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An extreme disappointment...

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  • An extreme disappointment...

    Well everyone, I survived a wicked, wicked weekend...our largest area festival of the year. The 33rd Annual Peter Anderson Festival is one of the top southern events, a two-day juried show with 100,000+ attendees and over 300 artists. This was my fifth year and my worst. I blame this on a few factors, but mainly...ME!

    Another factor I feel was very critical was the falling of the Ol' Yeller!!! I loved the ol' gal and even tho I purchased a smaller low end machine I just could not put out the quality and quantity that I normally have done in the past years...lack of inventory and variety killed me!!! A very, very valuable lesson to remember!!!

    Attached Files
    ~ Kim

    A day in my shop is like a day at the beach...full of sunshine and ya never know where the sawdust may end up!

  • #2
    Kim, you have some amazing looking artwork there, but you are right it is a bit sparce. But if you had other items and sold them before the event, it's understandable that your tables would be missing a few items. Afterall a person can only saw so much, and from the look of what you have to offer there is a lot more then just sawing involved. So hopefully you will be invited back again next year and can have more to sell then, plus maybe there will be a few more people willing to part with some of their money.


    • #3
      Kim, I think Len sums it up quite well. Don't be too hard on yourself.

      Oh and don't forget the economy is in dire straits everywhere, most folks just haven't got the cash to spend on "nice to haves".
      Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.


      • #4
        Kim, sorry the show did not work out as you had hoped. Sounds like you did not loss money but your sales did not meet your expectation. Maybe we can all learn from your experience. Like most of us it sounds like this is a hobby and not your primary source of income. To make a hobby business work you really need to approach it like a real business.

        In my work life I was a project manager. What I am going to say is not always easy but here are a few things to try.
        - Weekly try to schedule time. Tell the family, friends, and yourself that say on Tues and Weds from 6:30 to 9:00 is shop time. Then do it.
        - Have a business plan what you want to complete each month.
        - Walk into the shop with a plan on what you will work on during that session and stick to it.
        - Resist "helter skelter". 5 minutes on this project then 15 on another.
        - If you are making X number of the same project cut them all before you switch to another project or start the next phase.
        - Allow part of your shop time to be clean-up, inventory and put away time.
        - If as the month progresses you find you are behind schedule then plan additional time. If you finish your monthly plan a bit early take a little break.
        - Stuff breaks. Have at least a mental plan on how you can cope if any key tooling breaks. If you can afford have a spare tools or parts.
        - Keep track of supplies. Not only the quantity but shelf life if it applies. Order/replace before you get way down to the end.
        - Don't be afraid to seek help when you see yourself behind. Like have a family member or friend help with clean-up or finishing or putting strings on ornaments or packaging or etc.
        Creator of fine designer sawdust.


        • #5
          Kim, like others have said don't be hard on yourself. The economy does not help either. I had the same problem with a lower inventory this year and it showed in my sales. Bad weather hurt me as well at my biggest show this year. I give a business card to anyone who wants and I put one in every customers bag. I did get six commissioned portraits from the show and that well paid for any business cards that I gave out and help pad the poor sales at the event. I would just love to have a partner that scrolled also but I just can't get my shop buddy to do any work except sweep some sawdust around with her tail. ( my 11 year old black lab "SHEBA"). LOL. Steve
          If This HillBilly Can't Fix it Then it Ain't Broke!!!
          My Gallery
          [email protected]


          • #6
            First thank you for the pictures. You have a nice looking layout. Sorry the show did not meet your expectations as already mentioned by others. One thing I found was I started out with an all black display area as well. I thought it looked very nice and I actually got a few comments on how everything flowed. Something was nagging at me so I went out and did a little research and found that fro our craft, especially for natural colored wood pieces green was a better back drop. I re-painted everything and my sales that very weekend went up by almost half again as much. Weather was the same, inventory was pretty much the same, crowd size was about the same as far as I could tell. The only thing that changed was the color of my displays. Something to think about.

            Business cards for me do pay off. I almost always get a few calls from people after an event from my business cards. I used to just leave the lay out, now I give one to whom ever actually asks for one or someone who seems genuinely interested in an item but can't seem to make the plunge.

            Sounds like your before show sales sort of took away from your inventory and your ability to replace stock was hurt by lack of a saw. Next year will better and don't forget to factor in those sales from the cards after the show, they count.

            I can say your lack of performance at the show was not due to your effort nor your artistic abilities. Your items are really great. Glad to see the square worked great for you!

            Thanks for the report and big ol' cyber hugz!
            "Still Montana Mike"

            "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
            Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


            • #7
              Kim -
              Congratulations on the sales you made with the square that you wouldn't have made otherwise!! Great move on your part there.

              And actually - congratulations for getting a booth to the show at all - isn't this the show that you were thinking about not even going to (after already paying for)? Because your saw broke and the problems you had getting anything done? So, even though your sales were down, you made more than if you hadn't gone at all. The pieces that you produced in the last couple of months are fantastic!

