For a variety of reasons (mostly that I kept forgetting to sign up), I stopped doing this show. Well, this year I thought I should do it again. My reasoning was that my newer artwork more reflected the location. I am doing much more nautical art and I figured it would be a great fit at this show.
I got up early the morning of setup and arrived at the show location 10 minutes before the allowed setup time. I like to do this whenever possible just because it is easier to setup when you don't have to contend with your neighbors.
When I got to the check-in area, there was no one there. Not even the usual line of vendor vehicles waiting to get in. Did I get the date wrong? No, there were lots of barricades up and other pre-show stuff going on.
I found the person in charge and I was in the right place, I was just the first one there. They showed me to my space and I started setting up. About 20 minutes later a few other vendors started straggling in.
Then I noticed who the other vendors were...
There was the window replacement contractor, and the local credit union, and the made in China seller, and the made in Vietnam seller, and, well, you get the idea. When I had a chance to walk the show, I found that maybe 5 out of 50 or so vendors actually made their own stuff.
There were many other changes to this show as well. Like music that didn't fit the theme, and making visitors pay to get into all of the event except the vendor section.
Needless to say, my sales were not very good. And, I was really disappointed.
And what did I learn from this experience?
Two things: First, shows change and you've gotta know when to keep doing them and when to stop. And second, heed my own advice. Investigate a show before doing it.
If you want to avoid the mistake I made, get this book, The 35 Questions to Ask Before Applying to a Show: