It seems like every time I do one of these shows, I learn a little more about the business side of being a vendor. I met another artist (visiting the event, not selling) who has done the larger horse fairs, including the Minnesota Horse Fair. I have so far avoided these huge events because the price of booth space doesn’t make sense for my business quite yet. However, her experience was that she wangled a discount by frankly telling the organizer that as a relative newcomer she had no idea how she would do at this level, and she wasn’t picky about where her space was located, and could he cut her some kind of deal. She ended up selling a good quantity of work there. I’m thinking that I may be able to at least recoup my expenses if I do some bigger shows and start bringing actual horse-related work to sell, such as small watercolors in the $100-$150 range. I talk to an increasingly greater number of people who are interested in portraits at every show I do, but the follow-through hasn’t happened yet. It would be nice to earn back the booth fees and hotel/transportation costs while I wait for the portrait side of things to catch up.
In the meantime, click on the photos in this post to see larger versions of what the Horse-A-Rama space looked like. There were three large buildings with booths like this setup, so there were a good number of vendors and also a pretty steady stream of people coming by. One other thing I’m learning is that Sundays are usually quiet compared to the rest of the show days. There’s nothing you can do about it, since you’re committed when you sign up to do all the show days. But if there are some events that don’t include a Sunday, that might be a better deal. Anyhow, as you look at the photos, notice how my booth is situated next to the cinnamon-sugar roasted nut booth! Talk about drooling away your days at a show! I resisted buying any nuts, and the really nice people in the booth “gifted” me with a bag at the end of the last day! Now I feel about five pounds heavier.