summer wholesale shows

People are always asking me if the summer wholesale shows are worth doing. You bet they are. Sure, you're not going to generate the business that you do on the winter show circuit. That's just the nature of the industry. However, many crafts makers drop out of the summer shows so you have much less competition for the buyers' dollar. It's also an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your buyers, since they aren't in the same kind of rush to "do" this smaller show as they are during the winter. There are fewer buyers, but my perception is that they are more qualified, i.e., serious buyers, and they don't have as many lines to pick from. All of this works in your favor.

Using the Rosen show in Philadelphia as a benchmark, my guess is that on average in the summer there are only sixty per cent of the exhibitors that attend the winter show, and they write only sixty per cent of the business that they did the previous winter. And, since the shows are experiencing constant growth, this equates to roughly half of what these same exhibitors will write at the subsequent winter show. Considering that the average break even point for a craftsperson at a major wholesale show is about $6,000, your odds of making good money in the summer are good. And don't forget: regardless of what the promoters say publicly, it's only natural for them to look more favorably on exhibitors who work with them through the lean shows, when they are planning their good shows. This warm, fuzzy feeling can manifest itself in better booth location, or whether you get juried into the good shows or not.

Having said that, here is my humble prediction for order writing at the Buyers Market this summer and next winter. I've broken the dollars down into a few main subcategories, too. If your own break even point is $6,000, then in ALL categories the show is worth doing. Just remember that these are averages: some of you will do better than these numbers, and some will do less. If you are doing a lot better, then you get a cigar. A lot less? Better take a look at what you are doing before the next show.

 
 Summer 2000
Winter 2001
Fiber
$10,000
$20,500
Ceramics
12,000
23,000
Jewelry
13,500
26,500
Wood
15,000
33,000
Glass
23,500
49,500
Average exhibitor
$15,000
$30,000

After you do the shows, let me know how good my forecast was for you personally. I'm curious, to say the least.

 

   
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