Thanks to Alexis Templeton (shown above) for the photos she has kindly provided.
Is it the long winter, approaching tax time or the grant application deadlines? There's a lot of grumbling out there about the general state of affairs. I've decided things break and there are life cycles to many things including marketing models or venues like the craft fair. It is time to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and consider the alternatives.
I have always admired Alexis Templeton's resourcefulness and people who have taken my point of purchase literature workshop know that she is my favourite example of successful marketing in the world of NF ceramics. She's figured it out and Alexis knows that pots, as lovely as they may be, don't sell themselves. Alexis has a great studio storefront and she manages it with flair. She has created a destination and an experience with strategic events around easy to remember dates; it is also a resource that she can share with other craftspeople by selling their work in addition to her own.
Northern Lights plate by Alexis, who is known for her crystalline glazes.
The retail landscape around the traditional craft fair has changed: more stores sell craft as a part of their daily business be it in heritage and tourism, interior design, fashion or hip, little boutiques. There are more studios and competing themed fairs associated with schools, causes and interests like the youth focus in Fresh Fish or the Farmers Market. In some ways, the traditional craft fair is a victim of craft's successful integration with a wider world. Not a bad thing.
Alexis Templeton has created The Feast of Pottery, a weekend-long event that has for a few years been held at the Geo-Centre on Signal Hill. It has focus, a personality and a buzz of excitement. As a marketing model it combines the feel of an exhibition, which can accommodate higher prices but the immediate gratification of retail shopping. It is short term so a collector can't procrastinate; it is once a year so it feels "special". By bringing in a growing number of accomplished potters, Alexis has created a niche market.
Well done Alexis, well done.