This whole year has been a busy one and I’m glad it’s time to wind it down. There’s still a lot of catching up to do, though, because for the past several weeks I feel like I’ve been running non-stop. And this is my after-the-fact whining, grumble-grumble post about the recent event in Rogers. I know. I need to just ‘suck it up, Buttercup’ because it’s over and done with now, but maybe the experience will help others learn from my mistakes.
Last weekend was the big Show
Lots of prep and planning went into getting ready for this show. In the end, it did not turn out as I’d hoped, but I learned a lot from doing it.
First of all, the name of the show should have clued me in as to what it would be about. If ’boutique’ is part of the name, I will pay more attention going forward. This was a show geared more towards fashion and trendy stuff, like sparkly fingernails and glittery shoes. Not at all a handmade/hand-craft sales event. So right off the bat, my booth wasn’t the right sort of wares. I need to more carefully choose the venues I apply to. It’s the same as entering art shows, it is a waste of money to apply to a show that favors abstract and pop art when my art is not that type. So I should apply to venues where what I’m trying to sell is at least the kind of thing the patrons of that show might be interested in. I should never again depend on the venue operators to give me an opinion on whether or not my stuff is a fit. They just want the money and I doubt care whether the vendors make it back or not.
It was a very expensive show to be a part of. I’m extremely happy that I did manage to sell enough art to pay the costs associated with booth fee, hotel expenses, and money spent to generate enough product to potentially sell a lot of work. I just wish it had lived up to my anticipated potential.
No or spotty Wi-Fi
So this is the biggest part of my complaint about the show. Wi-Fi was available for an additional fee. The booth itself was $700, and to have Wi-Fi meant another $25 or $35, I forgot how much it was. You had to preorder the Wi-Fi, you couldn’t request it at the show. So I pre-paid. And guess what? The Wi-Fi didn’t work. So that meant no ability to take credit cards unless I used my cell service. Well, the reason I needed Wi-Fi is because I’m on a measured cell data plan and needed to use Wi-Fi. Anyway, this angers me still and there was no refund offered for it and I’m just going to chalk it up to another lesson. Suck it up buttercup doesn’t fit in this context, but there really was no other option. Event coordinators said it was out of their control, and they couldn’t help it. Perhaps that’s true, but they could have at least refunded the orders for it. And it made for a lot of anxiety. Eventually Rob was able to connect to the Wi-Fi on his phone and hotspot me through on my iPad.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy it
I really didn’t enjoy the atmosphere of non-stop loud music pumping, either. The vendor’s break room was minimally stocked with candy’s coffee, and tea/lemonade. I should have brought our lunch (and breakfast and supper), but the long hours made that hard to do without a lot more advance preparation.
The hours were grueling and I’m glad I didn’t hire someone to help me with it, or I would have been in the hole. 12 hours is a long day of booth-sitting. Counting take-down time, the second day was also another 12-hour shift. Thankfully Rob was a good sport and did a tremendous amount of work alongside me.
One of my original works did sell, which was exciting. Sally the Salamander has a new home on someone’s wall now.
Re-Stocking my Online Shop
As usual with other events I’ve done, the notecards and 5 x 7 prints were the best sellers. So I am getting the idea that it doesn’t really matter what kind of event it is, I can at least sell those items. I just didn’t sell as many of them as I needed to make that show a profitable event, and that was because all of the associated expenses were so high.
With so many prints and paint sets left over, now I’ll be adding that inventory to my online shop. For all of my prints, it really doesn’t matter if I keep inventory on hand because I have the printer to make them on demand. But now I do have a lot on hand, so I won’t need to print anything for a while unless there’s a size request that I don’t have on hand.
I’ve got several duo sets and one 5-color set left. The duo’s are marked down to a discount for the rest of this month, from $37 to $25, with free shipping to US addresses. I’m not sure I want to try and ship anything overseas anymore. It didn’t work out very well the last couple of times I’ve tried, because items get held in customs and never made it to the buyer. Instead, they returned to me weeks (or months) later. I don’t like having disappointed customers, and refunds are no fun on my end, either.
Here’s the sets that are currently listed. I have more of the duo’s to add and will be working on that this week. You can see them all at the Wild Ozark online shop and keep an eye on the rest of them as I get them loaded.
Suck it up buttercup!
Have you ever had anyone tell you that phrase? Usually it’s reserved for kids grumbling because they can’t have what they want. And that’s sometimes the only thing to do in a situation that isn’t appealing, like this last show was for me and Rob. Once the Rubicon was crossed and the booth was installed, there wasn’t anything else to do except ride it out.