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One day shows?

Hi Gang,

I was recently emailed an application to a show in this area that
looks interesting. Oddly, it is only a one day show… on a Sunday.
Considering the logistics involved in setting up booth and display
cases, and tearing them down in one day, is it worth it? Does anyone
have success stories from one day shows, or does anyone refuse to do
them? I’m sure it depends on the results, but at this point, they’re
very hard to predict for this show. The booth and application fees
are right! :slight_smile:


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)


I have found that what makes a good show for one is not necessarily
good for others. You have to look at what you would be able to get
out of it and how well the show management does it’s job.

If you have a good mailing list or customer list and need a place
that you can meet them, then even a one day show is an opportunity.
The questions I have aRe: is the show well run, are they going to
attract an audience that will appreciate your work, will your
customers feel at home around the other vendors and will it help or
hurt your image to be in this show. If your work is not in the same
league as the other vendors then it does your image no good. If the
audience that they attract is not up to the level of your current
customers then the new customers you could attract will be limited.

If there is one thing that I have learned doing shows it is that you
have to do your homework and some research to decide whether or not
a show is right for you. Many shows now have websites and you can
find exhibitor lists from past shows. See if you can find out who
some of the other artists are that were there last year and see if
they have websites. Check out their product. Is their price point
around yours? Is the product a quality one? And don’t just look at
other jewelers. Check the other mediums as well. If a show doesn’t
have a website call and ask them to send you an exhibitor list from
last years show. Their response will tell you a lot about there
attitude towards artists.

Of course, you could stay out of the show and go visit and see how
you like it, or you could do it and take a chance. Depends on how
much time and money you have to blow on a bad decision.

I’ve been to shows that I wish were only one day shows. I’ve been
to shows that I wish went on for another week. The fact is that in
an economy like the one we are in now, it is likely that even a show
that has a great track record can have an off year. Then, it
matters less how well the show is attended, but how good your
selling skills are and how hungry you are.


Hi Dave,

There are so many factors that I consider before doing the show.

Saturdays are generally more productive than Sundays because a lot
of people go to church in the morning (or sleep late - ). The
demographics of the attendees is important, too. Are the attendees
the kind of people who would normally buy your style of jewelry, i.e.
if your pieces are upscale, are the attendees able to afford your
pieces? If the show has a theme (art walk, gay pride festival, craft
festival, wine tasting, etc.), how well does your style reflect the
theme? Are the attendees buyers or just lookers? Talk to previous
exhibitors to find out a lot of this info.

We sell medium-high end pieces and had a booth at an art walk show
which was held on a Sunday. In spite of a minimal attendance, we did
several hundred dollars worth of business and our booth costs were
only 10% of our take ($50). A month later we had a booth at the local
gay pride festival held on a Saturday. In spite of thousands of
attendees, we did all of $35 worth of business and the booth cost us
$300. Why the difference? Our designs are not specifically
gay-oriented; no rainbows, double female or male symbols, etc. We did
not appeal to the basic theme of the show. Plus, the attendees are
more lookers than buyers. The people are there to celebrate and
people-watch, not necessarily to buy stuff. Consequently, we sold

I hope that helps.

JoAnna Kelleher, Director of Operations
Pearl Exotics Trading Company

Hi Dave

Most of my shows are 1 day shows, actually only 4 hours. These shows
average 2000-3000 people in that time frame so even at 2-3% I end up
having a lot of sales. Most of them go for a season although the
ones at Christmas are one shot shows of 1-3 days. Also most of the
people attending make a special trip out to attend these sales and
are usually upper middle class with a fair amount of disposable

It mostly depends on the number of people attending these shows and
how many people are selling a similar product. Some competition is
good but at a small show you don’t want to much either, for e.g. one
Christmas show I did last year had only 40 tables yet 8 people were
selling hand made candles. That is way too much.

Also find out what kind of advertising the promoters are using. Find
out if the area where the show is being held is in a high traffic or
well known area. Try to find out what the main clientele are so you
don’t try to sell high end crystal jewellery to a cowboy who likes
belt buckles. :slight_smile:

Hope this gives you some of the answers. Experience is the best
teacher. And of course this may be a Canadian phenomenon. :slight_smile:

Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady) May your gems
always sparkle.

Hi Dave, My experience with one day shows is as varied as with two
and three day shows. Use the same criteria you do in choosing other
shows. Is the price and location is right, does it have a track
record from other years, do you know anyone else who has done it
that you can ask, what other types of work will be exhibited. . . Is
there enough advance notice for the show to ensure it will be put
together properly and that other artists want to do it also? I get
suspicious of any show where the application or invitation comes too
close to the actual date of the show, as well as any whose booth fee
seems too low.

There are some small one day shows in the midwest that are little
gems. If you can put two back to back Saturday/Sunday, you can come
home with some good money. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but the
advantage is that people will buy when they see it, not go home and
think about it and forget to come back. It does help if you have a
mailing list in the area. My price range is $45 - $500, at one show
last August, I had a woman come in 15 minutes before the show closed
and place an order for $900!! It was nice frosting on the cake. If
the show has the tradition of being one day, the customers will

There is a one day show in Indiana that has a terrific reputation,
my concern on it is that it is a 10 hour drive, one way for me. I’ve
considered it for three years, have yet to apply. If the show is
close, you need the cash, you aren’t booked elsewhere, and you’ve
checked the above give it a try! As always, if it is a
slow show we learn lots from our fellow exhibitors, and might pick
up that one contact that surprises us. Advertising is never a bad

Good luck with your decision.
Jenny Levernier
jmml designs
Minneapolis, MN