A review on Art fairs/Sale events
I have been crazy busy these days. As mentioned on the previous post, I was invited to do a Pop-up boutique with my work, which happened two weeks ago and I was accepted at a Juried show which was this past weekend.
I learned a couple of things during these two events which I'll share with you. ** This is my own view and experience, so I just want to say that each person might have a different take on the subject and a different outcome.**
For the first one, the Pop-up boutique, I wish I knew more about the event, which is partially my fault for not digging more and partially from the organizers. I wish there was more communication and explanation about the event, especially because it wasn't something that I was pursuing, but I was personally invited by one of the organizers. This was a one night event. The up-side: It was a beautiful event at a beautiful old theather in the town I live. There was a Fahion show that I was able to watch. I was the only quilter, so no competition.
The down-side: It was a Pop-up boutique event, so there was a lot of apparel and jewelry, mostly wholesale items ordered by the boutiques. I was the only hand-crafted product seller. It was a great audience, very high-end, but not the right audience for my work. The whole time of the Fashion show, the pop-up area was closed, so it was almost two hours of wasted time.
What I learned from it: To really understand the event/market before commiting. As I said, there was a lot of people able to buy a quilt there, but that wasn't their interest at the time. I felt a little out of my element--not because of the Fashion show or the crowd because I have a background in Fashion design--but because of the fact that I felt that my items looked too crafty when placed next to the other boutique items. When you single out one type of craft in an event like this, it can make it look a little traditional or folkloric.
My second event was a Juried Arts Fair in town. I was a little concerned about this one, since it was a little pricey to get in and it was a whole weekend from Friday through Sunday and with little kids, that is a lot of time to be away.
The up-side: It was an Arts Fair, so most people were there to shop for art. It was it's second year so there was a good crowd passing by. There were other fiber artists, but I was the only quilter.
The down-side: There were lots of people asking if I made King size quilts, which I don't and even if I did, I don't think they would want to pay the price. **Please note that this is not a matter of being able to afford it, but rather of understanding the value of a handcrafted item. ** The other thing, and I am not sure if it is a down-side, was the amount of attendees that were quilters or had sisters or grandmothers who were quilters. In the end, I had great conversations, but I knew that there would be no business. And it is fine, I didn't have any huge expectations and had no idea what would be the outcome. I ended up selling a baby quilt, some pillows and some zipper pouches.
The best part of all was that I won a Merit Award and that was a total surprise. I also made a connection to put my work in a boutique, but I am not sure what will come out of that yet. I am also not sure if I'll do it again.
What I learned: Doing those fairs really helped me visualize which way I want to go on my quilting path and making quilts to sell doesn't seem the right one for me. I was also told that my quilts should be more expensive and I agree with the point of not hurting the community. However, I priced it that way because that's what I felt was right and fair for the stage of hand-crafted quality I was at the time each quilt was made. And to be honest, I don't think they were priced incorrectly. There is so much involved when pricing a quilt. I think as I grow on my quilting path I can charge more for my hours of work, but for now I feel it is an accurate calculation. What I don't think it's right is to take advantage of people and situations. But that's a whole other topic.
What is your take on art fairs and selling quilts? I would love to hear your thoughts.