I'm back! A bit late, though, Tuesday instead of Monday. Last week was an extremely extremely busy one, and this one doesn't seem like it's going to be any easier. In fact, the next few weeks are going to be busy, but I'll talk more about that on Thursday, on my next post.
Today, I want to talk about last week indeed. I went to Laughlin River Run as a vendor, for the second year in a row. What's River Run? It's a motorcycle rally that takes place in Laughlin, Nevada every year. Last year I tried it for the first time (both as a visitor as a vendor), and loved it. Last year I had a great time and this year was no different. Great people, great place, great fun. This year, however, I fell a bit short on sales, compared to last year. All day were good on sales, except the last one, Saturday, which was the most important. It was still the day were I sold the most, just wasn't enough. I wanted to write about this, because, if you have ever been an artist/vendor, you know the frustration that can come from selling your work at a show, be it a trade show, an expo, a convention, a rally, etc. As I mentioned, I had a great time, I really did. I love talking to customers, to fans, to fellow artists, etc. The feedback and the networking are just a few of the things that make all the effort worth it. But, let's focus on the part that is not so easy sometimes: making a profit from a show.
There isn't really a bullet proof plan when it comes to make sales (just look at any example, from the micro businesses to the corporate businesses). It's a constant-changing-game, and trying to keep up is the name of it. This past weekend was an example of how sometimes things are out of your hands: sales were down on the last day due to rain. Could have I done something to change the results? Obviously, nothing I could have change regarding the rain, but probably other factors. And that's the part, that in my opinion is extremly important: to plan your event for a good turnout, money wise. That way, when things out of your control don't go as planned, you're still on the safe side. Of course, this is easier said than done (as I've exemplified with my experience last week). But, as in most things in life, it's a matter of constant effort and dedication.
In my particular case of the River Run sales, something that probably made a difference this year, was the change of price in two items. They went up on price, one of them being a key seller last year. However, I had to raise the price in order to justify the amount of work put into it. Do I think that if I had kept the price the same I would have made better sales? I do think so... but just slightly. Of course, that slight difference would have made me go into profit, but at this height of the game, I am not just trying to "survive" a show, but had a decent profit. By decent, I mean something worth the time and effort. Don't get me wrong, I seriously would do shows for free, if I could, that's how much I like them. But, at the end, the profit of one is what decides how well you are in the other. Anyway, as I mentioned, at this height of the game, I am trying to sell smarter. Yes, I am sure I would have sold more of the forementioned items if I had kept the prices down, but I rolled the dice... and will keep doing it whenevere there's a chance. Trying new things, new approaches. Some of them work, some of them don't. That's how new things are discovered, new paths. That's in fact how I approach my artwork, often getting out of my comfort zone (within the pin-ups realm) and tyring something new. Some times it works, sometimes it sucks (fortunately, it works most of the time).
So, the fact that this particular item didn't sell as well with the new price doesn't mean that I will go back to the lower price... at least not for now. There are always more shows, more venues. If this item still doesn't sell well after many tests, then I will have to decide if I lower the price, or just drop it from my inventory. Regardless of which path I'm taking, I know that I have to be improving things on my end, and also try to be innovative. So, I'm already looking into new things that I can sell featuring my artwork, as well as new venues. After all, the point of this game is to keep moving. :)
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.