Monday, June 14, 2010

Blowing Rock

This weekend was the first time we have set up at Blowing Rock at their Art in The Park.
The Art in the Park is really set up behind the park.
The staff is extremely well organized. When you pull in you are given your place to set up, but you don't go in until the way is clear for you. When you do pull in you must unload everything and remove your vehicle and trailer pronto.
This allows the other folks to come in and do the same.
When you break down it is the same deal. You must be all packed and ready before you are allowed to get in and load your trailer.
This meant no watching as people scrambled to get in fast, block the area and run over each other to get set up and break down. It also meant there was a calm to both that I don't see at other shows.
We did have some good sales despite the skinny crowd.


When we set out to become potters we did shows for the first two years and decided we would prefer to work out something else.
We concentrated on building work space and having a small gallery at home. We also had a few great wholesale accounts that we sold to several times a year.
This allowed us to slowly build a business where we were.
We also kept part time jobs to fill the gaps.
After all we were not in this alone, we had to kids we were raising.
Over the past few years we have watched as wholesale has become consignment. It is much easier for a gallery or shop owner to operate but it is hard for any one of us to loan our work.
We are not fond of this method of selling work.
You are in a situation where you have to follow and keep up with what is sold and what is not. If you are with a good gallery you will get your check on time when the work sells.
If you are with a not so good gallery you will have to chase them down for your money and possibly for the return of your work.
We managed quite well how we were for a number of years.
Now we find our selves having to go out and do shows.
This has been quite an experience since we were not set up to do shows.
Having to set up for shows adds another element to all you are already doing.
It means, tent, booth,trailer or van, travel, packing, unpacking, what will sell, time away from working, time to apply for shows.
It has been an interested new layer to the work schedule.
In many ways it has put us back out there and reminds folks who we are and where we are.
Yet, at the same time I feel it cuts into time we could be working.
We have many discussions on how things have changed in Seagrove and beyond.
We talk about how to deal with those changes and what we plan to do next.
After almost 30 years in to this we are still exploring all the avenues.
A new booth is the next one and possibly a van.
For now it is unpack and see what the week brings.
It is time for a few good weeks on the wheels.
Happy Spinning!

8 comments:

Linda Starr said...

Good for yiou for thinking outside the box; blowing rock sounds very organized. For the few shows I did on the West Coast, Gary always said I needed a van (although I have an SUV that holds it all which I like) he said the ideal would be to keep it all packed and not have to unpack when we got home. It's a good idea, but when new work comes along or items are sold, not sure how those pieces would be added to the display. I am still working out details in my head while I travel to shows here to see how they are run. There are heavy winds here and potential for rain and that could put a damper on any booth. I'm also checking out galleries and gift shops in several locations to see what is a fit. Dreamer that I am, I wish there was a way for a van to "be" the booth and just drive up to the spot, open the doors and have the display already set up, a bit difficult for pottery, maybe a traveling treasure bus. glad you made some good sales.

Ron said...

The booth looks great! Sarah and I did that show several years in a row, usually multiple months. It is well organized.
Interesting to hear how you and Mark are back 'out there'. I think we all are finding new ways to sell our work. (or returning to old ways that we hadn't used in a while). I am putting more energy into online sales.
I am very put off by the whole consignment thing with galleries. Especially well known galleries that are higher end. Why should we, as you say, loan them our work? How many other businesses ask for their suppliers to loan them inventory? Plus it seems that the consignment agreement has shifted to 50/50 now. Okay I better stop now before I get off on a rant! Ha. Have a good Monday.

Laurie said...

I went to the Blowing Rock show years ago. I remember it being a nice one. I too have been looking at all the possibilities for my business. Being flexible is good!

Hollis Engley said...

I hate shows. Or, maybe more accurately, I hate the preparations for shows. The packing of pots, the loading of the truck, the setting up of the tent, the laying out of the pots. Then the aftermath, when it's all over. And, as Ron says, there's the wind, the rain ... And I am truly a dreadful retailer, trying like hell to rally a smile at the hundreds of browsers who wander in. But I do these things because it's the only (semi)-dependable way to get pots in the hands of customers and money in my own hands. If I don't do it, the pots pile up and the bank account goes down. Wish I had a better solution to all this. That said, your booth looks lovely. Hope you sold a ton of pots.

cookingwithgas said...

Linda- a van that is the booth.... how about a walk in bus that is a gallery or a traveling RV!

cookingwithgas said...

Ron- I am thinking about the esty shop again and 50/50 for consignment!
Hollis- I know the feeling!

Jen Mecca said...

I love doing blowing rock!

jimgottuso said...

good to hear that the sales were good... the booth looks great. since i only started about 5 years ago, i've not done the fair thing but once and only because i didn't have to buy a tent and trailer because it was inside and local. i hear others talk about the glory days when the pots were flying off the shelves but i never experienced any of that.