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1st Saturday Arts Market, Sept 5th – Recap

September 7, 2009

A little heat and a little rain… just another road trip.

This was a four hour evening show in the Houston Heights area.  We truly didn’t know what to expect, since the weather report called for scattered thunderstorms, and it was a holiday weekend.  We rolled out of McKinney at 8am Saturday morning and arrived at our daughter’s house a little before 2pm.  After a brief leg stretch and a cold drink, we left Hemi (our Miniature Schnauzer, Hemingway) in the care of our granddaughter, and headed to the venue.  Our son-in-law had graciously volunteered to help us set up, and it was amazing what a difference it made having two more hands and a strong, younger back.  Once the car was unloaded, and the tent and the ProPanels were up, we sent him on his way with great thanks.  The booth was ready this time an hour before show time.

A gentleman started setting up next to us, heard thunder, looked up at the sky, and started tearing things back down.  He hauled his stuff back to his vehicle and left.  We, on the other hand, had made sure our side panels were attached and rolled up, and felt we were fine unless a hurricane struck.  The side panels were a good idea, because about midway through the show, it started to sprinkle a bit.  We were fine from the front and had another booth with panels on the other side of us to block the very light rain.  We did drop the back panel, just to keep those few drops that came down on our backs between our tent and the one behind us… and finally dropped the sidewall facing the empty booth next to us, just to keep the ProPanels from getting wet.  It never rained hard, but it was enough to dampen the flow of traffic at the show.  Up to that point, we had been pleasantly surprised at the number of people who had come out on a holiday weekend.  We surmised that a lot of them had chosen not to travel, and the show was an inexpensive diversion.  Another vendor noted that it was also “date night”, and we were part of the night’s entertainment.  That was fine with us.

Our one sale came in the first hour, but they bought three pieces, so we ended up paying for the show and the trip, and broke even.  Later in the evening, a lady looked long and hard at one of my larger pieces, a 16×20, and we really thought she might come back.  It was one of those potential customers that you think you just might see again at the next show.

Mitch Cohen, the show coordinator, was true to his word, and there were no electrical outage problems this time.  He suspects that part of the problem may have been vendors using too many really long extension cords (against the rules), creating a drain on the power.  All I know is that the lights stayed on, and everything went smoothly for us as usual.  Mitch does this show really well in our opinion.

Was it worth the 10-12 hours, round trip, on the road to just break even?  If you’ve been following our gypsy artist adventures, you know I’ll say yes.  We planned for this, and didn’t expect to make much this year.  In fact, we truly expected to be in the hole bigtime by the end of the year.  For the record, after our wonderful experience in Ohio two weeks ago, we actually show a profit on our show costs vs. income for the year so far.  A very, very modest profit, of course, but in our view, black numbers are a lot better than red numbers on the spreadsheets.

It was, again, a very friendly crowd, actually a little larger than we expected.  We got a lot of visitors to the booth, and the work got a lot of close looks and continues to draw very favorable comments.  And we maintained our sales streak, having had sales at the last five consecutive shows.  We thnk we’re doing the right thing, at the right time.

We’ve prepaid our booth fees for the next two shows in October and November.  The show goes back to daytime hours on October 3rd.  Aside from those two, we don’t have any other shows scheduled for the rest of the year.  Time to recharge the batteries a little, get some non-art things done, and continue to develop the paintings.  Our optimism remains strong.  It can only get better.

A couple of photos here…  we replaced the white price cards with a gray card stock, and I think that cut down a lot of the “busy” distraction on the walls.  We think we’ve got the right number of pieces up, and a good mix of sizes.  In this economy, we try to keep a good stock of 5x7s on the walls.  They are fun to do, and they have served us well.  They’re priced low, but we think it’s reasonable in the current economy to have something people can actually buy.

DSC09838 cropped view

DSC09839 cropped view

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer B. permalink
    September 8, 2009 10:28 pm

    I like the new card stock, great idea!!

  2. September 10, 2009 7:41 am

    Hi Ralph,
    What a gorgeous setup you now have! Those ProPanels look awesome and really give the work a great place to look good hanging from. Congrats on the sales too!! This economy is really driving all of us crazy and any sale is a bonus…if you’re in the black you are ahead of the game.
    I’m really impressed with how well your work looks in your booth and the frames look excellent too….of course it always helps to have killer work in those frames too, and you’ve got that Ralph…nice going!

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