We do several shows every year. Although we are in the "business" of making model boats, not all of our shows are expected to be major selling events for us. Why would any business person say this? The making and selling of custom scratch-built model boats is definitely a niche market and for us every time we display them in public is an element of the marketing process. We like to say "sowing seeds". The fact of the matter is that there are very few shows with clusters of people of whom we can expect to commission a serious model boat then and there. For most people, commissioning a model is something that requires consideration.This is as it should be. For this reason we do shows over a wide geographical area and our website is very important in helping us to sow those seeds to people the world over.
Some shows have other, different, benefits for us. As you might imagine, working on hundreds of very small pieces constantly can sometimes get draining. There are some shows that we go to in order to become energized. Not everyone realizes, when they see a model, that a large part of making it happen is art. Art is a large part of our lives and even though we are not painters, sculptors, or jewelers, per se, the things that people do in those other arts are the elements of what we do. In addition, just being with people who do what they do, whose philosophies are to do the best that they can, in whatever their discipline, is good for the soul.
I will tell you honestly that for years we had stopped doing what were referred to as "model shows". People thought that we were crazy for this. "You'll sell tons of models." The fact is that model shows are not a great place to sell models, if that is the primary goal.
With age I find that doing shows in order to get energized and to spend time with people with like interests and skills is not a bad business decision, when you compare it to continuing education credits required in other disciplines, or various conventions or meetings - It makes you better at what you do.
We had stopped going to model shows, because, at the time, we felt that they were not a place to make sales. Perhaps, for the reasons stated above, we should have looked at other benefits to be had.
This weekend we will be at The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for their Annual Maritime Model Expo in St. Michaels, Maryland. We went last year and realized what we were missing when we got there and saw some of our old friends such as Jean Preckel, Jim Wortman, members of the Museum's Model Guild, members of The Washington Ship Modeling Society (I know that I don't have the name exactly right), as well as meeting several new ones. There was a model of a skipjack that the builder had been working on for 27 years! The guys from Washington are working with ever new techniques and are delving farther into the reaches of maritime history to find more interesting subjects to model. Other model makers had beautiful and unique display ideas. There is also a "lake" set up for R/C and pond yachts and these guys are having fun!.
So, just as some shows energize us in the realms of the arts, this is a show that energizes us, because it has so many people with the common interest of making model boats. Of course you have the various factions R/C vs Static, scratch-built vs kits. It doesn't matter. They are in for the love of it. There are experts in all types of model boat making and you'll find novices and the master's masters. I recommend that you come to this show. We'll certainly be there...
More infomation here: http://cbmm.org/modelexpo/index.htm