Okay, in another thread I admitted to being a little clueless about what's going on in the bear world. I've never been to a show and honestly didn't know they existed until I joined this group.
So, I'm hoping that you all can enlighten me on this subject a little more.
What does it take to be an exhibitor in a show? How much does it cost? How many bears do you need to take? Do you have to be invited? If not, how do you invite yourself? Any other relevant information that I may not have asked for?
There is an ABC show in St. Louis in March. I plan to attend as a visitor but it would be great to be sitting behind a table next year! Anyone else planning to attend this show?
I have not been doing shows for that long really but I very quickly learned there are shows and then there are shows.
That is, some are infinitely better than others...and they usually work out the same in terms of costs, time etc so pick carefully.
I'd visit as many as possible, if you are cheeky you could even contact the organiser beforehand and ask if you could bring a bear or two to show them your work...the good ones will always ask to see at least pictures ..if they don't then I wouldn't book.
Even with the invitational ones I'd guess if you don't ask you don't get so maybe you should approach the organisers and send pictures anyway.
I'd also ask the stallholders what they think about the fair....you'll get it first hand then.
I usually take about 15 or 16 bears, once upon a time I used to take 23 or 24 bears and it nearly killed me....obviously the bigger the bears you make the less you need to fill your stand.
I know there are people on here that know much more than me on this subject!!!!
You're in Illinois, visit the Schaumburg show in April! I'll be there, and probably also Laura Lynn, Amy and Jared from this board. Sue Ann, will you be there again? Gail, how about you? Anybody else? At least you'll get to meet some of us and browse lots and lots and LOTS of bears!
To answer your questions... bear shows are all really different. Some are very small and inexpensive, it's not impossible to find one of those for maybe $60-$80 entry fees, but DON'T necessarily expect a ton of bear collectors and sales at those shows. Other shows are very large and elaborate. Bright Star and ABC both produce series of shows around the country, and both have very good reputations and draw serious bear artists and collectors. I think Bright Star shows tend to be 1-day and ABC shows usually multi-day events. Bright Star shows are something like ~$150 a show, ABC runs into the hundreds. Many people find the outlay of finances to get into the bigger shows worth it, as you really can get a steady stream of enthusiastic bear buyers in the room that a very small non-advertised local show could not provide.
You do not need to wait for invitations to arrive to get into a bear show. Call the person running the show, explain your interest, and find out if there is even an opening first. There are a handful of shows that are VERY hard to get into, essentially if you're not already an exhibitor there you're not likely to get in. But it never hurts to ask. Most shows are not like that however, you just need to ask and they'll send you the application packet as long as they have the room. Some shows do require jurying by photo, these are not necessarily difficult to get into, they just want to make sure you are a serious level of bear maker and not someone that is going to undercut the entire room by selling $5 cloth garage sale bears.
The number of bears to take is up to you. If you do small bears, you might want to bring more. If you do large bears, bring less. Some shows offer 6' tables, some offer 8'. I think a general rule of thumb if you really don't know where to begin would be 12-24 bears on your table. I think what is more important is the presentation at a show, don't just sit them all on the flat table in a group. Visit shows and study how other people display theirs, so that each bear can be seen individually. Many people use risers, stands, boxes, or whatever else it takes to rise the bear up taller off the table and closer to eye level with the buyers. In my (limited) show experience, bears that are only table level are the most often overlooked.
Hope this helps! When I started doing bear shows (almost 1 1/2 years ago), it helped most just to visit other shows and see how other artists did things.
I will try to visit the Schaumburg show, but I'll have to make a trip out of that one. St. Louis is only a 50-minute drive so I'll definitely check that one out. My fiancee's parents live in Chicago so if we can make it a family trip we can stay at their place instead of a hotel. That's a good thing, cause I'm sure I'll need the extra money to spend at the show!
I've been slack, too, Jenny. Love the new avatar, by the way.
Great points you made, Kelly! I wish I could find a way to get to Schaumburg even as a visitor but the timing is always difficult because it coincides with the start of the school year and I need to be in town with my kids. It's halfway across the US so it's not an easy trip to pop back and forth to and from. :(
Sandi... In addition to the great stuff already posted, I wanted to elaborate on one point. I did my first and only show last April in Nevada City. I work excruciatinly slowly and despite taking months to build stock I had only about 7 or 8 bears, mid-sized (about 15" each on average.) So I bulked up my table with iron plant stands (which I used as risers/display platforms for the bears), photo albums of my work, a standing frame with pictures of my bears, any awarded pieces (I brought CHAUNCEY with his ribbon for display. I also used things like vintage wood wagons, and doll chairs, to add interest and color to my table. I brought a pretty silver soap holder (from a thrift store!) to hold my business cards, and two faux-floral arrangements in glass vases (from Ross, a discount shop!) to add texture and softness and color.
