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Monday, October 10, 2011

Craft show 101- part 1 - How to pick a show

Craft shows can be an amazing way for artisans and crafts people to meet customers, market their product and sell their wares. How do you pick shows that will give you the best bang for your buck? There are a bunch of things to consider.

One of the best ways to judge a craft show is through word of mouth. If a show has been around for a while and you've heard good things about it that's probably a good sign. But all craft shows aren't for all artisans. If you've ever participated in a season of craft shows the one thing you know for sure is that, you never know, how it's going to turn out. I've been at a show one year where I've sold a ton of cards and no big ticket prints and then the next year the opposite happens. We've all been to shows where there are have almost no customers, or heaven forbid, lots of customers but no one seems to see you and your stuff for sale. Terrible weather can play a huge part in how sucessfull a show is too! For sure if you are thinking about joining the craft show circuit or if you're going to give it another try, you have to be thick skinned, be able to maintain a good attitude and enjoy the company of all the other cool artisans there! Otherwise, it just ain't worth it.

10 things to look for in a good craft show
  1. How long has it been around? Sometimes year 10 is a lot more successful than year one. Don't dismiss new shows though, you just don't want to be their guinea pigs.

  2. Where is it located? Will there be walk-by traffic? Do you have to drive there? Is it linked to another event that could help drive traffic there?

  3. Who's running the show? Is it an organization that will provide traffic through it's members? Another crafter with a history of running shows?

  4. What sort of promotional efforts is the organizer offering. Ask them to tell you what they are doing to promote the show.

  5. How big is the show? Is it going after a certain market?

  6. How much does it cost to participate? A show may be worth $300 if they are spending money on advertising. Sometimes a church basement show for $50 can be well worth it if they get all the parents out to support it.

  7. How many artisans will be participating in the show?

  8. Is the show juried? A juried show will make sure there is a variety of quality artisans participating in the show.

  9. The time of year. Obviously Christmas is a good time, people are thinking about shopping? July in a touristy part of town could be good.

  10. Is it outside? You will need a tent, an added expense. Do they supply the tables? chairs? What are the added costs? Lighting? Power? Sometimes the little things can really add up.

Once you've decided that this show is the show for you, you've really just started on your journey. Tune in next week and I'll talk about how to make the most out of your show experience.

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