Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Making Some Observations and Reflecting

I participated in a show last weekend "Remnants of the Past" and while I hesitate to broadcast this I did poorly.  I didn't come near getting my booth fee back and in all the years I've done shows this has not happened.  So what happened?  I have some theories.  First off this is the most expensive show I've ever done so the fee was high to recover.

The show is advertised as a vintage show and to me that means something is vintage or vintage parts are used to create something new, etc.  I was told by marketers that something considered an antique had to be 100 years or older and I've been told something vintage was either 25 or 50 years or older.  So it has always been a bit confusing but now something vintage seems to be anything that looks old or a style of being old. Things that look "vintage" but have nothing vintage about them.

There was a lot of clothing at this show!  While a few booths that had retail clothing, cheap clothes made in China, for resale did very well it's hard to compete with that.  The clothes were cute!  But there was nothing vintage about them except perhaps the style of being lacy or romantic.

This was only my second year to do the show but the attendance was way down from last year.  Many vendors I've talked with who have done the show for years agreed.

Perhaps there is too much competition.  Lot's of these vintage style shows are popping up.  Same stuff, same vendors, and more and more reproduction resales.

I thought I'd be okay at selling because I teach and vend at art retreats.  But now the art retreats are letting retail resellers in.  I understand retailing supplies to attendees to use to make stuff with but out right retail clothing and jewelry that competes with the artist made stuff?  Yes there are those who appreciate the artist made creations and we are grateful to those but I am baffled why promoters want to bring the mall into the picture.  It that the sort of vendor show they want?  Not to showcase the artist but just to sell booth spaces?

I am the only one who has an issue with this?  I would like to hear from others and there ideas and opinions concerning my theories.

I know I won't stop creating, it's in my soul, in my mind I keep thinking about how to move ahead and what the plan should be.

So after all the bitching and moaning here's a happy picture.  Iris blooming in my garden and the beds awaiting soil amendment and vegetable planting.   Time to get my hands dirty!


donna joy said...

i'm not a vendor but i attend shows/go to antique malls etc..
I HATE when they start renting space to the same stuff you can get in a normal store-just so they can rent the space. right there with you on all your complaints!

Joanne Huffman said...

When I lived in Illinois, there was an art show I went to. It was in Amish country and the vendors always had beautiful handmade items. Then they started letting pre-made retail items in. They were cheap reproductions of the kinds of art and crafts the show was known for. After the second year of this, I stopped going. Yes it was cheaper; but it was cheaper on ALL levels. I think sometimes people want "stuff" and not quality work. I an so sorry this is happening to you and the places you sell in.

Parenthetically, I define Antique as before I was born and Vintage as before I went to college (remember, I was born in the first half of the last century).

I love your clothes and fabrics and think you deserve to have people coming to you, begging to be able to buy your wares.

Chris Flynn said...

Hi Lorri... I am so sorry you had this experience. I'm hoping that PVQA will listen to their feedback, and not have these venders at the next show. This is a big reason why the community finally got rid of the Boulder Creek Art and Wine festival on Memorial weekend. Too much cheaply made junk, mostly from China.

Your work is so beautiful, so unique, and you put so much love, creativity, and work into your creations.

Just for clarification: an 'Antique' is more than 100 years old: currently 1916 or earlier. 'Vintage' is identified by the decade: vintage 1920's, vintage 1980's, etc. 'Collectible': is most anything that people enjoy collecting: thimbles, Beanie Babies, laces, etc. This is pretty much industry standard in the Antique business. If a dealer brings in a knock-off item, made in China, we try to indicate that on the sales tag.

Hope the next vender experience will be better. Let's meet for coffee/tea soon?
xoxo Chris

Joaquina said...

Hi Lorri. Im a designer of home and fashion accessories made from vintage textiles. I live in Southern Oregon and have participated in many art and craft fairs. Some of those events have included commercially made goods from China. You really cannot compete in terms of pricing with those mass produced items. Several times I have not made enough sales to cover my expenses. But I continue to vend at a wide variety of events because the public feedback is invaluable. Even if I don't make my booth fee, I find it deeply satisfying when a person tells me that something I've made is beautiful, so desirable, that the person purchases that item without flinching at the cost. You may find this silly, but sometimes, I create an item that I love so much, I put a very high price on it to discourage anyone else from buying it! It's just that I believe people like you and me create for the joy it brings, not just to us, but to others. To paraphrase a famous athlete of the 20th century, "I feel God's pleasure when I use my skills and talents to create something." That we make a little money doing what we love is all the greater a blessing. So don't be discouraged by this one experience. Know that you are doing the very thing you were meant to do.

Patty said...

I guess it's a "thing", Lorri, as I've seen it in the bead world as well. Slow replacement of handmade artisans' booths at bead shows (and art and wine events) with resellers' booths. The promoter makes their money selling booths whether the items being sold are handmade or not. But it's not good for the artisans, and the more of those resellers the show has the less educated the customers will be. Have you thought about the Stitches West show right here in Santa Clara? I went for the first time this year and 1) it was packed, and 2)Most (but not all) of the booths seemed to be handmade artisans, and as I'm sure you know, it's all about fiber! I think your work would do very well there.

Anyway, sorry this happened to you. (hugs)