If I had just stuck my sad little 7 bears on the table it would have looked terrible. But with the "interior decorator" approach to my display, I think it went off very well, and I was very lucky to sell out. This was, by the way, a 3-day show; I think it's easier to sell out when you have three days worth of customers passing your table! ;)
I'm including a photo of what my table looked like, less as braggadocio on my part, and more as a hopeful illustration of how far you can go to "bulk up" your display with items that compliment, but don't take away from, your bears... but also allow you not to panic about bringing three dozen bruins to show!
Hello Sandi !!
Thank you for starting great post ! I only attended to 1 show before and I really need to learn
how/what to do at the show. I hope you will faind the nice bear show at your area !
Shelli !!!! what a beautiful display !! :clap:
I need the sense of "interior decorator" !!
Thanks for all the helpful input! I really appreciate all of the useful information and tips you've given. I hope to learn a lot when I visit the shows myself.
Thanks for the detailed pic, Shelli. Your table looks great having used a designer approach. Far from "empty" or "dull". And I am also not surpised that you sold out. Your bears are right there in the top of my favorites (and probably everyone else's too).
I remember, from a previous thread, Jenny's show table. That was also a really great display.
Your display looks wonderful and eyecatching. It's no wonder you had a great show - beautiful bears and a great display!
When I displayed at shows, I always took 4 pieces of PCV piping, about 14 inches long. I used them as table let entenders, so the table was higher and the small bears were more at eye leve. I used decorative tins to display my tiny bears. I bought lots of inexpensive, sets of tins that fit inside each other. They were great for putting on top of each other for different heights, and I transported the bears inside the tins. My whole booth fit inside a small travel bag, and it could be set up and taken down really quickly.
My whole booth fit inside a small travel bag, and it could be set up and taken down really quickly.
Brenda, that's my NEXT goal! Live and learn!
Thanks, everyone, for the compliments. They're appreciated!
Nevada City is a great show. Always the 1st weekend in April, and three whole days long! (F/S/Su), it's held at a beautiful old foundry with stone walls and gorgeous lighting (on the top floor, at least!), it's bears only and some wonderful ones at that. If you're in or near California or Nevada, you should consider stopping by. I'm not sure I'll do it this year -- I'm really just stretched so thin lately with life stuff, including my sons rather demanding gymnastics practice and meet schedule -- but I'm going to try to at least attend.
One of the Canadian artists, Patti Hendriks, from the London, Ontario area attended that show for quite a few years and it was one of her favourite. I don't know if she is still doing it or not, but I know she always talked about it as both a good show and a good time.
i am interested in participating in a teddy show, but how do i find one in my area?? i have read though all the posts for this subject, but can't seem to find any that will be in the fall in my area (new england)...
anyone have advice? is there a magazine i should be reading to get listings??
Hi neighbor!! OK, you aren't that close but you are still a fellow New Englander.
Love your website by the way!
As for fall shows in New England. There aren't many but I can help you out a bit.
Check out these websites for info on Shows in the NE area:
(Your goods would fit in great at almost any of the shows on the two websites above...they are shows that accept all kinds of hand crafted and manufactured toys!)
http://www.jonespublishing.com/jphome/j … lendar.asp
If you want more info on any, let me know! I've participated in or attended many of them! I can give some inside scoop! :)
wow thank you Daphne! those are great. i was looking over some of them, and i saw that the Maven Company one says by invite only...should i call them and ask? and, have you ever done the 'Winter Wonderland' one in Boston? It looked promising...i really want to try a show, and i think i can make enough stock for a fall or winter one...
thank you sooo much!! - teresa
The Maven Company..... just email them or call them!! I have no idea why any of them say Invitation Only as most will send you one if you ask for it! Never let that discourage you. Just contact them.
I have not done the Winter Wonderland one as I haven't ventured to NJ for a show... but JMK has a good reputation I think... they do for their antique shows anyway!
I have not done the Winter Wonderland one as I haven't ventured to NJ for a show
it says on that site that the winter wonderland show is in boston...maybe it is a show that changes locations?
i will call the maven company one, ooo, this is so exciting! maybe i will see you at one of these shows!
There's a nice little show in Bristol, CT on October 14th. Here is info on it:
http://www.bruinmischief.com/shows/bris … istol.html
If you wind up going, I'll see you there