I guess I'm luckier still. As mentioned in another topic here, how I got started turning, it was my wife's idea in the first place.
As I suspect will be a common thread throughout this topic, I too had produced about all the bowls and things family and friends would take. My sister pointed out a sign recruiting vendors for a start-up juried art and craft fair. Somewhat to my surprise, I was juried in.
At that point it dawned on me I had no real idea what was involved; i.e., licenses, taxes and that governmental stuff, but even more importantly, set up display, pricing and so on, ad infinitum.
I spotted an antique show and fair locally and went to have a look. Man was there a lot JUNK for sale but I learned a lot. Then a neighbor told me that Sam's had these neat 10x10 tents for sale for under $200. Thank god for Easy-Up. Add a couple 8 foot x 24 inch tables, some black table cloths and I had a booth. I was also out of pocket around $400. It seemed inconceivable that I would recoup that, but being ever optimistic....
I took 48 items to sell, plus 10 very nice slim-line pen and pencil sets.
After the two day fair, I brought home 11 items, plus 10 very nice slim line pen and pencil sets. (Not only did no-one buy those stinkers, I didn't even see anyone pick one up to look. Now everybody in my family has a very nice slim line pen and pencil set.) Around 3 PM Saturday I realized I had moved into the black. By close of business Sunday I had grossed a little over $1000! Couldn't believe it. Getting paid for having fun! The only real problem I had was everybody told me I was priced way too low.
More important than the money, though, was the affirmation of the value of my work. Also, during those two days I got 4 invitations to submit my work to other shows. I did and was juried into all 4 plus two others I came across by accident. (I hadn't heard of Festival Network, CraftLister or Sunshine Artist, then.)
That was the last weekend in August of '03. In '04 we (SWMBO, Peggy and I) did 6 shows and sold less stuff per day but made more money.
Thuis summer we did 13 shows and made a profit (albeit $56 isn't much for a weekend) at all but one. That one, however, garnered us gallery representation which has so far paid us more than any one of the shows we did.
We're now represented in two galleries. Next year we'll be more selective about which shows we attend. We've learned:
1. If it isn't juried, run like hell away.
2. Ditto, if it's in conjunction with something else (car show, etc). They're there to see the cars or whatever, not us.
3. Don't believe the "No manufactured/buy/sell" statements in the show contracts. Most organizers couldn't care less. All they want is our booth fee. At best, if you're lucky, you won't be like the lady with the watercolors next to and downwind from the guy demonstrating the "Extreme Squirt Gun."
4. Art shows are harder to get into and often more pricey than art and craft shows, but are a much better venue for our kind of work and will produce more and better sales of our high end stuff.
I could go on and on as I'm sure many of you could. Maybe that's a good topic for another thread here. Anyone care to lead off? Matt? Joe? Somebody new?
"Get it right, you're a star. Get it half-right, you're a gas giant."