Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fryeburg Fair Fiber Center 2008 - personal report

Fryeburg Fair 2008 was very successful for me this year! I went into the fair with concern for the state of the economy. Not only has gasoline and fuel oil been running at an all time high, the real estate, stock market and financial industry have landed a blow that will take us all years to overcome!
The weather during the first two days of the fair created a pretty dismal fair opening with attendance being way down. It was unclear during those first days how the economy was affecting traffic and sales but by the end of monday, I was certain that fair week would not match those of the past years.
To my amazement, as the week progressed traffic flow picked up and days that historically were slow reached record and near record numbers. People were coming and people were spending! I can only speak for myself in this however from what I experienced during the week, it seemed that people were willing to spend money on practical purchases. Sales for wearable items and gift items as well as gloves, mittens, hats & scarves on the cold days sold very well and beyond my prediction given the economic situation.
I did experience a slow down in two of my most expensive items that I historically sell out of. Based on comments and body language, I believe that those sales were affected by their price. Though they are great values and less than they can be purchased for elsewhere, they are items that retail for over $100 and in spite of their popularity and people taking notice of them, I did not sell out as usual.
The other bright spot for me was Hairlock Painting sales! As the guest artist last year, I did not have the luxury of being with or near the work to experience peoples comments about it. This year I added a display that allowed me to show my work in my space allowing interaction with fairgoers and being able to hear and see their reactions to my work. That was very rewarding! I continually hear comments such as "I've never seen anything like it before.... This is beautiful work... How do you do this, it's amazing!" All music to an artists ears :-)
Rumor in the Fiber Center was that Art sales were not up to par this year. I believe that is because people are reigning in their expenditures and purchasing fewer luxuries and fringe items than they have in other years. Though I did not sell as many art pieces as I did last year, I was very happy with the sales I did have especially knowing that the people who bought them absolutely love them!
Additionally, I experimented with Wire & Fiber earrings that I have been creating. My space is very small for the amount of merchandies that I show there but I managed to find a hole and brought a small quantity to test the waters with. I was very please with the results. I had a number of different styles and was surprised that two of my favorites did not sell at all but I had a total of six styles and sold out of several of them. I priced them very modestly at $12US a pair for two reasons. First, this is all new for me and I really wanted to get some sales activity as a test for design purposes. Secondly, again because this is new for me, I did not want to invest in Sterling or fine metals at this stage. I had no idea if they would be well received and did not want to invest too much in materials that may never be used or be wasted while creating. It turns out that I wasted little. This is good because one of my pet peeves is waste and I am a great recycler, reuser, and thrift store shopper. I hate to waste anything! SoI learned alot and am encouraged by the results as well!

So in all and in the end, Fryeburg Fair has been another successful story for me! It is also a bittersweet event. I put in hours of work for my own preperation as well as many more for management of the building. Many 12-16 hour days are lived for days before, during and after to see it through. Additionally, I spend many hours thoughout the year organizing and working on the Fiber Center program. I love it and will not be ready to give it up for a while but as much as I love to see it come, I also love to see it go by. So now I take a breath and begin to make the journey for next year!

In the mean time, the Bermuda Fiber Festival which I organize has begun registration and I will be busy seeing that event through in early December!

More later!
Until then...
Thank you for reading :-)

No comments: