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gallery sales profit statistics

updated wed 16 dec 98


Don Jones on tue 15 dec 98

>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I would like to hear more of Don's story about the gallery failure. Would
>you be willing to talk more about it on the list?
>Linda Blossom
>Ithaca, NY

Linda and others interested:
I made several mistakes right away.
1. I did very little market research as to other craft galleries and how
they worked and what volume they did.
2. I did not spend enough time evaluating my location. I thought it would
work but it did not. I had to spend a lot on display ware, signage and
lighting and refurbishing my space. I had to take out insurance in the
millions for liability. Utilities are high.
3. When I signed a lease it was for three years. I could not get it down
to any less. I did not realize that I was immediately in debt for the
total amount on the lease, much like buying a car and driving it off the
lot. I was lucky in that I did not have any employees and I managed to get
a person to sublet my lease when I decided to get out.
4. The biggest financial black hole out there for gallery people is
promotion and advertising. I figured out that in order to have a viable
operation you need a minimum of 15k per year for these activities.
5. Lastly, Albuquerque is home to a bazillion craftspeople of all media
and abilities. There are art fairs every month that fill every price
range. Almost anyone can set up a booth and make a few hundred dollars
every time. It is hard to compete with this. The only craft galleries who
can are in an area where tourists are. The rents in this area (old town)
are astronomical. They make most of their nut in jewelry and Indian

For those of you, like me now, who go to wholesale markets and woo these
owners: Keep in mind that they have, along with the expenses I mentioned
above, a fixed budget to shop with when they enter your booth.
I cannot imagine the cash reserves necessary to make it in a heavily
trafficked area with a high rent,and alot of inventory and employees and
competition and advertising and down times etc. This is not an activity
for the financially squeamish.
I hope this sheds some light. I am not an expert. I know there are some
on the list who have made a success of a gallery at one time. It sure
wasn't for me!

Don Jones
:-) implied in all messages and replies