Read this blog to the end, because it’s amazing what a difference a few hours makes.
I’m writing this blog at 1:15 PM on Tuesday afternoon, so what I’m saying now is subject to modification, perhaps towards the end of this entry. As of now, the show did not go well. It’s an expensive show for exhibitors, so they have to sell more than the usual amount just to make expenses. Sales after that are the profit. As of this moment, I have not made expenses, nor have several other dealers that I’ve spoken to. I’m sure there are some exhibitors who’ve done well, but personally I haven’t met them. Attendance was noticeably lower than last year, when the aisles were crowded each of the four days of the show. Attendance was good on Saturday and Sunday and lighter on Monday and Tuesday.
In asking around, I found out the following. A dealer in Russian objects did not make his expenses. Another dealer in decorative objects and jewelry had a difficult time selling decorative objects but was able to make a profit with jewelry. A dealer in clocks was able to make a small profit. One dealer in paintings did not sell a single painting. Another dealer who sells general merchandise was pleased. He had sold a mirror, a piece of furniture, a bronze, etc.
I’ve got mixed feelings about the attendance at this show. The show promoter is very generous with the distribution of free tickets. Consequently lots of the attendees at the show are there solely for a good time. It’s better than a museum — the admission is free, you can touch or buy anything, and you can ask questions of experts in their fields. My feelings are mixed because it’s difficult to deal with the many attendees who are there for amusement. Sitting in the booth for eight hours, repeatedly putting up with comments and questions like “Are any of these items for sale?” “Did you make these?” “Do you have a pair?” is tough. On the other hand, there is a possibility that someone who had no intention of purchasing anything could get sufficiently motivated and make a purchase.
I’m not sure why I print and distribute business cards. My wife was once in a booth where they sold purses. She asked for a business card and was told by the owner “No, I don’t have any. Cards are for people who have no intention of buying.” I’m not that cynical, but I am realistic. If I take a wild guess, I estimate that I receive one inquiry for every 1-200 cards that I distribute. Pretty low percentage, but if it results in a sale or purchase, it was worth it.
P.S. It’s now 9:30 PM on Tuesday night. The show finished a few hours ago and now we’re all packed up and anxious to get back to New York. We’ve been gone a month, so I’m champing at the bit (can I tell you how many people are wrong when they say chomping on the bit?) to get home. The show ended with a flurry of business for the last three hours — very exciting and very gratifying. We sat at the show for 35 hours of exhibition time and did 75% of our business during the last three hours. Some of it was to people returning after they’d seen something in our booth on previous days, but most of the business was to people who saw us for the first time. Business cut through many categories, a Pairpoint puffy, KPM plaques, Tiffany glass, an Icart etching, a Le Verre Francais vase, but it’s still strongest for French cameo glass. Thanks to each and every one of our clients. Their business is truly appreciated.
If you like my blog, please let your friends know by sending them a link. Then check out my new Tiffany, Daum, Gallé, Webb and R. Lalique acquisitions. I just listed some important Tiffany vases, straight from a private home. Here’s the link. chasenantiques.com