The results of the Palm Beach Show, February 14-18, 2020

There was a nice crowd minutes before the opening of the preview party on Thursday night

Thursday, 5:45 PM. The preview party started about 45 minutes ago. There were 75-100 people on line a few minutes before the opening. I generally hate preview parties because I never make a sale, but I have a feeling this is going to be the one where it might happen. I’m probably kidding myself, but we’ll see shortly enough.

Thursday, 10:00 PM. Silly me! The preview party is over and it was a bust, as usual. Attendance was reasonably good and there were a few serious inquiries, but no sales. Some of my clients said they’ll be back during the show, so there’s hope.

Friday, 4:20 PM. The show opened at 11 AM. Attendance has only been moderate. I remember when we exhibited a few years ago at this show the aisles were jammed. Not this time. There was some interest and a few seemingly serious clients, but no sales.

We’re jammed into our small booth, about 20% of the size of our booth in Miami Beach. If sales go well, we’ll keep bringing out more merchandise from under the table. We couldn’t put it all out in this tiny space. It’s a calculated gamble that if we lower our costs, we’ll come out with a net profit. Even with a small booth our costs are considerably higher than they were in Miami Beach.

Friday, 7:00 PM. Opening day is over with no sales. Hard to imagine. At this rate, the Palm Beach Show will never see us again. I hope to change my tune by the time the show ends.

2:50 PM on Saturday outside our booth

Saturday, 3:00 PM. The show has been open for about 4 hours. Attendance is moderate and interest has been slight. No sales. Astonishing! I’m looking at the crowd and no one, absolutely no one, is carrying a package with a purchase. So we’re not the only ones who aren’t doing well.

Saturday, 7:00 PM. You know it’s a bad day when all you do is give out business cards. The more cards you give out, the worse the show is going and we’ve given out many. We once met a dealer years ago who said he didn’t have business cards. When we asked him why, he told us that people who ask for cards are not customers. Grumpy, but wise old guy!

Sunday, 2:45 PM The show has been open for almost four hours. We finally made the first sale of the show, a pretty Ernst Wahliss Art Nouveau sculpture of a maiden. A small sale but at least we broke the ice.

Thomas Kail and Michelle Williams (photo credit Pip Hurley, courtesy of People Magazine)

The lovely Michelle Williams and her fiancé Thomas Kail visited our booth several times to admire a few Tiffany lamps, but unfortunately they didn’t make a purchase. Hopefully they’ll be back before the show ends.

Attendance is the strongest today since the show began. Let’s see if that translates into additional sales.

Sunday, 7:00 PM The third day of the show is over. We made an additional sale, but we are nowhere close to meeting our expenses, let alone a profit.

Tune in on Wednesday for the final results of the show. I’ll be shocked if they’re good.

We sold this lovely oil painting on Monday

Monday, 7:00 PM Two clients have shown serious interest in purchasing our Tiffany 17″ Poppy table lamp. The way the show’s been going, I’m pessimistic it will be sold, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, it’s very difficult and depressing sitting for hours with nothing to do (except play spider solitaire and write my blog). We did make one small sale, but that was just a spit in the bucket. We have to sell something major to come out successful.

Tuesday, 7:00 PM Our disastrous show in Palm Beach is over. Now we have to race to Asheville, NC, for the National Arts & Crafts Conference. We’ll miss the first day of setup tomorrow as Asheville is 11 hours away by truck. We should be able to finish the setup in a day and a half on Thursday and Friday morning. The show opens to the public precisely at 1 PM on Friday.

I believe the Palm Beach Show was a bust for the following reasons. First the local buying public is getting really old. Most of them are past their collecting days. Second the show draws mainly from the local population and as I just stated, they’re not buying much. Some shows, like The Original Miami Beach Show, draw clients from around the world. Anyone who takes the time and effort to fly in, or drive from a distance, is a serious customer. Lastly the show promoters give away thousands of free tickets. If you live in the area and are bored, it’s a great way to spend the day. The show is as beautiful as any museum, so why not? Most attendees who come on free tickets are not buyers.

We haven’t exhibited at the show for the last four years. I had hoped we would do better this time in a smaller booth. Unfortunately we didn’t, so we will not be back. That’s too bad as it’s a lovely show in a great area, but we’re not in the business of losing money.

No shows until October 20, 2022, when we’ll exhibit at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show. Two weeks later we’ll exhibit at the Antiques + Modernism Show in Winnetka, IL, starting on November 4, 2022.

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