Coffee was a Dancing Goats blend from Kavarna with an extra shot of Espresso, the desultory chatter of buyers and vendors for music. It's just shy of 1:00 pm on Day 2 of the Atlanta's Mart, and it's not over till it's over. That said, it feels over. Down the aisle from me are a lovely couple who do handcarved wooden picture frames, and they haven't yet written an order. Next to them is a jeweler who creates exquisite high-end torchworked glass jewelry, again, zip. Almost zilch and nada are right around the corner from them by me. The jeweler next door is closed today for Sabbath, the potters across the aisle have written an order, and I have plenty of time to blog--no orders so far today. But it isn't over till it's over.
Doing a show it's sometimes very hard to keep the bigger picture in sight. We focus so much on immediate goals for the show--this many line sheeets distributed, this many orders written--that we can fall into despair if the reality doesn't meet our expectations. But it's not just about one show--and it's not all about the sales at the show. As a business person, I have to evaluate success on so much more than sales. Did I introduce a lot of prospective buyers to my work? Did I build interest in and future sales momentum for it by doing the show? Most important, can I afford to consider the entire show cost an advertising expense instead of a revenue-generating activity? Now wrap your head around that concept.
If you are relying on sales from a show to make the rent, the inevitable desperation oozing from your pores on day 2 with no sales cannot help but drive buyers away from your booth. Sure, the determined buyer will most likely place an order from you no matter what, but there are too few of them. The orders I have written from this show have been evenly distributed between people who are drawn in by the laughing and banter who end up seeing the one thing I have that fits their shops, and people who see the work form a distance and come in expressly to buy. That trend may be because it's the expensive work that's most visible and the affordable work that you practically have to be on top of to see. Whatever, it's the attitude that counts.
That's probably enough for today. Time to work on order entry, the website, all the other things I can do while pleasantly smiling at passersby. The mermaid and fish at the top is one of my favorite new pieces Todd did yesterday, and I am about ready to put on the crown above and march up and down the aisles with a sceptre anointing people as buyers for Siyeh Studio... Wait, Todd could do that...