Alternatives to Craft Shows

teapotI just sent in applications for two craft shows for this coming summer. If I get in to both of them the cost is going to be about $360, plus travel and expenses.  They are both within 100 miles.  Hopefully I'll be accepted, I'd like to get my work out in some new areas.

Still, craft shows aren't my favorite gig.  I'd much rather sell from my studio (which I've already written on).

Another  way of selling that I prefer is to do a self promoted show with other potters.  There are great models for this sort of venue.  The three most successful I can think of are the Minnesota Potters Tour, 16  Hands, and the Soda Chicks.  There are other artist tours around the country but I'm talking about events that focus on pots.

A group of potters and I gave this a shot a for several years in a group known as Circle of Eight.  We had good success with our sales and we also did exhibitions together.  Expenses were shared and we combined mailing lists for our shows, which were held at a group member's home.  We had two sales per year and it was always profitable.  We also invited guest potters to join us each time, this was fun as it kept things fresh and exposed our customers  to someone they may not have known.

This past September the Circle of Eight split up.  Like any relationship between people we had problems and didn't work them out in a timely fashion.  It's too bad as we were certainly moving in a positive direction.

The good thing about setting up your own show is that you can share expenses, mailing lists, email lists etc.   I think it's important to be with people who's work you respect and who are like minded.  That energy can feed and grow into a great thing.  I've seen this first hand at the Minnesota Potter's Tour where folks show up in droves to buy pots and meet the potters.

Other groups out there that are worth mentioning are Cousins in Clay, and 3 Guys and Some Pottery.  You may know of more and I'd like to know about them so leave a comment.

I want to talk also about online sales.  I'll save that for next time.