I have a real problem participating in more than 4 or so shows a year. If I sell a lot at a one show (:D), then I have a hard time replacing inventory by the time the next show comes around (:(). So, it's difficult for me to sign up for some shows waaaaaaayy in advance because I have no idea if I'll have enough bears to take. I create VERY slowly, so it takes awhile for me to get a good stock of bears made. Sigh. Any thoughts??
Takes me forever to get my bears made, too. I make about two bears a week working at top speed, which I often can't do because I'm mom first and bearmaker second (even though bearmaking IS my income producing job.)
I was overwhelmed prepping for my first show in April (Nevada City, CA) and I only managed to get eight bears made for it. That took me about six weeks! So the very slow pace at which I work will also be a limiting factor in my ability to attend shows as well. Nevada City is a great venue and relatively close to me, and a town so full of charm and great eating, that I'll probaby make that one a "for sure" annual event from here on out.
Beyond that, I'm still looking at how my timeframes fall into place. This April looks different than last April because I had only just started in the industry back then. Now, with regular eBay listings (and some to come soon here to the Intercal board), plus retailer commitments, I make more bears per month but have less opportunity to build inventory with them because they're otherwise committed.
So... yes... <sigh>... no easy answers to this one.
I agree - I used to do about ten shows a year (I can't believe it myself!) - but now I'm down to about four or five. Here in the UK some of the big shows have gone down so there are fewer that are worth doing. Also, as my bears have become more complex over the years and take longer to make, I can only cope with about five shows.
My husband and I have just started up our own company publishing greetings cards - so a couple of MAJOR trade shows loom on the horizon, cutting down even more the number of bear shows I can attend! :)
I read about your new greeting card venture somewhere, Christine... maybe in one of the teddy trade magazines...?
Anyway... it's wonderful to have you aboard here. Welcome, welcome, welcome!
PS I "know" you from what I've read as "Christine Pike," but do you prefer, "Chris?" I ask because you signed your post that way.
Shows? Shudder! My biggest nightmare. All that expense to set up a table and then a lottery to see if they sell or not - gulp! As Chris mentioned, our shows here in the UK have been a bit of a concern lately. That aside, I used to do about half a dozen shows a year, but I'm ruthless now and if I don't enjoy one, I drop it.
So far this year, I've only done two shows, both big ones ... one went brilliantly and the other was a long, long drive for no apparent reason. So, I didn't have any more shows booked for the entire year until I relented last week and booked an old favourite of mine for later this year and it happens to take place fifteen minutes up the road from my home. Lazy eh?
LOL Paula!!! I have a major show just 15 minutes up the road from me too (ABC show in Schaumburg, IL) twice a year... but I have yet to enter!!
I have not done a show yet myself... mostly because I sell them on my website or eBay right away. I'm starting to think about doing that ABC one sometime though....
I totally agree ladies. I too have cut way back on shows. For the last few years it seems shows have been way down. I remember when I started nineteen years ago when people would buy five and six bears at a time. Things just aren't the same. (I guess this is aging me) :/
I have only done one show this year so far in Nevada City Ca. I use to travel all over the US. Things have gotten so expensive, and when you don't do well it is very depressing.
Now I do mostly Ebay, my website and a few shops when I can. Through the years this business seems to take a tole on the old neck and back if you know what I mean.
I still can't seem to totally give it up though. As many of you have said, when you are working on that face and it starts talking to you if makes it all worth it. :)
Thanks everyone for the kind words on my bears. I appreciate it.....