Thursday, June 28, 2007

Livonia Art from the Heart 2007

As I posted yesterday, the Livonia Art from the Heart show was a very good one for me in best show of the year. However, 2007 was nothing at all like that.

In fact, almost every single artist I talked to had the same opinion, including those that had returned from the previous year like me. On a per-capita basis, I think I actually did better than last time. However, attendance at the show was WAY down...I'd estimate somewhere between 10%-20% of what it was last year. That was more of a drop than my better performance could make up for.

So what contributed to the poor attendance? Hard to say. The economy, especially in Michigan, is probably a significant contributing factor, but there had to be other factors (ones NOT outside of everybody's control) that contributed.

Last year, I saw a TV commercial for one of my art fairs. However, I can't remember if it was for the Livonia or Lathrup Village show. I definitely didn't see any commercials on TV this year, so if it was this show, that certainly might be part of the decline.

Another factor seemed to be poor signage. There didn't seem to be much street advertising for the show except in the very near vicinity of the show grounds. They probably needed signs further away to draw people there.

On the topic of signs, I was also upset that they couldn't be bothered to update the signs from last year to accurately reflect this years show. Last year, the show ended at 5PM both days, but this year they extended it to 6PM. However, all the signs out still said 5PM. The few patrons that came by after 5PM were mostly trying to rush through before the booths closed. That extra hour was an absolute waste.

In the end, even though I lost money, I decided to go back again next year. I don't have any better prospects for a show that weekend, I'm not about to give up on a show after a single year when it previously did well, and that show is incredibly close to home, so it makes it a very convenient show, especially when it's my first show of the year and I'm just getting things back in order (however, I can't say whether or not it will be my first next year).

Another factor that contributed to me signing up was a $50 discount if you pay for it on the spot. However, this is also a point that made me a bit angry. Apparently they also had this same $50 discount available last year, but nobody bothered to let me know about it. In fact, I even talked to a volunteer after the show, and I told him I was definitely thinking of returning for 2007, yet he never mentioned the discount. After complaining about it, they offered to also drop the $20 administrative fee for my 2008 application to make up for the mistake, but I'm still out $30.

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