I took a year off from doing festival shows in 2017 except for a few very local, one day events. This was due to a variety of things from the physical activity required for packing, set up and tear down along with the unpredictability of selling, often influenced by the weather. I think if I was doing 20 shows a year then the weather impact would be somewhat minimized but when I only did a handful, if there were three bad weather weekends which were all my show weekends….well, it became very frustrating and resulted in low sales. I ought to have some photos of me and my drenched canopy or me sweating profusely after setting up in 90 degree heat to REALLY communicate how I feel about shows right now!
Festivals are expensive too with booth fees and travel costs. What I learned this year, which still has 5 months to go with sales, is that my profit margin is the same with fewer overall sales due to much lower expenses in my art quilt business. And, truth be told, I make art quilts because I like creating and I’m not just doing this to make money. But…more truth…a positive cash flow is a strong incentive to manage my art as a business.
This year with still 3 months to go, my cash flow is similar to last year but achieved by selling fewer overall quilts. This has the added benefit of not needing to go into production mode in the winter AND having a more relaxed summer. This year creating art quilts has taken a less demanding/regimented role in my daily life, allowing time for other things like playing with my grand daughter, biking, and kayaking. I am afterall retired!
I absolutely lose myself in my quilt studio as I design and create art quilts. I love days when I can just play with colors and think about creative ways to design quilts with those fabrics. And a good day is any day in a fabric store! But I am very happy with this slight change in my approach to making and selling art quilts.