Ok, so I got my canopy, my tables, my brown table cloths, merchant account, my product, and all the government paperwork done so I am finally ready to do shows. I just need to fill out my contact information, send them a check and show up. Wrong! It seems that most shows, particularly the good ones, have an application due date that, in some cases, are 6 to 9 months prior to the show. I can see the school of “hard knocks” is kicking in and graduation is a long way off. I called up a promoter one day and we talked about getting into his show. His first question was what other shows have I done. I said none and he said “you need to do some small shows before you jump into my shows”. “But I just spent $2000 getting ready to do these”. “It doesn’t make any difference, apply next year”.
How do you spell misfire? So I subscribed to Sunshine Artist magazine to educate myself further and Festivalnet.com to find shows. I bought photo lights and umbrellas and shot good pictures of my products. I called my friend who does craft shows and listened to him go on and on about the jury process. So now I’m ready again. I found some recommended shows, but they wanted references from other shows. What’s wrong with these people? I’m not applying for a credit card, just a damn show. Using Festivalnet.com, I found some small local shows. I had missed the due date, but I emailed them and asked if they were full. They were not and I sent them an application, pictures, a check, and surprise….. I got accepted!
One of the interesting things I have found with these shows is the jury process. The promoter makes a big deal about sending in slides or pictures. Some ask for digital pictures on CD. I wish all shows would use Zapplication.com. This is a web clearing house for juried shows. You upload your pictures one time, click on the shows you want to apply to, and it’s done. Unfortunately, only a handful of shows use their service, but I have applied to some using this site.
The promoter generally wants 3 to 4 pictures of your product, plus one of your booth. They make a big deal out of this and you get the feeling that there is this high council in white robes sitting around a table analyzing your artistic style. But in reality, when you get to the show, you see “crafters” with sorry junk, booths made out of four poles and a blue tarp thrown over it, and some guy selling clocks with “Made in China” stamped on the bottom. This is what I have run into consistently at the small shows, particularly the ones that are put on by city governments or the chamber of commerce. They make a weak attempt at the jury process or just say it’s juried for the prestige and don’t really look at the pictures.
Now, during all this posturing and fretting over getting into shows, I am still making product everyday, or at least trying to. I live about 30 minutes from the local lumber yard. It is easy to kill 2 to 3 hours from the time I leave the shop until the time I return. Some days I can get in and out quickly, but some days it gets crowded. A lumber yard worker knew I had waited a long time to get my rough lumber one day and joked that “Everyone in Atlanta showed up today to buy a half a sheet of plywood”. So I pick up 70 – 100 board feet of rough lumber, get back to the shop, and spend the rest of the day feeding it through the planer.
The next day I plan to rip boards all morning for the first glue up. I always try to do 10 boards at a time, regardless of size, to maximize my labor. As I start ripping, I notice the dust collector is full. Ok, stop and deal with that and waste 15 minutes emptying sawdust, get started again and UPS or FedEx shows up with a delivery, stop and deal with that. Then my daughter calls and wants to chit chat. After this is over, I sit down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and try to remember what I was suppose to be doing and hour ago. Oh, yea, make money, stupid me.
-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com