How Do I Decide How Much Inventory to Take to A Show? AND How Do I Figure Out How Much to Charge?


Many thanks to Don Crozier of BOMH (Best of Missouri Hands) for allowing me to share this article. Also thanks go to the author, Glennis Dolce, aka Shibori Girl, for all the good information.

Did she charge enough? How do you figure it out?

Did she charge enough? How do you figure it out?

Subject: Show numbers- advice from a dyer

This is always the first thing I figure out when I have signed up for a show. It is a MUST in order to be successful and make $.

My basic rule of thumb is this:
2x the $ amount of what I need/want to make from the show = minimum inventory level

How do I figure out the $ amount?
Add up ALL the costs of doing the show(there are more than you think!) plus the direct cost of all goods for sale.

-if you double this you are barely breaking even and paying yourself a living wage (x2)

-if you triple this you had a decent show and might live to see the next one (x3) (kidding-sort of)
-if you quadruple this you are doing good, won’t starve and can pay booth fees for the next show-and probably should right away so as not to be tempted to charge it on a CC and further add to your expenses.

I know this is a lot to digest as a first timer but it’s better to be
realistic and aim high. Start small and grow your business.

Plus what Ann said…..

This gives you something by which to judge a show and helps you decide if it is one you should do again or perhaps look for a better one.

It’s always a risk…the current economy isn’t helping. On the bright side, if you can make it in a downturn you’re gonna be fine! Sounds like you are asking the right questions of the right people. Good luck!

Glennis Dolce

Thanks to
Ruth Walker, Feltmaker
Columbia, Missouri,


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3 Responses to “How Do I Decide How Much Inventory to Take to A Show? AND How Do I Figure Out How Much to Charge?”

  1. shiborigirl Says:

    just an additional note-
    the original question was: “how do i decide how much inventory to take to a show”
    which led to the question of how to figure that out based on the amount of sales you needed to generate to cover your costs.

    the question i answered wasn’t really “how much should i charge for my art”

    just clarifying…thanks for the link!

  2. R M Siegel Says:

    in a few simple paragraphs you have written down the exact question that most people new and old, including especaily myself, at doing art fairs need to and want to know. i am going to use this information as my guide from now on. i emphasize the word guide as there are variations in just about everything we as business people have to do.

    thank you for this information

    Richard M. Siegel

  3. Lorrie Says:

    I sell limied editions. I used to have no less that 3 images of each in every size. After 3 years of doing shows I now keep my sales history in a spreadsheet. This discipline, has enabled me to learn which are my best sellers (althought taste does vary from city to city). This knowledge combine with the current economic slow down has led to a modification of my approach. Generally 2-3 in the smaller sizes (lower price point) for the popular images, 1-2 in the smaller images but less popular & less as the price point goes up.

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