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Craft shows waiting lists


I’m a newbie (about 3 years in business) and have a question
regarding a wait list. Last year I exhibited in 10 craft shows which
I applied to again for 2003. So far, I have not been rejected but put
on a waiting list. Does anyone know how that works and what my
options of exhibiting may be. I’m sure there must be others in the
same category and on the same list. Any info would be appreciated.
Also thanks to all of you and this wonderful forum for the
and support you share each day-

Hope to meet many of you at MJSA-NY in March!

Lin Sullivan
Madleine Jewelry Design



Waiting lists can really be a pain, can’t they. The best wait lists
are ones where you are assigned a number. You can call and find out
how far down on the list you are and how far down on the list the
production company has gotten. ACC if pretty good about this. Some
shows it’s a pure mystery where you are on the list and the
producers seem to like it that way. Some shows you can call and
they are pleased to let you know if you have a snowballs chance,
others really are pretty rude or clueless about it.

I don’t like to be known as a pest, so I usually just try to chill
out and wait. The wait lists of the most competitive shows rarely
move, especially if they’re small shows, or shows without a lot of
jewelry spaces.

Over the last few years I’ve been waitlisted for more shows than
I’ve gotten into. I have moved off a few waitlists, too. I was
waitlisted for one show for 3 years before I finally got in.

I knew one fiber artist who paid her deposit and was told that she
was next on the waitlist. She was told that she wouldn’t get her
refund back until after the show because they may have a booth open
up just before the show opens and if they did she would be notified.
Now, I don’t know how much credence to put into this part of her
story, but she said she was told that if they notified her the day
before the show and she didn’t show up, she wouldn’t get her deposit
back. So, she packed up her work and displays in boxes, hopped on a
bus and camped at the exhibitors desk. They had an opening, though
not because a fiber artist canceled, and let her into the show.

I guess this is an option as to what to do, but pretty desperate.
What else can you do? I suggest patience. I have decided to
overbook shows and if I get into two shows during the same weekend,
or two shows that are too close to each other, then I cancel one of
the shows. If there is a choice between an outdoor show and an
indoor show I usually go for the indoor show, even if it is ranked a
little lower, since the weather is less of a risk factor.

Also consider exploring new shows. It is rumored that some shows
have a “core” list of artists and then a fringe of new artists.
These shows may mix up the fringe artists from year to year. So it
may be necessary to apply to another show that same weekend or month
to better your odds of doing a show, at least until you become a
regular. You can never be absolutely sure you are getting in until
you get that acceptance letter.

Waitlists are just a fact of life if you choose to do business in
this way. It’s a hassle, but every way of doing business has it’s
hassles. By the way, always get to know the show director and
staff. Make sure they always see you happy and busy (even if you’re
not busy making sales). Ask questions, be interested in the show,
ask how you can help make the show go smoothly and make a great
impression. Believe me it really helps. I’m not saying there is a
lot of politics involved, but it may make a difference in getting a
good versus not so good booth space and can’t hurt if the producer
has the final say in who gets waitlisted and who doesn’t.

My craft show schedule so far this year:

February - Baltimore ACC, wholesale/retail
March - Atlanta ACC
April - Spring Crafts Park Avenue, NYC, TBA (fingers crossed)
April - Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival
May - breather 
June - Lincoln Center Craft Show, NYC, TBA (hopefully both weekends)
June Des Moines Arts Festival
July - August Off
September - Lincoln Center Craft Show. TBA (hopefully both weekends)
October - Fall Crafts Park Avenue, TBA
December - Holiday Park Avenue, TBA
December - Charlotte ACC or another NYC show, TBA.

This doesn’t count a couple more shows I hope to squeeze into
September, October or November. This will definitely be the busiest
show year I have

ever had. I suspect that this year will have it’s share of really
slow shows. Hopefully, things will pick up so that next year we
won’t have to work so hard.


PS If anyone lives in any of the cities I will be at, or will be
exhibiting in the show, let me know. I always am interested in
meeting Orchid folks.


Dear Lin, When I first started, I thought that if I was in a show one
year that that would automatically get me in the next year. This
turns out to be not the case. Many shows, especially the good ones,
may require you to return the application with money as soon as you
receive the app. I have several shows for Nov and Dec this year that
I have already paid for in January. Good shows fill up fast and
jewelry is usually the first catagory to close due to
over-representation. Motto: Be quick or be left out



Hi Lin,

In my many years of doing shows I have found a waiting list can mean
several things, from a strong likelihood that you will get into the
show to the chances you take with the lottery. The obvious, of
course, is that if someone drops out of the show at the last minute,
then a spot will open that you may be called on to take, depending on
where you are on the waiting list. I always try to find out from the
promoter where I am on the waiting list and what the likelihood is
that a spot will open. A spot can open up either last minute from
some sort of unplanned emergency, or earlier if one of the accepted
artists declines to do the show and the promoter is looking to fill
the show. I know of one promoter who will accepts artists from out
of the show area while wait listing local artists since they are
more likely to fill a late opening. I think your best bet is to
communicate with the promoter to get an idea of your chances, as well
as other artists who may have a longer history with the show in
question, and always have a back up if you can’t count on that show.
Good luck!



Most legitimate shows tell you what # you are in line on the waiting
list, what your category is and what their wait list policy is like
to allow to make a judgment about what your chances are.

For instance, I was 3rd on a wait list for a very good show last
year. However, I know that this show lets people in based on the
category they juried in, on further investigation I found out that
only 4 people had been let into the show in my category at all. Thus,
3 out of the 4 people in this category would have to drop the show
for me to get in. If you are a jeweler at the #3 spot your odds are
likely to be better as many shows have a much higher number of
jewelers than other categories.

Also to consider: some shows don’t differentiate the categories like
that and everyone is on one big wait list based on their jury score.
Some shows are so hard to get into that the artist would almost have
to die for them to drop the show making the #1 wait list spot
something you can’t count on & one well known promoter in Chicago
puts such a vast number of artists on their wait list that it is a
running joke. One artist says "Did you get into that fantastic show?"
The other artist says “no, but I’m hoping to get in, I was put on the
wait list” Loud laughter ensues because everyone decent is on the
wait list.

Point is, you need to find out their wait list policy before you can
make an informed decision.




I respecfully disagree that “Most legitimate shows tell you what #
you are in line on the waiting list”. I have been waitlisted by a
lot of shows and in fact some really top rate shows and the only
shows I have ever been given a number on is with the ACC.
Sausalito, Paradise City Shows, Westchester Craft show, none of them
come with a number. I admit I have no experience with smaller
shows, I have only applied to the larger, national shows. Smaller
shows may be different.

Even if someone in your catagory drops out, you may still not get
in. In most of the shows I apply to, the catagory I fall into is
metal jewlery (some shows have a precious metal catagory and a non
precious metal catagory). So if you are a goldsmith selling higher
end jewelry and a jeweler selling non-precious metal work or silver
drops out, you most likely won’t get called. That is one of the
reasons why the jewelry catagory is so incredibly competitive, that,
and the sheer number of jewelers applying to shows.

I’ve only twice in my short jurying life gotten a call back from a
waitlist. Both of them were this year and I canceled both because
of conflicts with other shows. Generally, I consider being on a
waitlist to mean I won’t get in. I usually apply to a number of
shows per month to better my odds at getting in and also so I can
pick and choose if I get into more than one show. This year has
been my best as far as getting in to shows. I’ll be really busy and
hopefully it will pay off.