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1  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: What can I do better to get into a craft show? on: October 13, 2010 11:33:41 AM
I administrate a small arts show in my day job. You probably would not be juried into ours because, yes, the shows are jewelry heavy. What's more, the jewelers are making their own glass beads, doing extensive metalwork, and have more individualistic-looking pieces. I could place your work with a number of vendors who have applied to our show in the past; most of those who consistently get in have very unique styles.

Also, I don't know about other organizers, but I find it weird to be contacted by people who weren't juried in. I know that it's helpful to get feedback, but my assumption in working with the artists who apply is that they are professionals. Professionals are accustomed to being accepted and rejected from shows. It all depends on the type of show, but there might be better ways for feedback. I work for a nonprofit, so I might be more amenable to someone asking me to coffee or catching me at an artist professional development event.

Just some info for the future. Develop an identifiable style, get your feedback through peer critiques and by making connections to people who can give it to you.

First of all, I am not a professional, nor do I claim to be one. I am a hobby crafter, and can not invest the money needed at this time for equipment to do metal smithing or bead making.

Second, this was a handmade craft show, not an art show.

Third, I did get into this show the second time I applied, and I believe coming up with some original items helped.

Fourth, it seems to me you are implying that my jewelry is generic. Thanks.

I like to make a wide variety of items because I would get tired of making the same things over and over, and since this is a hobby, I don't want to spend my free time in a sweat shop. Also, since I was just starting out in craft shows, I was not sure what would appeal to buyers.

I'm back! I saw this thread and was going to reply and then saw that I already had. WHOA. Still, I have a few things to add:

I also jury a craftier show - smaller, more regular, mostly vendors who do this part time. You still probably wouldn't be juried in. Your work is nice! It looks well-made. This is important. But yes, I was saying that it looks generic. Because your materials are all store-bought and there is only one technique used, I could save your images to a file with a dozen other applicants I've seen this year and not be able to tell which image belongs to you.

Some shows won't mind that and that's fine. For my show, I want my shoppers to feel like they won't find what my vendors make anywhere else. So it just wouldn't fit in. @fiberartist219 You're absolutely right about how it's hard to tell what beading is intricate and what's not. I'm not a beader. But you know what? Neither are my shoppers. I want someone to think back to our show and tell their friends about this absolutely identifiable vendor. Even if you don't change anything technical about what you're doing, think about what else you could do to make yourself stand out.

Is it something to worry about? Maybe not. Lots of people are successful with less "unique" product. It just depends what shows you want to do.

Additionally - it's FINE to be a hobby crafter, but still act professionally. To be fair, I was harsh there. I do enjoy when people ask, without being a pill, "What disqualified me?" That's great. I doubt that you were a pill when you asked. Smiley Since i referenced my day job - and the artists there were MUCH more pillish - I bet I'd probably just gotten a bitchy email along the lines of HOW DARE YOU PASS ME OVER.

2  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Top Ten Bits of Advice on: October 13, 2010 11:20:39 AM
Oh! Oh! I got it!

Background:
I'm the director of Market Day, a monthly indie craft event in Des Moines, Iowa. We've been running for two years, so I've gathered some advice.

#1: The biggest, easiest tip: Focus your product. Month after month my most successful vendors have ONE thing that they offer - or ONE style or ONE statement. ONE niche they're trying to fill. That doesn't mean that everything has to be identical. It does mean that you shouldn't have knitted items, some jewelry, a print or two, a vintage find all on your table - unless they still fit a larger theme - and they must be very clear.

My four most consistently-successful Makers are:
  • A cupcake maker. She makes gourmet cupcakes. That's it.
  • A girl who makes peacock-feather hair clips. She also now branches out into other jewelry, but it's allllll feathers.
  • A girl who makes sort of macabre pottery. It's all the same aesthetic. It's all gorgeous.
  • A girl who sells vintage jewelry. There are a bazillion different pieces, but she has impeccable taste.

