Sunday, August 24, 2008

How Much Do I Need to Bring?

This was the question I desperately searched in vain to find an answer to as I began to prepare for my first show. When will I know if I have enough work? An artist I met with the other day posed that question to me.

The simple answer, bring as much work as you can. The problem with this answer is that it can lead to frantic late nights, making a few dozen more pairs of earrings, ten new pendants and a couple of bracelets for good measure.

You will always have the wrong inventory, or not enough. Someone will want something in a color that you are sold out of. Or a style that you only made a few of, and they sold better than expected. The reality is, that it is impossible to give an adequate answer to the question. It is fraught with all sorts of complications from the nature of the show, your price points, and maybe even the price of gas that week, or the weather.

Having said that, you can look at it another way. What is your goal in terms of sales for the show? How much do you hope to sell. Since it is rare to sell out every item that you does happen, but not too often, could aim to have at least 1.5 to 2 x's the dollar amount of your goal in sales.

How do you set your goal for sales, you ask. How many hours is the show? What is the average sale that you make? What if you made one or two sales per hour? How much would that represent in dollars? Or what are your costs of doing a show, plus your time to do the show, plus a profit? Still stumped? How much can fit in or on your display and not look overly crowded, or overly sparse? Have that much and maybe another 30 to 50% to restock as a minimum.

Having more than these amounts is not problematic, but sometimes having no clue as to how much to make can hold people back from making that step. These answers are not perfect. They are just ways to think about how much work you might need. With experience, you will develop a sense of what is right. But the best way to learn is just that, through experience.

So, ...what are you waiting for?

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