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Art show - is it worth while


Hello All:

I make kaleidoscopes. I applied several years ago to participate in
the Rosen show. Being new, of course I was not accepted.

Today I received a letter from the Rosen Group that there is an
opening for kscopes in their July show in Philly. This show is
expensive…$1200. I went to a big show in Boston, and did not
sell squat, all were looking for items for under $20… I also don’t
have alot of variations on my designs. I don’t have 30 or 40
different designs…maybe 10 to 12. When I get tired of making
them, I make something different.

What I need is any advise whether I should bite the bullet or not.
My items don’t sell for under $150 each, it’s very time consuming to
make my kscopes. I go up to the $500 range.

I have heard Rosen is a good show to get into, but will my high
dollar items sell? The last retail show I did many people stopped by
and enjoyed, but none bought because they were looking for
inexpensive items.

I need advise…help!!!



You won’t see any results in a good positive way till you have done
about 4-5 shows in 3-4 years.if you can’t match the price range they
are looking for you’re also in a drawback,and Rosen ,does have
exhibitors,with the lower end working for them…and against you.


Carol: I don’t have any show experience at all, but, I have an
instructor at the University who makes kscopes and sells them. All of
his work is in the $2000 range and he never leaves home. ebay, of all
places, he is able to sell his things. Admittedly, he is not making
his primary living off of these, but if you aren’t having luck with
retail shows…

Ben silver


I have done the February Rosen Show several times, but not the summer
one. I have heard from my other exhibitor friends that it does not
compare in sales (orders written) to the winter show. Keep in mind
that it is a newer show, therefore needs to establish a track record.

Are your pieces $150. wholesale or retail? I did not understand your
letter completely. At the Rosen Show the exhibitors are grouped by
medium, e.g. glass, ceramics, fiber, jewelry and even a large section
of kalidescopes.

I have noticed that the kalidescope section is very popular with the
buyers. I saw work priced from about $50 to $1500 wholesale in this
section with 'scopes made from a variety of materials and even
alternative techniques.

The summer show might be a good way to get your foot in the door, so
to speak. It is considerably easier to jury into the summer show
than the Feb. show and once you are in you don’t have to rejury
completey again, just submit slides of new work each year.

If you want to have my input, you are welcome to e-mail a photo of
your work and I would be happy to tell you what I think. I am not an
expert, but have been a self-employed artist for many years now.

Something else to keep in mind are your slides. If you do not have
professionally photographed slides, forget about jurying in. The
shows are more about presentation than anything else. Poor quality
or amateur slides seem to reflect a less serious attitude to the
jurors. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it seems to be the
trend. Good luck and let me know if I can help you with anything

Sharon Bloom


Carol - the Rosen shows are all wholesale - and mostly buyers want to
order stuff. Few one of a kind things sell easily except at the end
of the show and then for the wholesale price. Do your $500 kscopes
have a $250 wholesale price? Can you (or will you) make a series or
repeat what you show? There is a market for expensive kscopes, but
I’d bet on a retail show first. Judy in sunny Denver


Carol, You will probably not sell your booths rent at your first show.
Being new people will be very hesitant to buy from you. Especially
for high end items. Remember that the best shows have a regular
clientele that shop for exclusive items. Use the show for
advertisement and go back a second, third, and forth time. By your
forth show you will know if your product is marketable at that
location or needs to be redesigned to be marketable. I always give
a new show three to four tries before I give it up. Hand out your
business cards and get a web site up. Follow on business can be a
lot more than the show.

Gerry Galarneau


Carol - The Rosen show is a good show to do - I have done the show the
last couple of years - Four times in all - I have always done the show
with a guild & been in a guild booth - This has been a good learning
experience for me - I will tell you what I have learned so far - The
buyers come in all types with different tastes & price ranges that
they shop for their stores - I have had a steady increase in the sales
of my work with each show - The buyers want to know that you will be
there [ I had one shop look at my work three times before they placed
a order] -That you can fill the orders you take [I don’t write asap orders as this caused me problems at one show, the buyers may have a different idea than you of what asap means] The show is very well run
by the Rosen staff & they will give you as much help as you need - You
may not recoup your expensives from the first show,but you will learn
so much that first show - I would rent the display you use the first
couple of times - At least till you decide if the wholesale venue is
for you & your work - Rosen has some mentors they can hook you up with
to help you -if you want to do the July show I would get on this now !
Also remember that you’ll have the cost of travel , room & food while
your in Philly - Orders [sales] don’t fall out of the sky like manna
[at least not for most of the craftsmen] But the location,staff &
fellow exhibitors make this a show worth doing -
Cynthia L.Thomas Gold & Silversmithing


Carol, As you have probably figured out by reading all of the posts
regarding this subject, show experiences are totally individual. I
make mostly one-of-a-kind pieces, and I usually sell out of them. My
work is in silver, and the pins alone, start at $135. Wholesale. The
work goes up from there. I do have some low end, just to get my foot
in the door of the galleries that are “sure” that they can’t sell high
end. If they like my work, they’ll usually come around later on down
the line.

I’ve done the Rosen Shows for around 9 years now. The Feb. show is
usually a better show due to the increased number of buyers, however,
new exhibitors often do really well at either show, as buyers are sick
of looking at the rest of us after a while. :-). Rosen provides new
exhibitors with a banner, or a tag denoting them as such, and it
usually acts like chum to sharks…Uh…the exhibitor being the
chum…sigh… Unfortunately, I will be doing the ACC show this summer
instead of Rosen. After signing on to ACC, they changed the dates to
overlap Rosen…Political infighting between the two groups goes on
incessently, usually screwing the artists…I can’t do both, and Rosen
will let me take a sabatical, and I’m tenured at ACC…so its
Baltimore for me this summer. I Prefer Rosen for a lot of reasons. As
I said, your show experience will be individual to you. My very first
show was at the now defunct Boston summer show with Rosen. The show
was on its last legs, and I was placed in the last row against the
wall near the end. Several exhibitors around me didn’t show up, and
with the empty booths, the row gave the appearance of no-man’s land. I
was given a New Exhibitor banner, and looking back at it, it must have
presented a pretty forlorn sight…I opened, (sold to), 37 stores at
that show. I thought that it was sooooo easy, that I’d do that every
time…that was a loooong time ago…lol…I know better
now…everyone has good shows, everyone has bad shows. It makes no
difference how long you’ve been doing it, or how good you think your
work is, or how bad you and all of your friends think someone else’s
work is…its what the buyers think that counts. Good luck,

Lisa,(Back from a visit to Taos, NM on skis in 30 degree weather, and
now here at 80 degrees, back up on Duchess the horse, who yesterday,
attempted to divest herself of me upon the sudden appearance of the
dreaded road-grader/monster), Topanga, CA, USA