              But I know how disappointing it can be to have a down show. And I can't imagine the let-down you felt when the organizers realized they had the wrong booth.
              If you add the 29 boxes and 5 large projects that you sold at the WAMA to what you sold at this show, would it have been comperable to previous years?? You can only make so many items a month, and if you increase the number of places you sell at, you may end up taking away sales from another place. But you are by no means lazy girl! Don't be too hard on yourself.




              • #8
                Kim sorry to hear about the show and being a little sparse in things for the table. Most of what needed to be said has been in the previous posts. The work you do is of such a great talent that it is often wasted in a venue like this. Yes it is the biggest festival of the year, yes it's jurried. The economy is shaky and folks are not buying like they might and that is life. You can not let them get you down. On the business card front one of the things you can do is include one with each and every sale as well as putting them out. With the prices of the cards running about $17 per 1000 cards from vista print put some out on an attractive card holder. I have gotten some late business from cards give out at my shows in the past. Even one sale from this makes it worth it. I will say this again and I am not blowing smoke you do some very very nice work. Keep the faith Kim and keep making sawdust.

                Life is hard. It is even harder when you are being stupid.
                John Wayne


                • #9
                  Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and wisdom!!! Some very valid points to take into consideration!!! You are so correct...and I did not really consider it...but I kinda did my sales prior to the show and if I added it up, I actually would exceed my sales from previous years - duh! I guess I was just looking at the numbers for the weekend and not the overall numbers. At times I think we are our worst enemies!!!

                  Thanx for the input on the business I had not really seen it discussed before. I thought perhaps I was being too generous with them, but on the other hand I figured they are cheap advertisement so what can it hurt. I had them in several spots on the tables, had some in my pocket and included one with every item I guess I done good - lol! After I posted I started thinking and I think I actually went thru about 750, as I had to take another box Sunday morning.

                  Len & Mayo, thank you so much!!! I think the economy is an issue, along with competing with China. When it is a juried show, tell me how they still get in!?! But that is another soap box for another day - lol!

                  Scott, I really appreciate all your input!!! But I had to grin about the hours issues (setting scheduled time aside) as I probably spend atleast 12-14 hours almost every day in my studio...believe it or not! This has been true for the past year and half since I was 'down-sized' and have been trying to overcome the 'starving artist' persona (looking at me you can tell I don't miss any meals)- ha ha! As mentioned, time management is my worst enemy!!! I am a terrible judge at how much time on a project, probably because I am such a perfectionists and that can be a plus, but it can hurt on the quantity side. However, I would like to be known for QUALITY than they make scrolling genies!?!

                  Mike, thanx bud!!! I knew ya would appreciate the photos...even if they were not the best. I actually had forgotten to take the photos Saturday, so I snapped them up on Sunday morning. I actually had pieces on the outside of both walls the previous day; however with the sales I shifted things around and forgot to take some photos. I hear ya about the color...I have bounced around ideas with that too! With me doing such a variety of items it is hard to settle on a color. My 'dots' really pop on the black, but the natural woods don' it is tough!!! However, I really do like the green that you settled on as it goes very well with your beautiful pieces puzzles and artwork you make/sell. I am over the pegboard set up and would luv to move to 'carpet' or easier/lighter setup...but at the moment it is not in the budget. Thanx so much and thanx for the cyber hugz - back at ya!!!

                  Theresa, thanx gal you have been a great inspiration! Did you get signed up for the Square? If anybody is out there that hasn't...I highly recommend it!!! I actually don't have a smart phone, but a dear friend helped me out for the weekend and she let me borrow her phone. Your right, after the whole nightmare with ol' yellar I almost decided to pull out of this one...but it was hard swallowing the $250 booth fee. Overall, I am glad that I listened to ya'll and did it and I think there is always a lesson learned even if my expectations were not met.

                  Stevie, thanx a bunch!!! I hear ya bout a SO walks in and tells me I am trashing his socks...I point to the shop vac - some reason I never hear it turn on - lol!

                  DW, thank you so much as I really appreciate your input! You bring up a very interesting point...festival venue vs gallery/gift shop venues. I had several people express the same issue. I normally do only about 2-4 festivals/shows a year, but this year due to weather and other circumstances out of my control this was the only festival for the year...but one has to wonder if it is worth it. I believe the exposure is good, as a lot of people do not just wander into a gallery. However OS may be one of those exceptions as we are known for being a very artsy fartsy community and have a lot of galleries in the area. As I mentioned in another post I just need to put my big girl panties on and go out and sell myself...I am such a mouse when it comes to promoting myself and just hate rejection! I need a promoter...anyone out there - lol!?!

                  However, with all that said...have faith...I am no I am going to continue to make sawdust and show ya'll my strange creations - lol! In fact, I am getting an email package together to send to the SSW&C family for some future article ideas...any suggestions!?!

                  THANX AGAIN!!!!
                  ~ Kim

                  A day in my shop is like a day at the beach...full of sunshine and ya never know where the sawdust may end up!



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