Back in '09 I traveled to Minneapolis to attend a wedding photography workshop ran by Erin Johnson. Besides providing the most amazing Baked Potato pizza from Pizza Luce, OMGeee was it good, she provided all of the attendants with a complete listing of all her expenses, income, etc. It was incredibly eye-opening, to see every. little. thing. that was involved in her business. It was then that I realized that I did not want to be a full-time wedding photographer. Second shooting and random portraits throughout the year is a-okay with me.
Fast forward to now where, perhaps against my better judgement, I'm working on the whole small business thing anyway. I think most of my blog readers understand the cost associated with being an artist, but just in case I thought I'd share some of the costs associated with my work and the cost of being in an art fair. This is not intended to guilt anyone into purchasing my work, but rather to inform. Artwork IS work, and it usually isn't cheap to do.
There's the stuff I use every day to create:
Kiln: $600. I was lucky to score mine for that price (it's 20yo). To buy a new one would cost around $2500 so I'm hoping mine still has a few more years left in it!
Firing: $7-$10/load, depending on whether it's a bisque or glaze firing.
Glaze, Clay, brushes, kiln shelves, etc. etc: $993.27 (you have no idea how terrified I was to tally the amount I've spent as Kentucky Mudworks this year...But hey, SUPPORT LOCAL! Right?)
Material for packaging: $110, for bags and boxes. Thankfully I've been able to score FREE bubble wrap and from Target AND did you know that you can get super cheap paper roll ends from the newspaper? I picked mine up in Georgetown. They are only like $3/roll, depending on the size of the roll, and it makes great packing material.
Business materials: $76 (business cards)
Time: This is a little harder to put in a dollar amount. Each cell take about an hour to make (depending on the size) but there is also time loading/unloading the kiln, getting supplies, driving to the studio, packing them, taking inventory, etc. For my time I currently am charging what I make at Target, which I can't share per company policy.
Then there are costs associated with the fair:
Tent-$800 (and this was used. I couldn't bring myself to buy a (much cheaper) EZ-Up tent after some of the horror stories I've heard about how they (don't) hold up in the wind and rain. I do NOT want to be responsible for destroying another artists hard work because my tent got caught in the wind)
Application fees: $35
Booth Fee: $350 (Woodland has a reasonable booth fee, it is not uncommon to pay $750+ at other fairs)
Pro Panels display panels for inside of the tent: $2650
Stickers: $40 (stickers) They are super cute. You can have one if you visit my booth this weekend!
Thankfully the costs of my materials really do go a long way in making a lot of little cells (which only matters is they actually sell) and most of the costs associated with the fair are on things that can be used over and over again. IF I get into another fair that is. But we won't think of how much of a total bummer that would be if I never got into any fair ever again!