON'T like. I too am still working on the best venue/technique for sales! Hang in there!

Michèle Hastings said...

I feel your pain. I really prefer one day shows... keep it simple, in and out quickly.

Laura Farrow said...

ugh. I was feeling it for you and all the vendors there, really. To stand there and smile all day and watch people walk by your blood/sweat/tears work, having no clue what it took to get it there... it takes a fair amount of bravery and vulnerability to do that kind of gig. I hope today goes better for you. xo

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Dennis, at least my glass is half full, haha!
Anna, there is no figuring out this art business, just keep on keeping on
Michele, I agree, one day shows are the best. But at least with a two day show you can hope for a better tomorrow, ha!
Hey Laura thanks, xo. Yep I put on my suit of armor every time I get to a show. Mentally exhausting!

June Perry said...

Rats - you need a hug - a big one! So here it is! Can you feel it? :-)

I remember those days well. Living in a tourist town where most of the tourists it seemed, flew in and loved the work but had no more room in the suitcase! And the weekly craft show was in a part of town where the locals rarely went because down town parking was so horrendous!
The person who did the best was the one selling nickel silver (not real silver by the way), toe rings for $3 a piece - no kidding!
Memories of labor pains are more welcome than some of those shows! LOL

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks for the hug June, GOT IT!
Yeah, the life you are having now is getting closer and closer to where my life is heading:) life is short.

Lori Leaumont said...

Oh man, am I ever feelin' this post! Had a show like this last weekend, and didn't sell a thing. It makes me just want to cry and give up for good, but I can't give up the making. I wish there were another way! Here's hoping the next day is better, or at least that it gets over with so you can return to the safety of your studio and lock your wounds.

Sissy said...

sounds like art fairs in Finland...grrr...you just sit there and nobody knows that you´re slowly dying inside:)

Tracey Broome said...

Lori, there HAS to be another way, this is not it!
Hey, Sissy, not really dying inside, more like annoyed with stupidity right now :)

Tracey Broome said...

Gabi, thanks for the link to the doll, that is a great price, they are getting expensive and hard to find around here!

Amy said...

gosh, there's a theme here in the comments and in your post. potters don't like to do shows! Interestingly, much of my pottery is selling through my facebook page and a few pictures. It's amazing how word spreads with that and how I remember you don't like Facebook. anyway good luck with any future shows you do!