Guest Blogger Tom Gray on Trunk Shows

A couple of weeks ago I asked my friend and fellow potter, Tom Gray, if he would write about his experience doing trunk shows.  I have never done a show like this, which is essentially a show in someone's home.  I think it's a great idea.  Here are Tom's thoughts on doing a trunk show:

Trunk shows are very much like a mini-art show, with a couple of exceptions -- it's far more intimate, and you don't need to drag your display into the gallery or home for the show. As the attendees are invited, they come to the show specifically to meet you, look at your wares, and they will more than likely go home with a few of your pots. I've found that my return on investment exceeds most one day craft shows that I've participated in, and a higher percentage of people buy my work in this type of environment.

Over the last 30 years I've done quite a few trunk shows in art galleries, and more recently, in people's homes. No matter where you show, the basic ideas are pretty much the same.

Set a date.

Decide on a payment agreement with your host...a percentage of sales, pots, etc., something you both can agree upon.

Invite people from a client list if a gallery, or friends, co-workers and family if the show is in a home.

Use existing tables, displays, etc. to exhibit your pots.

Put on a smile, talk to the folks that show up, and sell your pots.

One more thing – people come for the party atmosphere too. At the trunk shows I've done so far, the hostesses and/or gallery owners provided plenty of food and beverages. Allow them to pour their own mimosas, red wine, cider, etc. in one of your handmade cups, and more than likely they will rinse it out when done, buy it and take it home.

Using your network of friends, family members and gallery owners, tap into their networks of friends, family members and clients, and sell more pots. Good luck!

(Tom throwing bowls)

Thanks Tom!  I feel like this is a very good way to show and sell handmade work.  After all we all hope that our pots will find their way to good homes.  What better place to showcase them than in someone's home.  If you've done a trunk show please tell us about your experience in the comments.  And next time your in Seagrove, NC be sure to go by and see Tom Gray at his shop.