At about this time last year I decided that I was driving myself
crazy trying to run two businesses at the same time (selling at art
fairs and being a self-employed carpenter) and made the decision to
just do the art show circuit in 2008. In order to sell enough to make
a living, I had to put a full-time effort into running the jewelry
business (which is a lot more than just making enough to sell!). So
this year just about all of my income is coming from art shows.
In the spring (March/April) I alternated between hopefulness and
terror, since I listen to NPR a lot and keep up with the latest
economic indicators. My first two shows don’t count since they were
small and weren’t my target market; I did them just to shake the
bugs out of a new booth design before the season really began and I
don’t anticipate ever doing them again. At this point I would say
that sales are down somewhat from last year, but are still quite
strong for me. There are definitely people who, while not rich, are
still choosing to visit art shows and spend money. The biggest change
I have noted is what people are buying and how they are paying for
their purchases. Smaller ticket items and a lot more cash. I have
also noticed that having more variety of items in my booth has
increased sales. Plus my new booth design definitely helps!
Not all artists are doing well, however. Several artists (not
jewelers) at some of my good shows did not make booth fee this year.
We need those artists to do well too!
I had this past weekend off (yay!) and now begin another onslaught
of six weekend shows in a row. Ask me again in mid-August…