Artists: a Chance to Merchant at Pennsic
If you are an SCA artist and would like a painless and supportive way to try merchanting your art at Pennsic this summer, read on!
Greetings, O SCAdian, however this message reaches you, from Dr Henry Best. If you regularly attend Pennsic, you might know of me from my daily advice column in the Pennsic Independent, ďAsk Doctor BestĒ.
The past three Pennsics, Iíve told fortunes in the back of Sunbaked Studios, Mistress Nonnaís Pottery Studio. Itís been a great partnership, but Nonna is retiring from active merchanting, and I am stepping up as the new manager of the booth, now renamed to Starlit Studios.
We will be offering some exciting products: consulting divinations using a wide range of period oracular techniques, from astrology to cards, from palms to i Ching, we will be using any period system we can find and document which doesnít involve disemboweling animals or nice people. We will be performing magic shows in the street and generally having, and sharing, a jolly time.
Now, this project is, at its heart, more a large scale Arts and Sciences experiment than a money making venture. Our customers are a critical part of our research into these arts and their nominal payments are part of the experiment. But what Iím discovering, as I step up to run the booth, is that, what with booth registration, liability insurance, tent rental, etc, merchanting at Pennsic is hideously expensive, far beyond anything I can reasonably expect to make back telling fortunes. In short, if I donít change my business model, I will go broke in one year and be forced to shut my arts project down.
And so, to keep my project alive, I am offering retail space in my booth, on a year to year basis. My vision is that, as I run a personal consulting service in back, my front waiting room will be filled with incredible art created by our fellow SCAdians, and the art will be for sale. If you are an SCA artisan, and youíve ever considered merchanting at Pennsic, for a market of some 12,000 people, I am offering an open door to you, bypassing the massive cash and administrative investment (and time spent on a near infinite waiting list) that it would normally take for you to attempt this.
I will share the actual financial numbers with serious querents, but here I will say that I hope to host six to eight artists, granting each one space for a 5 foot display table at a prime booth along Battle Road, next door to the food court.
These artists can participate under one of two plans:
1) You pay a flat fee for your space, to help cover the boothís expenses. You help your fellow merchants man the booth, serving as sales clerk for everyoneís art and as receptionist for the consulting business. With 6-8 artists, youíll probably only need to man the booth for two days out of the war.
2) You pay a flat fee for your space, as above, but you donít help man the booth. In that case, you also contribute a percent of your revenue. This money goes into a kitty, and is split among those who DO man the booth on your behalf.
So there it is. For the right artists, this is a golden opportunity. Because we are sharing costs, this is an extremely painless way to put your art up for sale at the largest market in the SCA.
Please pass this message along however you wish, and especially forward it to those who make exquisite art, and really deserve a wider audience. And thank you for reading.
Dr Henry Best