I’ve never really been a ginormous fan of vending at a show outside. Mostly, because Florida. Everyone wants to do things over the summer, and summer is un-freaking-bearable outside in Gainesville what with the 2000% humidity and zero breeze. My soap can’t handle that kind of humidity, and soap is one of my best sellers at shows (it’s small, inexpensive, and – hopefully – everyone uses it so it makes a great little treat). Another reason I’ve passed on them, especially big ones like juried art shows, is that a lot of them will not accept slipcast ceramics, which until recently, is the only way I’ve made ceramics (if you’re totally bored and interested in why that is, go read this).
As I’ve done a few indoor shows, I get invited more and more to outdoor shows. So far I’ve said no to almost all of them, unless I was asked by someone who had a tent and I could share.
As I do less and less consignment, shows are looking like the only way I can get out there in front of people, locally, to let them see/sniff/squish my products.
But shows are hard; I need to bring someone with me because I just can’t do it myself. So I have to find someone available to help (someone with money-counting and customer service experience). I have to either pull from stock (marking all those things off on my website, to avoid double-sales) or I have to make stock just for the show (if it’s too far off, where do I store that stock? or if it’s very soon, how can I possibly get all that done?).
So I’m judicious about which shows I do. I don’t like to do everything that comes along – let’s face it, some of them are really not going to pay out the time and effort you put into it. I’m not saying I have to make money hand over fist each time, but if I’m losing money to go to it? If the booth fee and the time spent getting ready for it and the lost work from the day of packing, the day (or days) of the show, the day unpacking, if all that adds up to a loss? It’s not worth it. But of course you wouldn’t know that until AFTER the show, but still. You can kind of guess, if you’ve done a few.
Learning handbuilding opened up some better shows to me, once I get better at it and have enough of a catalog to show juries. And now I’ve gotten a regulation tent.
Regulation tent, you ask? Isn’t a tent just a tent? It turns out that most shows (small, local shows, most like the ones I am likely to do) really don’t care too much about what kind of tent you have. White, square, the right size. But some shows (juried, bigger) want it to be flameproof. Or able to go to a particular height. Or to have side walls.
I have to be honest – I started writing this last night. But then I got sidetracked because I also started to write in this post about how opening myself up to shows might move the direction of HaldeCraft a little, and that got me thinking about goals (which I’ve been thinking about a lot since last September) and going where I want to go and how long I think that should take… and anyway, it made this post about six times longer and good lord, who wants to read all that in one sitting?!
To recap: I used to not have a tent, and used that as an excuse to not do outdoor shows. Now I have a tent, so I have to face any internal excuses and deal with them. And I have to research local shows and make some decisions. Yay?