Well, the OVCC show that I was part of this past weekend was a success and it wasn’t. First the successes – I did manage to have a few sales (a huge thanks shout out to a fellow vendor who shopped at my table!), I made some new and exciting contacts and doing another show was great practice for faster set up and tear down methods. Now the negatives – the crowds and shoppers just weren’t there this weekend. I guess the nice weather, while we had thought it might be a draw, actually kept people away. There is one other negative thing that I wanted to mention.
Now this may not be any of my business or my place to bring up and I hope I do not offend anyone who may read this that is “guilty” of this practice but, I find it bad form to start tearing down your table/booth before the end time of a show. I have seen this at a couple of shows that I have recently been part of and it shocks me every time. It is rude, disrespectful and in your face negative towards the show organizers, the other artists/vendors and perhaps more importantly, the customers at the show. How much thankfulness and respect towards the customers who come out to the shows and support all of us artists is demonstrated if we throw in the towel early and tell them with those actions that their interest and dollars are just not that important to us?
We all try so hard to apply and be accepted to various shows and to witness someone tearing down before the show is even over gives me the impression they did not really want to be there in the first place and/or were disappointed in their day and just wanted to be outta there. We all feel that way during the home stretch on a slow day at a show – that we are just ready to call it a day and go home and lick our wounds! I was bored and tired by the last couple of hours at this last show I did. My face was starting to hurt so much from smiling oh so happily at customers that did stop by my space, I was worried it was going to stay that way and I’d end up looking like The Joker!
If those that pack up early do not want to be there or are going to give up and leave, why apply to be part of the show in the first place? Why not forgo that show and let someone else have the space that otherwise didn’t get in? I realize that perhaps something may have happened last minute that may have required them to leave early. Perhaps they had already cleared it with the show organizers that they would need to start tearing down a bit sooner but, really, how much difference could sticking it out the remaining 15 or 20 minutes really make?
Again, perhaps this subject is not one I should be waxing on about seeing as I am still a “craft show rookie” and all but, I took the set up and tear down “rules” in some of my craft show applications seriously. They all seemed to state something along the lines of ” you are not to tear down/pack up prior to the end time of the show and if you do so, you may not be accepted back for another show with our organization”. So, because I am so new to this world, I do not want to jeopardize my acceptance chances by doing something so against the craft show etiquette I have read and heard about from show organizers and other vendors/artists. I also do not want any customers ever seeing me in that kind of light, remembering me from that show and making a judgment call based on my behavior not to purchase from me at a future show.
We should be happy and grateful to be there and able to do what we love. We are provided with a venue to showcase it and a customer base to sell it to without having to pay for store front, overhead and staff. For those of lucky enough to be able to create art as full time job, maybe, just for a moment, we should entertain the thought of what it would be like to go back to a tiny, impersonal cubicle, a constantly ringing phone, a demanding boss, a stinky, hot bus ride everyday, a never ending in basket and just as cranky and miserable co-workers….perhaps toughing out the last 1/2 hour or so of a not so great day at a not so great a turn out show would not seem so hard or taxing after all.