Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The GPS is only as good as the Driver! Thank you AAA!

View Magnuson Park in a larger map

(Magnolia Park shown left, Magnuson Park shown right)

I have to say the best gift I have ever received is most likely my gps (aka Garmin). Ever since I started traveling to shows and having to find them, my gps has made it 100 times easier... even if it is now 4 years old and in need of an update! However, this last show in Seattle (where I should be somewhat familiar with the territory, as I did to go the University of WA way back when) I was lost, and very grateful that I had left early to go setup for the show (Best of the Northwest).

An issue with outdated maps, you say? Uh... No.

As I am blasting my 107.7 FM music, and following the directions I realize that this park it is sending me to (now seen out my driver's side window) does not look nearly big enough to have the Hangar in which this show is supposed to take place. Hmmm. I park. I look at my Garmin. Nope, I only see the 1 Magnolia Park. This must be the right area. I look at my watch and see that my husband will be back from his lunch break (and in front of a computer) in about 20 minutes and I decide I'll just look around while I wait for him to get back, and then call and see if he can find any info on the web. As I'm driving back toward the waterfront (thinking that's a good place for a hangar), I see an Office Max and decide to stop and pick up some duct tape which I had planned to get at some point before the show (to secure my highly sophisticated lighting system.) Lucky for me, I notice a AAA travel storefront next to the office supply store. Since I'm a AAA member, I decided to pop in and ask them if they could direct me to this mysterious hangar.

"Hello," says the nice young lady behind the counter, "can I help you?"

"Yes, can you tell me where the Art Show is this weekend?" Confused look. "The Best of the Northwest?" Nothin'.

"Is there an art show?"

"Yes, I'm supposed to set-up there today, but I can't find it."

"Well, let's take a look".

And that's when one very nice AAA lady explained to me that I needed to be at Magnuson Park, not Magnolia Park.

Oops! "Thank you!"

Gotta love AAA. And they didn't even ask to see my membership card! (Which every traveling booth artist should have.)

THANK YOU AAA of Seattle (15th Ave office)

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bottom Line... Show Season Begins!

Everyone always wants to know - how can this art thing be a full-time business? Well, this time of year, I can feel the same way, as I shell out money for inventory and show booths, and sit and wait until show season begins... well, not really sitting around and waiting. I have plenty of work to do!

And the real question people want to ask - how much money are you making?? Now I'm not one to divulge personal finances, but I will give you my Year to date run-down BEFORE show season begins so for those of you contemplating this lifestyle, listen-up. You need to squirrel away enough during the show season to make up for the off-season with expenses and booth fees to consider.

YTD 2011 EXPENSES (thru 3/11)

Purchased Inventory (i.e., giclee canvas prints): $240.95
Materials (e.g. paint, canvas, print paper, etc.): $1205.21
Show Fees (application and booth fees): $1230.00
Shipping (online orders - NET total): $76.67
Etsy Fees: $75.14
Other Fees (ebay, CC machine, memberships): $281.28
Paypal Fees: $32.06
Marketing/Adv: $90.99

Total Exp YTD: $3232.30

YTD 2011 Gross Sales (Before 1st show)

Etsy: $628.84
Imagekind: $798.18
Fine Art America: $91.34
Zazzle: $39.17
Commissions/Gallery Sales: $816.00
Ebay: $127.95

Total Off-season Gross Sales YTD: $2501.48

OK - Now you see the problem. And given that I need to contribute about $1200/month to our family income, that means I needed to put away about $4300 at the end of show season last year. Gratefully, being that this is my 6th year as a traveling show booth artist, I know to do this. If any of you are new to this lifestyle or contemplating it - REMEMBER to consider your off season expenses! Now, if you are one of the REALLY traveling show booth artists who travel to the Southwest or South to continue shows thru the winter - that's a whole different set of numbers...

Thankfully I made it thru another winter and just had my first show of the season last weekend, bringing me back to BLACK for 2011. Yea! A big THANK YOU to all my customers who made that possible. Now on to the next show!

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