Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Craft show booth tips

Things to think about:

Theme - It may help to decide on a theme and create a little story behind your display before you begin designing your table.

Packaging/Tags - Your logo and website should be on your tags and packaging so people can find you after the show (especially gift recipients). Package fragile and delicate items so they aren’t damaged by frequent handling – people at shows like to touch! Keep your packaging, pricing, display, and product looking visually cohesive.

Height - Raising your table up using inexpensive bed risers will really help bring your pieces closer to eye level for your shoppers. Use display pieces to raise your items up off the table so they aren't laying flat.

Scale - Use the same display items in different scales for visual interest. For example, use lengths of thick tree branches sawed flat on each end as risers for height, and thinner spindly branches to hang items from.

Texture - Think about textures on your table that will contrast and complement each other. This includes your display materials (tablecloth, risers, decorative items) as well as the items you are selling.

Color - Decide on a color scheme for your table and stick to it! This will help your table look really put together. You might also decide to choose a pattern instead of a color and do everything in polka dots or stripes of different colors.

Materials - Think about the materials you make your merchandise with - is it shiny plastic or metal? Fuzzy fleece? Glittery gems? Now think about the materials your tablecloth and display are made of. Do they blend or contrast? Try unexpected combinations to make your display memorable.

 Check out our Pinterest boards for table and booth design ideas!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What to bring to your first craft shows

Your first few shows can be overwhelming, especially when it comes time to pack for the big day. And setup can be a crazy time, but it doesn't have to be if you pack smart!

Setup at Lancaster Flea & Craft Market, Lancaster PA
You don't want to be caught without something you need, but you don't want to lug around anything unnecessary. It will take a few shows to figure out exactly what's essential for your setup and sales (and don't forget your comfort and sanity during the day!) but this list is a good place to start!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Introduction to Craft Shows - Finding and Applying to Shows

Finding shows to apply to:
Try Google, of course, and searching through various event and festival lister websites. The value of networking at shows cannot be understated! Chat with fellow vendors and ask which shows they do and enjoy. Check the show calendars of vendors who have complementary work. Check your town’s local events calendar, and ask people to keep their ears open for you. Calls for vendors are listed all over - in your local newspaper, Craigslist, Facebook, blogs. The more shows you do and apply to, the more you will start hearing about.

Know your market:
Before you apply, check the website for last year’s vendors to see if your craft would be a good fit. This will not only be helpful for the application process, but will also create a better experience at shows. If you make quirky indie crafts, for example, it might not be the best fit for every show, so do your research! Read the FAQ section to gather as much information as possible. Visit websites and blogs of the vendors who have participated in the past for reviews and pictures.

Do a Google image, flickr, Facebook or forum search for photos of previous years events. You can also see how big the space is and the amount of people who have attended previous shows. This will also make it easier to tailor your application to that specific craft show.

General Tips:
Follow their guidelines! If they want two pictures, don't send ten. If they want 50 words, don't write a full page. Keep your photos within their file size limits and in the requested formats . Double check that you've filled out every line, checked every box, and that you've provided all the required information. Make sure your email and mailing addresses are legible or you may not receive your acceptance package. And if you don't get in this year, work on your product and photos and try again next time! There are lots of reasons you might not be accepted (crowded category, wrong market, large amount of applications received and limited spaces) so don't take it personally!

Parts of the application:

Vendor Statement
Most applications ask for a statement describing yourself and your work with a 50-300 character limit, so try to stick to your product line and anything surrounding your career as a crafter. Introduce yourself, include a clear explanation of the types of things plan to sell, how you make them, and what makes your craft unique. How you describe your work can make all the difference in being accepted. Shows will often use your statement verbatim in their promotional materials, so choose your words carefully! Keep several versions handy of different lengths so you do not have to start from scratch each time.

Examples of Your Work
You will almost always be asked for either your website link or at least 3-5 digital images of your work, and sometimes both. Be sure and include a variety of your work, and you can usually include a photo of your booth setup as well. Make sure your products are shown off at the forefront and not cluttered with too many props – in other words, make sure the jurying committee knows if you’re selling the soap or the soap dish! Shows will also often use your photos in their promotional materials, so flaunt a variety of your best work.

Your web link can be your own website or an online marketplace. If you don't have your own site or a storefront on a venue such as Etsy, Artfire, BigCartel, or Storeenvy, try making a Facebook page of your work or create a blog. Both of these are free options to display your work, and will also give you a link to submit with your application.

Your online store or webpage should contain, minimally, at least 5-10 good quality, clear images of your work in an easy to find location, and an artist bio, with a nice banner or logo to function as a good online portfolio of your work for show applications.

Your check will usually be included at the time of application and returned if your are not accepted to the event. Occasionally you will be asked for a credit card number that will only be charged upon your acceptance. Some juried shows include, along with your vending fee, a small non-refundable jury fee; that is, you’re paying them just to look at your application. This is generally for large shows that get a tremendous amount of entries.

If you are doing a benefit or charity show, you may be asked for a percentage of your total sales on top of your flat booth fee. Make sure you and the show promoter both understand the terms completely and ideally, have them signed and in writing before the show day to avoid any confusion later.


Event Listers

Photo Tips

Monday, March 26, 2012

April 12th Meetup!

Please take a moment to fill out a quick survey (or check the post below) so we can tailor our topics to what you are interested in discussing at the meeting! This meeting will cover the basics - from finding and applying to shows to what to bring and do to have a great day of selling. Our next meeting will cover part two - table display ideas, booth design and more!
Here is our Facebook event page if you would like to RSVP. Check out Hive 4A for directions and for more information about the space which includes a coworking space and makerspace and is the home of Make Lehigh Valley.

Friday, March 2, 2012

meeting topic survey - Craft Shows

Our April meeting will be all about craft shows! Please take a moment to fill out the following quick survey so we can tailor our topics to what you are interested in discussing! Thanks!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Now accepting applications! - UPDATED!

Please note: this post will now be permanently located at the Craft Shows & Events tab at the top of the page! Please check there for shows currently accepting applications!

Friday, February 3, 2012

First group meetup will be held March 1st!

We are excited to announce that our first group meetup will be held on Thursday, March 1st from 7:00-8:30pm at the Hive 4A makerspace at 905 Harrison Street in Allentown. This will be an introductory meeting where we will be getting to know each other and discussing some plans and goals for the group. Check out our Facebook event and don't forget to RSVP! Crafters, artists and handmakers in the Lehigh Valley area interested in working together to grow their small business are welcome. Bring some business cards and come say hello!

We are excited to be working with Hive 4A, home of Make Lehigh Valley, as hosts for our meetups. Make LV will be holding an open hack that night from 6:30-9:30 pm.