Thursday, February 19, 2009

buyers market report, in all honesty

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'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.


Meg said...

That is just awful, what a disheartening and frustrating experience. They just don't know what they are missing!

Danielle Miller-Gilliam said...

Amy, I know this will not make you feel any better...but it was terrible for me too. In 11 years, I have never NOT made my booth fee at BMAC...until this year. I can't help but to question my work...even though I know it is more likely just the horrible state of our economy. As a new face to the BMAC, I think your decision to wait until the economy picks up is a wise one. However, don't rule it out for the future! I think once we all recovery from this, the BMAC will be the show you will grow your business with. Good Luck!

alisa said...

i'm so sorry, amy. that show was painful. but it's kind of the perfect time for you to do your residency. you're not missing anything. xoxo!

Erin said...

that is terrible. i can only imagine how frustrated and upsetting that must have been. (were those people CRAZY?? just sayin'..)
you are incredibly gifted and creative, and the economy won't stay crappy forever!