Hi Friends, A few weeks ago Robert Lowe asked, from Brazil, about how
sales were running after the attacks of 9/11. I reported I would be
doing my second show since that date, and would provide more feedback
afterward. This is my follow-up.
The show I did was very “crafty”… I was among what might be
considered the upper echelon of vendors. My gross sales exactly
matched my booth fee (break even for a local show), which was
certainly less than I had hoped. Fortunately, follow-on sales that I
have booked in the couple days since the show, but directly resulting
from it, have more than doubled my revenue, and I expect at least one
or two more commission jobs to result from specific conversations.
I did speak with a few higher-end shoppers who recognized and truly
appreciated the quality of design, material and craftsmanship I
offered. I always knew I had someone when my opals made their eyes
pop out of their heads! A few of my more eclectic designs got some
admiration, but for all my trying, I was unable to get these folks to
part with their cash. Is it my inability to “close the sale” or
resistance due to uncertainty and concerns about the economy?
Okay, given that this might not have been the right choice of show
for me to do (too much craft, not enough art), let’s look at what the
"traditional craft" vendors had to say. Most of them indicate that
their sales were down 50% from the same show last year. The $15 and
under products appeared to be selling reasonably well… kind of
"feel good" knick-knack sort of things.
My conclusion is that the mid-range customer is tending to hang on
to his money. In the past few years, he (or she) might have been a
little extravagant and made a special purchase, with confidence he
would pay it off in a few months. Now there is not that willingness
to make the finances stretch. There will always be higher-end buyers,
but I think they’re going to be harder to find… especially as
everybody starts trying to identify and target them.
Just one person’s observations and conclusions…
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)