We did a few small shows last year and lost money (these were small high school gym art and craft shows) when I factor in gas, replacement of inventory, tax, booth fee, and a commission to myself (no pay beyond that). Generally speaking, do shows scale? I mean, if 250 people came through one of our shows last year and we sold $40 worth of stuff, is it reasonable to expect $400 from a show with an attendance of 2500 people?
In order to do bigger art shows this year we need to sink a bunch of money in inventory, tow hitch, insurance (it hit me today that insurance isn't really optional). I am really panicking because this money comes straight out of my pocket and its not money I really have to spare. If we do these shows and average $100 per show I'm in a world of trouble. Not to mention if we do average the $250 per show I need to pay myself back right now for the out of pocket money the business will still show a loss for the year and slide deeper into the hole.
One of the shows we are planning on doing is the Westminster (MD) Art In The Park. The table fee is $75 and the estimated attendance based on previous years is 15,000 people. After show expenses (ignoring insurance but including both replacing the stock that sells and paying the artist commission) we need to sell $261 to break even. This will of course generate a sum of cash that can be used to pay myself back before paying out commissions.
I really want to break into the business and I'm setting myself up to do so, or at least stand a chance, but I am having trouble pulling the trigger for fear of the sales not being there.
Anyone who wants to chime in with experience or wisdom beyond "expect to lose money the first few years" will be much appreciated by me.
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