Sunday, October 12, 2014

Maine Craft Weekend, Day Two

So, Day One didn't suck, or not too badly, anyway; which is to say, at least I'm in the black on this event. We got about seven visitors, all of whom were either students of mine, previous customers, or drive-bys. Knowing that I won't actually lose money puts me in a much better mood to appreciate that events such as this often need some time to grow, and I can hope for improvement every year. Also, I've still got all of today! At art fairs Sundays are usually the least-good day, but not always, and today is much warmer and sunnier than yesterday - a great day to get out for a drive, maybe visit some studios.

The craft beer - Gritty McDuff's - was a huge hit. With Doug. I favor the hot spiced cider, though I learned it's best to enjoy it also in moderation. Otherwise, surprise juice cleanse! Not to be all TMI.

It's odd to do a post-mortem before the event is over, and I don't wish to disparage anyone's efforts; I know a lot of hard work at the Maine Crafts Association went into the creation and planning of this event. They are taking a different approach than I have in organizing the Pottery Tour, which happens in the spring, and it's valuable for me to look at what they've done and see how it compares to my approach. So, a few thoughts:
  1. In creating this event, MCA went with the-bigger-the-better. They probably didn't have much choice really, since they are a huge statewide organization. I've been taking a grow-as-we-go approach, the idea being to grow the audience at the same time we grow the event - I don't want 100 customers to have 80 studios to choose from. My thinking is that I'd rather the participating studios all have successful events, and then invite nearby studios for next year, instead of everyone having a slightly crappy event in the hopes of growing into success in following years. As it happened some people had crappy events anyway, so starting small was no proof against that. 
  2. Not sure the craft breweries are a logical pairing. Sure, there's bound to be some overlap in the audience, but a brewery tour seems like a very different event than a craft tour. If you are on a brewery tour, do you really want to stop at the pottery studios? Alternate? Also, not to be a pearl-clutcher about the whole thing but is a beer-tasting road trip really a good idea?
    I sent a few people to The Liberal Cup yesterday - though they were looking for lunch, not brew - but got no visitors who came to me from there, or any other brewery.
    Also, I can't say the word "breweries." It keeps coming out "brurries."
    Ooops, customer, gotta go.

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