I do this every year to adjust to my output to the sales that I saw the previous year. I increase quantities for pots that were always selling out. For pots that didn't sell well, I lower the quantities or eliminate the item altogether. I usually introduce some new designs at my holiday open studio. The ones that were well-received are added to the plans, with hopes that I will figure out the right quantities and price points this year.
I also pay attention to labor hours. Last year, some of my to-do lists resulted in really long work days. And some of them were easy three hour days. I tried to spread out the workload more evenly. I pay attention to kiln loads too, and tried to create sensible kiln loads. I factor in "how many fit on a kiln shelf" when making quantity decisions.
My next show is ACC Baltimore. I consider this a "big" show, and for a big show I will take all of this inventory with me. For a "small" show, say a one-day show, I will take half of this amount. Most of my shows fall into the "medium" category, for which I will pack about 3/4 of this amount.
In terms of planning, if I have two medium shows plus one small show, in three consecutive weekends, I will finish all of the to-do lists twice. That's enough for two mediums and a small. This means I need ten weeks of studio time before this stretch of shows begins.
The first photo shows my first draft of the new lists. As you can see, I tweaked and tweaked it until everything added up sensibly. The second photo is my final plan for 2018. I might make some edits during the year. Then I will revisit them comprehensively at the end of the year, when the 2018 book has been written.
What's the point of doing this? I wrote about this in my Art Festival Plan series of blog posts. By paying careful attention to the quantities I'm selling, and adjusting my inventory to match those numbers, this is how I end up nearly selling out my booth at many shows. I more-or-less know what people are going to buy. Every box of pots packed has a cost, in heavy lifting, space, and time. Repeating that effort to bring unsold pots home is inefficient. My goal is to bring home less than one box of pots from every show, and I achieve that most of the time.
Other artists will sometimes look at my near empty booth and say "you should have packed more." I shrug and think "no I packed just the right amount." They don't see how much I brought in the first place. And I tried it a few times, to go back to an almost sold-out show with a few more boxes of pots the next year. It didn't correlate to better sales. Sometimes sales were better, sometimes they were worse. On average, it was the same. The limits have been reached. And besides, for a "big" show I can't fit any more pots into my van anyways.
Yes, this means I sometimes leave sales behind because I've run out of popular items. That's why the to-do lists get rewritten every year. But overall, if I did my best to maximize my sales, I'm not going to fret about the few sales I missed. I'd rather have a light workload for packing and going home.