The last week passed in a daze and I never found time to post. Initially I had no time because I was trying to get new work finished prior to driving to Philly for the show--I was still grinding and polishing new glass for it at 1:30 pm last Wednesday and we were supposed to have left in the early morning. We ("we" being me, my mother and Jessie) left at 1:48 pm and got in at 2:00 am after two McDonald's meals and a marathon of driving. Then the next day was the first day of set-up. We weren't supposed to be able to unload the car or get into the hall until 3:00 pm, but fate was smiling on us and exhibitor services let us in just before 11:00 am. Then began the set-up.
This year, again for the first time, Bill (of Black Cat)
and I split an additional booth for our new collaborative work. It was
only a 10 X 10, and we only had five new pieces and three older pieces
in it, but I was very happy with how it turned out. Unfortunately I do
not appear to have taken a picture of the whole booth--just the
individual pieces. I hope John got one. I also don't have a picture of
Todd's best new work which was a 6-1/2 ft long 3 ft wide flat wall
sculpture of a man flying (or being flown by) a kite. It was the hit
piece of the show. I am going to have to check with John on that one
too--I'm sure he got a good one.
Even with the additional booth to set-up--I was in glass with the extra booth next to me and Bill was in mixed media a few aisles away so John, Todd and I set-up both of the booths--we finished by Friday at 5:00 pm and we could have been out even sooner if we hadn't puttered. We even had almost everything priced--something I had never done before until the first day of the show.
Good thing we were so prepared, too, as we wrote our first order right after the show opened on Saturday, and then we just kept writing. Usually I have time to post during the show, but we pretty much wrote orders non-stop for the entire show for the first time ever! Not posting meant I didn't get to use the line I had been saving up for days (since the Princess Bride quote posts): "Hello, my name Is Inigo Montoya. You love my glass, prepare to buy."
Now let's talk about the show itself. Hargrove exhibitor services was, as always for me, very nice and accommodating. The load-in and load-out were the smoothest and easiest I have have done in Philly. I was a bit disappointed that I never saw Rebecca, the new show manager who replaced Christine. I expected her to make a point of going around to personally greet the the artists. I also saw my section rep, Allison, less than I expected to, but I have since discovered that there were only two section reps for the entire floor so I'm amazed that I saw her at all. I was also dismayed at the email that went out a week before the show stating that exhibitors were limited to two additional crossbars. Unlimited free crossbars have been one of the best perks for this show for years and many of us count on them--or at least count on finding out in a timely manner that we won't have access to them. A one-line notice buried in the weekly show email one week before the show is *not* a timely manner. Fortunately, Hargrove did not stick to this rule, and, as far as I know, everyone who needed crossbars got them.
The floor set-up itself was also disappointing--again, not unexpected with only two section reps. There were several places in our area (the back of the glass aisle) where either exhibitors never showed up or the floorplan was just weird and these areas had to be covered with carpet and furnished so they didn't look so bad. The carpet that went down was a real mismash, and the tables and chairs used to furnish the empty space lasted one day until they were carted off somewhere else. When an artist down from me asked Hargrove to provide replacement furniture, she was told that they would just be stolen again so what was the point. If I had seen the artists who took them, I would've hunted them down and gotten the furniture back--rent your own if you need it, don't make our section look like empty crap.
The new exhibitors in the back were also stuck in a horrible place where the aisle just ended and there were no curtain walls or anything--just the back of the hall and the restrooms. As I walked the hall I saw several other places where the floorplan had large open holes and some of them didn't even have carpet. With the increase in booth fees and the decrease in show support staff, I would like to see where the additional money went as it certainly wasn't to making the show look better.
Now, negatives out of the way, let's get back to buyers and sales. I again found this show to be increasingly a regional show with a majority of my new accounts coming from either Pennsylvania or from its bordering states. There isn't a good show in the west that I know about so where are those buyers going? Orlando? New York? Nowhere? Origin aside, the buyers were there, and they were active. In spite of the negatives, it was our best show ever. We took over 40 orders with an average size of just over $600 and sold 898 individual pieces. The work chosen ranged from Todd's littlest wire and glass ornaments to the large, new collaborative work with Black Cat. There were buyers for everything, and they placed good orders. There were also several good customers whom I did not see so I need to check-in with them.
Most of the orders are due by the end of May, and we don't have another show scheduled this year so I am going to have to step up to the plate on my follow-up and on-line marketing to galleries so we get reorders. Todd had such a good show that right now he would rather I didn't follow-up so he wouldn't get any more orders, but he'll get over having to work. Next task: finishing the input of orders into the POS system, sending Bill his steel orders, Todd his wire orders, and putting together the firing schedule for the glass. Also need to get an image to Merle for an ad in the spring edition of Niche magazine.