This topic has been inspired by a great Teddy Bear man Peter
In another topic on fairs it came up that dye hard fans will travel miles to a favourite show, so the question is what makes a certain show popular and another not
Controversy alert here.............. my observation of a medium level show that I attend is this, when I first started attending, the footfall was reasonable, a lovely show but middle of the road. Then a few well known popular artist were asked to attend, the collectors then attending skyrocketed, now I was delighted it opened up a whole new group of collectors to myself and other regular stall holders thus resulting in more sales. My fellow stall holder and I were in complete agreement "a crowd puller" was responsible for the up turn
Now I do know other factors go to make up the whole picture but some fairs in the UK are failing and it's not because of their location......so why? It may help revive the flagging ones
PS Don't shoot me and if you disagree then tell me LOLOL
Well...every time I say this on a forum I get into hot water so I am going to take great care with what I say and preface it with a mention that I am honestly not an elitist and I definitely think its important to give a chance to everyone equally.
However I think that a good show is juried. I think that a good organiser , if they know their stuff, can look at the market and decide who they need to make their show good or both artists and collectors alike.
Having a great mix of artists does two things. Firstly it encourages other artists to book. So if I know that Fenbeary Folk...Katie Rae Bears...Beatrix Bears ...etc ( those names are off the top of my head BTW...it's just an example ) are in attendance then I might think that it's worth a punt. I would think that if these people are going and I am not sure about the fair I might follow their example..if they think it's ok then I might too. I don't think am the only one who measures a fairs success this way. I also think that the opposite happens ...if certain people aren't on the list it might put me off. I think the success is driven by what bears will be there on the day. A busy fair is much better for getting seen.
That then brings the customers who, like Peter said, might travel a long way...wait outside for hours beforehand...to see certain artists work.
That does not mean it can't be successful without well established names...but it does guarantee ..I would hope .. at least some customers will come. So for new and less established artists there will be a benefit to having artists there who attract a following...those customers don't just come to buy from one artist...most come to browse all the bears.
So I think that in order to be a great show you need an eclectic mix of both good established and good newer artists.
To me quality is the main thing...I am not sure I want I attend fairs where the quality hasn't been assessed by the show organiser. It has been said before that how good a teddy is subjective. Well this is where I get into bother because I don't think it is subjective. I think whatever the style the quality is paramount. I think it's obvious which bears...from established and newcomers alike ..when a bear is worthy of being on a stand at a fair for sale amid those of other artists. I think the quality of the bears on the stands reflects on the whole show..and can affect the sales of everyone in attendance. It's about setting a high standard and keeping it high. That's what makes Hugglets a lasting success.
That makes a great fair.
I can understand the need for a mixture of well-known and not-so-well-known artists at a fair, all of whom do quality work, of course. It took me several years to get accepted into Linda Mullins's show in San Diego as a bear artist. I used to sell books and magazines, and I participated as a book dealer before I was judged good enough to exhibit as an artist. I worked hard on improving my designs and switched from faux fur to mohair and alpaca. Eventually I won a prize for the big alpaca polar bear who is my avatar, "Northern Light."
On another level entirely, I think that a good bear fair should have ample free parking and a food concession on site. People pay admission to come into the fair and buy bears. Paying for parking would take away from the funds available to buy bears.
I am going to agree with everything Jenny has just said. In order to bring in the collectors, the serious collectors, the shows caliber of workmanship must be top notch. In order to really do that the show should be juried. I have done many craft shows in my days, and I know for a fact, that the shows that brought in the money were shows that were juried.
I know that I have said this before, but being a collector of fine crafts, I have traveled far to attend a show that I knew would be worth the trip. I do not mean to say that the show has to be full of big names, but the show must guarantee to the public that the work is up to par. And yes the style of a teddy can be subjective, but the quality of good workmanship is not.
There are wonderful shows out there that are bringing in the public looking for a cute teddy bear. But the discriminating collector who wants the top of the line are not going to travel to these shows. I really think that that kind of show needs well known names. Reason being, these people have proven themselves. With that mix should be the new artists that are now on the ladder going up.
I also agree with what Plum Cottage Bears just said, free parking a must, and food is also a great addition.
Firstly I am sorry I didn't reply yesterday, we had a family death
Jenny, thank you, I know it must have taken a lot for you to post
I am such a doh, never realised what a juried show was LOLOL I completely agree with you all
Quality is paramount but also the need to have a range of prices that suit most pockets and I think that would be difficult to achieve if it was on a first come first serve basis, juried does insure a good mix, keeping high standards seem to be a key issue longer term
I am thinking of holding a show next year, my daughter has been on about it for about 2 years but I felt that I would not be able to attract the caliber of artist required to make it successful. However I now feel that I would get a reasonable number of quality artists, this is just in the planning stages at the moment but free parking, admission etc is on the list, location would probably be Lincoln