In 2016, Helen and I did a total of 5 shows across the year. One of them was a horse trial, one was the Craft and Design Show in Henley (now defunct,) then the BBC Countryfile Live, the Autumn Show in Derbyshire and a hunting event south of Birmingham. Although they were all good fun, these shows are just too expensive and don’t draw enough audience for my work. There wasn’t a single day of trading where I made my money back, never mind actually covering any costs or making a profit. Clearly it could not go on like that.
We didn’t do any shows in 2017, so we could focus on the new house and garden, and also to reconsider our options. Work on the house did not progress as planned, mostly because we just couldn’t get the local craftsmen when we needed/wanted them, so this will be an ongoing subject for at least another year (there’s also the question of money to finance it all). We did discuss what to do about shows.
It’s a tricky one. For now I have only booked one show, and that is the British Crafts Trade Fair in April in Harrogate. For the rest of the year I am planning finding out about local events, which should be a lot cheaper than the big events, and it should be easier to cover costs and make some profit. In theory, at least.
I’ve already figured out that your average street market is completely pointless, because you are competing with guys who import their goods from Morocco and Pakistan, and I simply cannot compete with their pricing. I reckon there must be some events where these guys can’t get in, and those are the ones I have to find.
In addition, there’s no point trying to sell artistic pieces at a street market, so I’ve started making stuff that is better suited for this environment. Wooden fruit, mostly apples and pears, always seem to sell. Candlesticks and tealight holders, door wedges, rolling pins for kids, bud vases, letter openers, key rings, and so on. I am slowly building up stock, and we’ll see how this goes at Harrogate. We will have one half of the stall showing some arty pieces, with a photo album of more work, and the other half dedicated to these lower priced items.
I’ll update you all as we go along, so check in regularly.