Monday, April 04, 2011

The Show Application Mystery, continued…

Today: how do you know what show IS the right show?

Juried VS. Unjuried     
Unjuried shows are pay-and-play events. 
Pay your booth registration and you’re in. 
Benefit: you’ll gain valuable experience and may even make some sales. 
The Down Side: because the shows are unjuried there may be a guy selling collectible, imported Bobble-Heads right next door to you. 
If you are a beginner at shows you may want to try doing some unjuried shows first.

Juried Shows are more selective. 
The juries try very hard to create a cohesive, appealing show for their customers and they do that by saying no to some applicants. 
Juried shows require you to submit images of your work, a listing of previous shows and often a small, non-refundable fee.

the RIGHT show
So-how do you know the show is right for you? It takes a lot of research and thinking.
·        Research-what is the feel of the show? Study the show website, talk to other artists, and visit the show if possible. Does it feel well-run, happy and busy or disorganized?

·        Research-how many artists return to the show each time? Is the show 100% rejuried? Are vendors allowed to return if they wish and the only juried spaces go to the empty spots? Does the show have very few returning vendors?

·        Research the location. If the show is a six-hour drive from your house, you must consider travel time and cost of gas. If you can't stay with a friend you'll have to find a hotel you can afford or consider or other alternatives. 

·        Think-how will my work look next to the other artists who were in the previous edition of this show? If the show is filled with quirky, moderne housewares with humorous designs and bright colors it just might not be the place for your dark, steampunk-style goggle collection. Likewise, if your traditional Swarovski crystal-and-sterling designs don't sell well at a show with a very edgy, gothic look you would not be surprised. The very best artists know their customer and know what their customer wants. They don't waste their time applying to shows where their work wouldn’t sell.

·        Think-how many designers are already selling in my category in this show? If you mostly make jewelry (and I am guessing you do) realize that the show may have so many jewelers applying that your work will really have to stand out to be accepted.
·        Think-am I really ready for a show? You need a cohesive body of work with a strong viewpoint and a ‘look’. If the first five terms you’d use to describe your work are ‘eclectic’, ‘assorted’, ‘mixed-bag’, ‘something-for-everyone’ and ‘hodge-podge’ then you, my dear, are not really ready for a show.
You are having fun.
You are making a lot of things.
You are being creative.
You are not in business. Yet. Get back into your studio and create a cohesive body of work. Maryellen Kim of Twist Style and a regular juror with the Richmond Craft Mafia is talking to you when she says ‘PLEASE do not list yourself as a "boutique" or "assorted" vendor!'

Thanks to members of the Richmond Craft Mafia and Raleigh’s Handmaidens for insight into today’s article. 

Stop back on Wednesday and find out how to get your application RIGHT!