Wiser people than I have said to not work a show that you have not visited first. This is an often difficult piece of advice to follow when starting on the circuit. There are other, subtler lessons to learn.
Last fall I did a mediocre show at a high school about 25 minutes away, that I had never attended as a visitor. Lesson learned: try not to do a show that is off the beaten path. This school was a destination and attracted no drive-by traffic. Out in the woods may not be profitable.
Yesterday, I worked a new show again. I had been suggested to this group and was obviously flattered. They answered most of my questions well regarding advertising, other draws, size, etc. I knew the location was a good one, also in the previous high school area but on a main drag. They were going to have pony rides and bouncy houses and music and more to draw in the passer-bys. Great! We set up Friday and I 'thought' I had a great spot by the only entrance/exit....you couldn't/wouldn't miss my tables.
Saturday came with 40degree temperatures and a nasty, constant down pour.
Cancel the horses.Cancel the music.
Cancel the bouncy thingies.
Freeze by the exit/entrance.
The visitors were mostly either friends or family of other vendors or the organizers. I barely made back my entry fee (precisely by $1.00). Of course, it wasn't the organizers fault and I do think with cooperative weather, it might have been a grand fair. Do I venture again, next year if they ask me back?
My saddest reaction to this was not being able to sell even one piece of a friend's wonderful work, shown below. She is an amazing clay artist and I hope at the next show she will be appreciated. Visit her at Clay Art By Daresa. Her work is inspiring!
Oh, the next show? Also a new one, never attended....hmmmm, we'll see!