Turning Archive 2007

2nd show - hey, not so bad!

David Breth
>This weekend I participated in a large local show (about five minutes from my house). This was only my second, and with a $175 table fee I was a bit nervous. I needn't have been!

I supplement the bowls with other items, some turned, some not. In this case, board puzzles, snowman necklaces, and larger snowman figurines holding props of various kinds with their twig arms. My wife makes rice bags (heating pads) as well, so she gets some table space, and she had a good day too.

My average bowl price is not that high, so when I tell you I sold 21, there is no reason to think I just became Donald Trump. 90% of the larger snowmen sold. The board puzzles and necklaces were dogs unfortunately, but my material cost in them is not that great - just a bunch of time, so my financial loss is limited, and I learned a little something about what not to make.

I think I provide a decent quality work, and I price them in a range that people can deal with. (I go anywhere from $8 for a little bitty to maybe $35 or so, with some pricing significantly higher for something really unique). I know that a lot of folks get a whale of a lot more than I do for similar work, but I just can't see doing that for myself right now. I don't use exotic woods, and don't do segmented work. Mostly, my bowls range from 3" - 11" diameter pieces, and are generally of local trees so folks seem to find that of interest. Because of the size, they fit in a home easily, and can be carried around a show easily by the buyer, so they have practical appeal in addition to what I hope is curb appeal. (I had fifty bowls this time, they all fit in one moderate sized rubbermaid container).

I certainly don't get paid much for the time involved in them, but this is a hobby, not an avocation. When I do a show, I am offloading items I don't have space for, and I want them to sell so I can perpetuate the hobby. That doesn't mean it becomes a fire sale, it just means I'm comfortable with my pricing. Some things sell, some don't. The greatest piece at my table was priced at $85 - lots of fondling, but no buyer. I'm happy enough to keep it because it is flat out gorgeous in my opinion. Little bowls the size of a ring dish, hey, they really sell between $8-12.

I guess that sounds like I'm standing on a soapbox, and I apologize for that. When I posted about my first show, I got a lot of feedback about how I was underpricing myself, and I don't believe that. I'm just hitting a different portion of the demand curve.

Shows have their stories. For this one, I couldn't move those puzzles to save my life. Then, Sunday afternoon this family shows up. The boy wants a puzzle. He's putting his hands on it "I want this". Momma says no, I'll get you a car (for $1 - I have these little colorful cars I made to draw people to the table. Sold 29 of them this weekend). The puzzle is $8, and really is a pretty blasted nice puzzle, priced down for day 2 because nobody bit on day 1, I have 36 and altogether they are heavy. He's banging his hands on the puzzle, and she's telling him it is a car or nothing. This kid is just about on the edge of tears. Sale = $2 for cars. I was laughing for most of that episode, thinking what do I have to do to sell a stupid puzzle. Oh well. My kids like them a lot, and if they lose a piece, I have about thirty extras.

Didn't mean to be so windy. It was a fun weekend, and is still very much on my mind.

David B.

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