Assuming I get my act together (assuming I even want to) and spend more time making pots, in which direction would I like to grow my business? One option is to return to doing art fairs, either wholesale or retail or both. I always liked doing the fairs, and only stopped when I had no studio after my divorce and had to get a job. Also, I thought I was getting a bit old for all that schlepping. It's no fun alone. Now I have a studio, my so-called "job" is flexible enough, and I have a willing beast of burden in my dear hubby, but I haven't gone back to the circuit because of the hurdles: I lack a van or truck; I'd need to build a new booth display ($$); and the hundreds of dollars in application fees, and thousands of dollars in booth fees, that I'd have to have before I sold a single mug. Doing fairs from a St. Paul-based studio is a much easier proposition to begin with, as there are probably 20 top shelf shows within a short day's travel from the Cities; there are approximately two that are so accessible from Augusta, Maine. Add to that, this year I really really need to rebuild my kiln, and it begins to seem out of reach for now.
Of course, that's the conclusion I always reach, which is why I am still not doing art fairs, despite that we'd both enjoy it. It may be that it won't happen until we just decide that it is happening, whatever it takes. And start mapping out what it will take.
I do know that I don't care to do rinky-dink fairs, ever again: they are no less work than the good fairs, with a lot less return. I haven't applied for St. Louis or the Uptown for years, and my work has changed alot. Maybe I couldn't get in anymore. One circuit I won't be applying to is the American Craft Council -- I've lost my regard for that organization, which seems to have squeezed out small studios in favor of big production shops. They won't be getting my $2000 booth fees.
Of course, it's only one option, or it might be part of a multipronged stategy. I still have some other ideas to consider.
Happy St. Gertrude's Day!
1 hour ago