Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wholesale Shows, How? Part 1

So far, I have posted about the Who, Where, What, When and Why of Wholesale shows. Now it is time to talk about How? I will break this into two parts. The first will deal with the applications, and the second will take on the actual process of doing a show.

So How do you go about doing a wholesale show? First you have to apply. The wholesale shows I am aware of require jurying to get in. But there are probably some specialty shows that do not have that hurdle. If you pay for the space, you are in.

The application process will vary, but more and more shows are jurying on-line. It is the easiest approach in today's digital world. Fewer and fewer shows are calling for slides, and more and more will not even accept slides, or will charge more to accept them. So the first step is get together a set of images to submit.

Before you begin picking out the pictures, you probably want to find out the image requirements for the particular show you are applying to. Some will ask for 300 dpi, 5 x 7 images. Others ask for 1920 x 1920 pixel images. It will vary from show to show. Find out exactly what the show requires, and meet those requirements. If you are not comfortable with formatting images to meet the requirements, then you may need to hire someone to show you how.

When a show is receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of applications to a show,...each with five or six images....and each artists submits their own ideas of what works..... You are smart enough to see why this quickly can become unmanageable. You need to conform to the criteria if you want to have a chance to get into the show. You do not want to be eliminated because you failed to take this important step.

Secondly, find out when the application deadline is. Ideally, you want to apply as early as possible. Why? Because then your images are at the beginning of the pack. You get the jury's attention when they are fresh and more easily engaged. Particularly in a category like jewelry, where there are many, many more applicants than there are spaces. By the middle of the category, a juror is likely to have their eyes glazing over, and tired of seeing things that do not inspire them. Your need to "wow" gets higher and higher the further back in the pack your application is received. Ideally you will have a group of images ready to go.

Now, let's talk about the images. Do not think range. Think story. Think style. You want to present a cohesive story to the jurors. What is your work about? Tie the work together by style and or color palette. Show your strongest work. The wow pieces that may be slow to sell but draw them into your booth. Jurors understand that you may sell lots and lots of simpler earrings at a show. But they want to see your best stuff.

Bruce Baker, as I have said many times, has a clearer understanding of this process of slide selection than I have seen anywhere else. I was fortunate enough to take his class on Slide Jurying, but you can get his CD's, if the classes are not possible. He will show you groups of slides that work, and that do not work. He will explain the subtlties of how slides are arranged and displayed, and how that will effect the order of your images. There is way more to this than it appears on the surface. I have seen a big improvement in the outcomes of my applications after taking his class. It works.

So, you have your images, formatted to the proper size. Now you need to apply. Take the time. Make the time. Sit down, and do it. Nothing can possibly happen if you do not apply. For those of you interested in applying to be one of the lucky artists at the ACRE show in the NPCG booth....the deadline is approaching. October 31st will be here before you know it. Do you want to be kicking your self in November for not even applying? I don't think so.

The applications usually will require the standard name, address, phone, email, etc. They will ask for information about the work you do. What is your technique? You do not have to get overly technical. Just layman's language of what you are doing with your media. When you upload each image, you will most certainly be asked to supply additional information about the item. Dimensions, price, the process. You can write this out in advance on a word processing program, and then copy and paste your responses in if you want to be able to refine and edit your text first. There may be character limits for each entry. Find out and stick to it. Otherwise your text may be cut off mid-sentence.

Finally, you will in all likelihood have to pay an application fee. This is usually somewhere between $25 and $50. This pays for the administration costs of the application process. It pays for the on-line service. It sometimes pays a small stipend to the jurors for their time spent jurying the show.

Then you wait. Wait and see the outcome of the jurying process. But regardless of the outcome, you took a positive step towards keeping your business moving forward. You submitted the application. Without that step, none of the rest is possible. Good job!

1 comment:

Tammy Vitale said...

Wow - this is great! Thanks for sharing...I plan to link to this for my readers, too.

I'm starting to think that everyone who blogs takes a dip in September/October. Maybe it's just that life speeds back up again after we've become used to the slower pace of summer. Here, it's still acting like summer so it's hard to step it up for the quicker pace of fall!