On Lessons Learned: The Perils of Craft Shows

I have written about doing craft and art shows in the past and, well, I am going to continue to do so.

Spring is in the air, the grass in turning green, flowers are starting to bloom, animals are scurrying about, and rain... so much rain. Unless you happen to be a farmer, live in the South West, or are a fish, rain just plain stinks most of the time. When is it at its worst? When you rely on people wanting to walk through it to buy your stuff.

Outdoor craft shows rely almost solely on the weather (and some advertising) to produce a good turn out of people interested in what others are peddling. But who the hell wants to go out when it is 40 degrees and raining? I sure don't. Or when it is exceptionally humid and over 100 degrees? I'd be sitting next to the vents, sucking in all the air conditioning I could handle. But, "Them's the breaks, kid."

Not every day is going to produce lovely weather and, quite honestly, there is a comfort zone in the environment that loosens up inhibitions and wallets that just can't be hit every time. When going into a show, consider the climate and set your hopes accordingly. Or, just set them extremely low anyway, that way you will occasionally be pleasantly surprised but rarely disappointed. Hot, cold, humid, wet, soul sucking fluorescent lighting (for those indoor shows)? All of that will influence just how open people are to spending money. Heck, all that influences just how much they even want to be at the show.

So, in those less-than-ideal conditions be prepared to hear a lot of "Your stuff is so interesting," "This is truly unique, I love it," "I wish I had the time to look more thoroughly at what you have," "I'm too cold to spend any money," (yeah, that actually happened) and very little of that oh-so-comforting cash register "ca-ching".

The real peril of craft and art shows is that every single one is a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you'll hit it big, sometimes you'll lose money. Signing up for shows is not cheap, especially if you are just getting started and aren't rolling in the dough. Manage your money the best that you can because a failed show is like a skipped paycheck at any other job. Consider yourself warned.

"You know all that work you have been doing over the past weeks? Well, turns out, we're not going to pay you for it. Look at it like... volunteer service, yeah... doesn't that sound nice?"

Ghost Town

Ghost Town