That was the total "profit" from this weekend's show, the 15th Annual Capital Jazz Fest. We didn't make our booth fee until 3pm on Sunday. Thankfully, we stayed with friends, so didn't have to pay for a hotel. The word profit is in quotes, because of course, it wasn't actually profit, given all the expenses which go into traveling to, eating during, and traveling home from a show.

So what happened? This was our first time doing the Jazz Fest, and we heard from old-timers that this year was unlike any other in terms of crowd and exhibitor location. Apparently in years past, the Artists' Market was positioned strategically between or around the perimeter of the two major stages, so concertgoers could easily shop between shows. Flying in the face of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," the venue managers decided this was not a good idea, and moved us to an inconvenient, confusing arrangement of booths clustered by the "B acts" stage, with none of us anywhere near the major stage! We had customers come by on Sunday afternoon, asking if we'd just arrived since they hadn't seen our booth (we'd been there since Friday night!). Add to that a torrential downpour from the tail end of a tropical storm for most of the day on Sunday, and you have a recipe for disappointment. But as always, we made the best of it. Some highlights:

Trimline Tent: On its first outing, it worked beautifully. What a joy to not have to worry about wind, or rain! It's definitely worth the extra money, and is extremely easy to set up and break down. We even gave out some of their promotional flyers to other exhibitors who want to upgrade from the traditional EZ-Up tent--hmm, I wonder if I get any kind of rebate for doing that, and providing a link to their site again? Oh well, even if I don't, they do make a great product.

New Products: I received many positive comments about the new clocks, and sold four. It's nice to know the new direction I'm pursuing is one which resonates with people. And, as always, the Ancestress Series shadow boxes and masks get lots of "ooohs and aaahs," but no sales this time. Since I had lots of time, I wrote a piece about the origins and techniques of the Ancestresses, which I will print, frame and display in my booth for my next major show.

'At the Worst Shows, You Meet the Best People': This is what my dear friend and fellow Art Salon member Marley says, and it proved true again. I met or reconnected with artists whose work I admire, including Woodrow Nash. Seeing his haunting, lifelike sculptures in person is very powerful, and seeing them in a beautiful, natural setting was very special.
I also met Florida watercolor artist Arthur Dillard, whose portraits of musical legends includes this, of Marvin Gaye.

And, most excitingly, I met three women artists who've agreed to become Artventuring Featured Artists! I'm very excited about each of them, so stay tuned for their interviews, soon to come!

So, all in all, it was a good weekend despite the lack of financial profit. Sometimes you profit most when you 'make' the least.

Lesson learned.


Sonji Hunt said…
I'm sorry that you didn't have a financially successful event, Michelle. That stinks. The vendors should get together and write the promoter about the change and how it compromised your sales. Well, at least you met some great people and didn't have to pay for hotel costs. And you tested out your new tent in peak nasty conditions. The money will come.
Sonji Hunt said…
And your booth looks nice. Very clean and uncluttered. I can't stand a booth that looks crammed with things.
Thanks, Sonji. You're right about the vendors getting together to let the venue know. I'd like to do the show again, but with the same setup, I fear it would net the same result.

We're pretty pleased with the booth, but as you know, it's always a work in progress...thanks for your positive comments!