Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WHAT TO DO?

It seems to often that I get excited about being in a group show only to be saddened and discouraged in the end when I don't receive my work back or get payed. It makes me not want to make plush anymore. I know I am not alone. There is currently a mass email going around to participants of a plush show that was held this summer about this very subject. I've stressed out about this to many times. Here's what I've come up with that I think will help me and hopefully help others avoid this.

It seems that many crafters have had problems with dealers or galleries. The main complaints seem to be having trouble collecting money, artwork is lost or damaged, you are told that no artwork has been sold when it actually has, and that general communication has stopped between you and the dealer.
As artists what can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen?

I think the main answer to that is ask lots of questions. Here are some questions that I think are fine to ask without seeming nosey or annoying.

(At this point you obviously know when and where the show is.)
1. (If you don’t know) How soon before the show opens do you need the artwork?
2. Do you save the box the artwork is shipped in?
3. Do I need to include return labels with my sent artwork?
4. Do I need to pay return postage if my artwork doesn’t sell?
5. Do I need to send return postage with my art work?
6. How do you accept payment for return shipping? (Paypal, personal check, etc.)
7. If my work does not sell, how soon after the show closes do you return unsold work?
8. Do I need to label my artwork? (name, title, price, etc.)
9. Do you take a commission and how much?
10. If my work sells, how soon after the show closes do you send out payment?
11. How do you send out payment? (check, Paypal)
12. Do you need an invoice of sold item(s)?

other questions you might want to ask

13. Have you put together a show before?
14. How many participants are involved?
15. Do you have a website?
16. Is there a press release for the show? If so can I get a copy?

I've created an invoice and inventory file that you might find handy too. I also have this in pdf form I could mail to anyone interested.



I think people will be less likely to take advantage of you if they see how organized and professional you come across and if you start asking questions.
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!!!
PLEASE FEEL TO LEAVE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS OR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT HELP.
www.robynfabsits.blogspot.com

10 comments:

Louise said...

Good post. Thanks for putting up the list of questions and the spreadsheets.

I was lucky in that I have not had too bad an experience. But its something to keep in mind for the future. I think its important to create awareness of this problem as it effects so many plushie and craft makers.

Fantastic Toys said...

Good info .. marking for reference.

Christina Ward said...

Robyn,

Thanks for posting this very useful info.

Let me add, that members of the PlushTeam worked together to coordinate communications, ask questions, research and vet requests, opportunities and shows.

Utilizing the collective intelligence of the plush community can help prevent misunderstandings (and disasters).

robyn fabsits said...

That's awesome. I too think if we all work together we can prevent being taken advantage of. Keep an open line of communication among everyone!

Absolutely Small said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Robyn! It's wonderful to see a clear list of questions to ask. And I love the way that spreadsheet looks!

robyn fabsits said...

I posted this on my blog too and received this comment that I thought was good info.

Blogger krakit said...

Excellent approach to dealing
with dealers and galleries.

If the gallery has done a
show before, then you can
ask for a list of artists
that participated in
previous shows. This becomes
your list of references to
call/contact to see how
they were treated.

You can also ask, "Who are
the other artists that will
be in the show that I'll be
in?" This gives you a list
of people who you can contact
in case something goes wrong.
If any of them are mistreated
also, then you can work as a
team to straighten things out.
It's always easier when you
have someone working with you.

teneisha said...

I am relived but not happy to hear that other Plush Artists have run into these problems. I had come to the conclusion that shows just were not worth the trouble for all these reasons that you stated.

Miss Oneyes said...

Great article! I've dealt with a few difficult situations myself regarding art shows. Some ended well, others not. I want to include some info for international participants. When your artwork is being send back to you make sure the gallery/curator checks the 'returned goods' box on the custom form otherwise you might need to pay tax, etc. when your package arrive. It can be a lot of money depending on the value of the package. So be sure to keep that in mind.

Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery said...

Unfortunately, I don't think it is limited to plush artists who are treated this way. :-( Hearing about problems like these from artist friends was one of the reasons we started a gallery in the first place. I can proudly say that we pay our all our artists promptly and return all unsold artworks the week after the shows end! Not all galleries are shady. :-)

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