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Sunday, June 2

slow start

Oh man. I don't expect a windfall from this show. ( 100 American Craftsmen at the Kenan Center in Lockport.)  It has been in the middle of the pack for me. But it is traditionally the show that starts to even the scales. Maybe I can sock a few bucks away. At this rate, I'll be lucky to sock a few socks away.

I'm not sure what the reason for the insanely low attendance was. We all have theories and we had plenty of time to spout them as we wandered amongst each other's booths and commiserated.

It was very hot. High 80's which is like death for this show. First, most of us here in the Canadian border towns don't take kindly to anything over 70-75. It starts to hit 80, we get ornery. Then, the arena where the show is held has no A/C.  The place is cavernous. It would be like dropping an ice cube in your swimming pool to cool it down.

Overheard in the Lady's Room: "they charge us 8 bucks to get in here and there isn't even A/C?"

Maybe $8 is too much. I think it used to be $6. I think it should be $5. The rationale is that this is a "high end" show, so people come here to spend big bucks and 8 bucks is chump change. I don't agree. It would be smarter to charge us all an extra 50 bucks for the booth, scale down the artist party and the artist breakfast and let the folks in for nothing or a tiny fee like 2 bucks. What drives sales is attendance. Especially at a show like this. Outdoor festivals are different. You can get hundreds of thousands of people but maybe most of them are there for sun and beer. That will be my rant for next weekend.

So, anyway, the dearth of business led to an abundance of schmoozing and I got to know some artists better. Like the leather guy next to me that set up his first ever booth at Woodstock. He has a picture of himself there with his long curly hair, selling belts from a crate. He makes beautiful bags now, that sell for hundreds of dollars. And I heard him laughing with customers all day. At least he has fun. He says he's almost 70 now and he has perspective.

I got to know the son of one of my favorite artisans and to see his amazing pencil sketches. He will be one of us soon.

A few had trouble with their Square card readers or didn't know how to program to app for sales tax or edit  products and I became the go-to tech wizard. My son would be rolling and laughing at that.

Russell and I had time to discuss re-doing the new layout for the booth. It has issues. Actually, we had time to re-do it right there, but I nixed the idea.

Even the volunteers who man the admissions table seemed depressed so I promised everyone I talked to that today would be so busy and happy that our biggest problem would be where to spend all the glorious extra cash in our pockets.  I will be chatting with my shoppers and sending out good vibes I chose this life, good and bad. I knew there was no guaranteed pay check.

The only guarantee is that you will be doing work you love and that your office will be a festival of some sort and you will be, almost always, treated with respect by the people you deal with.

Beats the old government job hands down.

It is gray and damp today, bring on the people!

1 comment:

Joanne Noragon said...

You know, Pat, I always found the reception condescending. Some artists are on the road that day at the break of dawn. On arriving they work approximately as hard as a ditch digger in the hot sun, loading in, setting up. There may or may not be time to eat before opening shop to a probably unappreciative "preview" party. We all know how well that goes, them with their wine and cheese and us with aching bones and empty stomachs, smiling nevertheless because they came for an experience and we are obliged to behave like grateful artists. Finally it's 9, the show closes. After a twelve or more hour day there is the reception, set up so we can indulge the committee's idea of how artists behave. No seating. Received by whom? The year I did the show I skipped the reception; I do not need patronized. It was among my best shows that year but I never applied again. Artists as performing monkeys. I no longer have skin in the game but even if I did I would invite you to pass along my remarks.