I keep getting a lot of private messages from Lumberjocks asking questions about my boards and selling at shows so I decided to start talking about my experiences this year and maybe it will help those who want start the show circuit or are trying to decide if it’s for them. I consider myself a newbie at it since I just started this year and I know there are a lot of jocks that have been doing shows for years, so I don’t intend to write a “how to” guide, but document my journey into this carnivorous monster.
I started making cutting boards the first of the year when my cabinet and closet business decided to follow the economy into its downward spiral. Actually, I just needed something to occupy my time between long dry spells. I found a lot of people who liked the boards and were willing to buy the boards. After selling 20 or so, I figured that if I can do this with a small group of friends and their friends then what would happen if I had an audience of 2,000 10,000 or 20,000? Could I do it full time and do well enough to close my closet company?
So I hit up a woodworker friend that has successfully done shows for 15 years for advice. His first comment was “You don’t realize what you are getting yourself into stud!” It took a while to realize what he meant by that. Doing shows is not that difficult. It’s getting started that is hard. Now I could go to small shows and flea markets, set up some 2×4s on cinder blocks and do my thing, but I wanted to do big juried shows. This takes a little more planning. In fact it got down right frustrating at times when I thought I had everything I needed, and then discovered more things I forgot. I’ve been a small business owner for 7 years and thought this would be a piece of cake.
Canopy, tables, table cloths, merchant account, display stands, product containers for transport, bags, receipts, business license, sales tax number, business checking account. The list goes on and on. It actually took me a couple of months to get everything together before I could actually apply to my first show.
Now that I have some shows under my belt, I have to say that the canopy is the most important part of the traveling circus. Like many, I went the cheap route and bought an $250 Ez Up. This is by far the most popular canopy out there. It’s also the best kite ever designed. At my first show, a large gust of wind came blowing through the show and 5 or 6 went flying across the street scattering crafts all over the place, and they had weights on each leg. I was lucky that I was sitting between two bigger tents that blocked some of the wind and I was spared. Two weeks later I spent $1000 and bought a Trimline.
Now the Ez Up is exactly what it says. I can get it up in five minutes and that includes taking a beer break in the middle. The Trimline takes 30 – 45 minutes to get up (without a beer break). However, when I leave it overnight at a show, I know that short of a hurricane, it will still be there the next morning. It only takes one time sitting in it during a down pour that I appreciate the fact that I bought it.
Old Ez Up
More to come….
-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com