Last fall we decided that the number of automobile related projects that I have completed warranted an attempt at selling some of them, so I reserved a single space at the spring swap meet at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. This was a learning experience. First I learned that there was a lot of stuff to prepare besides the items that I wished to sell. Then I learned that it was a lot of work to transport and set up all the necessary equipment and inventory. Fortunately, my wife, Suzanne, helped throughout the planning, preparation and selling operations. Then my son, Karl, drove up from Austin and helped with the transfer, set-up, sales and final tear-down at the four-day event.
Above is Suzanne sitting under our two canopies (Wal-Mart) in our luxurious 9'x18' rectangle of asphalt in the midst of uncounted acres of asphalt behind the Motor Speedway grandstand along with several thousand other vendors. The next thing I learned was that nobody rents just one space - most vendors had four-plus spaces so that they could spread out and also keep their vehicle next to their sales area. But we made it work and had all my stuff on display across two folding tables (Wal-Mart) and four cattle-panel grids (Tractor Supply Co).
Above are various hood ornaments and car emblems mounted on various types of hardwoods: oak, mesquite, walnut and cypress. Below are some wall plaques mounted on hardwoods and clocks set into hubcaps and headlight bezels.
Surprisingly (to me) the items that sold were the larger, higher priced items. The small, upright ornaments did not sell at all. The first item sold, the first day, was the spotlight clock on a mesquite stand. I could have sold two more if I'd had them. The next most popular was the 1955-57 Bel-Air speaker-grill-with-clock mounted on walnut and oak, also $95. I could have sold at least one more of those. I was able to pick up more raw materials of both for future production.
The final thing I learned was that most shoppers at swap meets are not looking for decorative items, but for parts for their own projects. I had lots of compliments, but only a few buyers. I will look for more of an artisan-show than a parts swap-meet in the future. But it was interesting, educational and I enjoyed the company of my supportive wife and dedicated son who were critical in making it possible.
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.