Well we just finished the 5th of our 6 shows this season. I am reluctant to do the final books, but I know that we have sadly broken the pattern of doing better each show than the show before.
Artists sitting at shows waiting hopefully for the right customer make predictions and look for factors that help them remain hopeful. This show was no exception. Saturday was so hot that there was a heat advisory and we all blamed the low sales on the fact that it was too hot for anyone (including ourselves) to be outside. Of course this pinned all of our hopes for a wildly successful show on Sunday - the weather was expected to be perfect (sunny, 82 and slight breeze). Saturday night artists went home or to hotels or wherever they were staying and showed up Sunday ready to get started. As promised, Sunday was beautiful, the crowds were much more plentiful and things looked great. But no one was buying, the crowds were doing a museum stroll.
As the afternoon wound down artists started to wander around and talk to each other - "how was your weekend?". The answers ranged from "ok" to "I lost money on this one". Folks were frustrated, blaming the economy, the organizers, their booth placement, and anything else the could think of. But what really influences the success of a show - I wish I knew.
Choosing a show means deciding how much money that venue is worth, crossing your fingers and hoping for good weather, and then putting aside an entire weekend. We only do local shows so we load the car and setup Friday evening, sit at our booth all day Sat and Sun and then break down, pack up and unpack the car Sunday night. When you consider the results of a show you need to add the cost of the materials for items sold in the equation so you need to sell more than the show cost in order to break even. And a bunch more than that to cover your time spent at the show.
So back to the original topic - Does anyone know how to choose the right shows? Based on the results this year, I sure don't.