the buyers market of american craft was terrible for me. i did not get any orders. none. i was shocked. i went there with reasonable and low expectations. i just wanted to make my expenses back which would have meant 1 or 2 orders a day at my minimum. after day 2 passed with nothing, i knew something was very wrong. i knew the show could be bad, but i did not expect this. there weren't very many buyers present, (20-30 minutes would pass without anyone in the aisles), many artists canceled or went on sabbatical (as i heard it, the most ever in the history of the show), and many artists i spoke with got little to no orders, like myself. several of the people around me got orders, some even seemed to do ok, but many of the orders they got were reorders from regular galleries for the same pieces ordered last year, just in smaller quantities. the buyers weren't buying anything new, they weren't taking any risks, and they were being very conservative. (and why wouldn't they?!)
i had several people look at my work and comment on how "beautiful" certain pieces were, how some were "such great designs"...then they would say "i hope you have a good show" and walk away. it was discouraging and defeating. i found myself more angry at the end of the day than anything else. then the next morning i would head to the show with a renewed attitude and a smile on my face. but, by 3pm the anger would set in. it's hard to sit there for 5 days, doing nothing, selling nothing, barely speaking to any buyers...it's grueling.
so...i will not apply to this show next year or the year after that for two reasons - 1.) i want to wait for the economy to improve before i take another risk like this. i just can't afford the lost money, time, and psychological/emotional toll. 2.) i also question whether or not the buyers market is the appropriate venue for my style of jewelry. perhaps i need to explore other shows, like pool or thread. but, with that said and with number 1 in mind, i will not apply to any other shows until the economy improves.
(please keep in mind that this is my perspective and my thoughts on what happened to me and what i observed happening to others. i'm guessing there were people who had better experiences than i did and may disagree with me on certain points.)
i will comment on the brighter side later.
thanks for reading.
p.s. the above picture is of the divine lorraine hotel which i drove by every morning on my way to the show. it's a gorgeous building, too bad it's abandoned.