...serenity in motion
I was doing a show last weekend, and before the show opened for the day; I was out taking a walk around to the other vendors. Sometimes that is the only time you get to see what the show is like, so I grabbed the chance and left my display unattended. It was safe, public wasn't around and my neighbors were keeping a weather eye on things. When I returned, I found a 3x5 card on my chair and it read; "You weren't here! Wanted to buy an orgial, will be back. 'Very Rich Man'." First of all, everything hanging in my display is an original. Secondly, the only people walking around then were other vendors. I kinda thought I knew who it was and when I showed a photo to one of my neighbors, it was confirmed. One of my mentors was pranking me. While it illustrates a valid point about missed chances, it also proves the point that not all things are worth the wait.
The question becomes, what is a real good opportunity and what wastes your time. How do find the real things that are worth chasing, and what is an empty promise. First of all, ask questions; lots of questions. Research, look at demographics of the area; who lives there and who comes to the show. Ask artists what they know. Facebook is a great resource now. Several different art groups you can join and ask about the prospective shows. Look at past rosters of artists that attended the show, do their pricepoints and genres match yours? How often have they done the show?
Look at the shows you are doing now and ask, are they really worth doing? Figure out your costs and what you have to make to break even and also, turn a profit. Just because a local show is convenient, it doesn't mean you will actually break even. You might only ever just cover your costs. Going a distance for a show is scary but it might be worth it to take that chance.
It never hurts to look for friends you can stay with. Don't expect them to help, just be grateful to save the hotel fees. Every penny saved in this business is one you have earned. Don't beat yourself up if you can't though, you never know when everything will come out even or even put you on top. Remember, there is no such thing in this business as being "discovered". If you get discovered by a gallery or a publisher, you have to decide if you are going to allow someone else to run your business for you. Their attention is only going to be on you while they can make an easy profit. Once that is over, you are back on your own. Again, is it worth taking the chance?
This is a special profession, it aint for the faint of heart. Good luck, remember; we all have each others back.