Why is this so important? People don't like decisions. The more decisions someone has to make, the less likely they are to buy from you. So instead of:
Do I like this shop?
Yes - No - I don't know
If yes:
Which type of product do I need?
#1 - #2 - #3
Okay, which of those is my favorite?
And further, do I really want to spend my money here?

You should give them:
Do I like this shop's aesthetic?
Yes! LET'S BUY - No. Moving on!
Great. Which is my favorite item?
This one - that one


#2: Always look happy. Even if it's the shittiest show ever, act like you're stoked to be there. Don't go overboard - it's just as off-putting. Just be a good customer servicer. Giggity. But really. Always be on.

#3: Stand, if you can. It relates to looking happy. You look approachable, and not like someone is interrupting you.

#4: Feel free to craft. Do not do other things: reading, cell phoning, keep eating to a minimum.

#5: Read everything the show gives you. Everything. You will be ahead of 70% of the pack of vendors.

#6: Make good signage. Wear a name tag. Price EVERYTHING. Explain what things are, where they might look nice, or what could be done with them.

#7: Consider your display. A) Go vertical. Leaving things sitting on the table makes them hard to sift through visually and is unappealing. B) Create examples if you can. Dress a mannequin, use your vase, clip things with your clips.

#8: BE FUCKING CONFIDENT. Nothing drives me crazier than hearing people undercut their own products. It's not "just a little thing" you do. It's something you're passionate about and proud of. If it isn't, then you aren't ready, and that's okay. Maybe some time working on your craftsmanship will help give you that confidence. Or maybe you just fake it till you make it.

#9: Ask a friend for advice. On pricing, on product, on anything.

#10: Price your stuff higher. I think pricing breaks down like this:
10% price too high
20% price just right (good job!)
70% price too low (boo!)
Do product research. What are other people SELLING for? Ask around. You aren't always the best judge - I'm horrible at pricing because I'm a cheapskate and know I wouldn't buy my paintings for what I price them at. But that doesn't mean they aren't fairly priced, for sure.

3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / New Big Cartel Shop - You Like? on: October 13, 2010 11:04:35 AM
Howdy! I've recently started a new BC shop. I've used Etsy in the past, but hadn't for years and am now starting with a new product. I want to do things superright this time and would want feedback on everything: the product itself, descriptions, photos, all of it.

The shop is Rocket Assembly. Take a look!

Specific questions:
  • I loved the backend of BC, so I went with it, but am really unsure if I shouldn't just go with Etsy. I'd love advice on what you think about the two sites.
  • I'm making painted tattoo plaques - I have a store of 3 designs with different iterations (and will do more designs over time, but am honestly trying to prevent buyer indecision with too many). I also offer customs. Should I do customs? Should I ONLY do customs?
  • Prices, as always. I'm going $30 each and customs for $55, shipped. It's pretty inexpensive - and I even upped the prices once before going live! - but while these are carefully made pieces, I specifically designed them to be low on time and supply input.


Thanks for your help. I'm excited about selling these and like I said - I want to do things right!
4  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: To Etsy or Not To Etsy, that is the question on: October 13, 2010 10:47:21 AM
What do you guys think about Big Cartel? I had an Etsy shop for a while, haven't used it in years, and just started a new BC with new products. I LOVED the back end - so much more than Etsy - but I'm not sure about the implicit community. Any opinions?
5  UNITED STATES / Minnesota / Yo MN! Hop down to Iowa this summer for Market Day. on: April 14, 2010 09:05:29 PM
We're going into our second season of Market Day this summer, and we'd love to have you. Last year we had an amazing showing of artists and cool crafters from across Iowa and even into Minnesota and Nebraska, which actually sort of surprised us for a one-day monthly event.

So this year I'm encouraging cross-state applications. The deadline to apply for May is May 1. Market Day happens the last Saturday of every month, May-October and there's a special Black Friday sale in November. The application deadline each month is the first of said month, and you need only apply once per season.

Please visit the thread over here or just skip directly to the website. We'd love to see your goodies. Wow, that sounds dirty. Undecided
6  UNITED STATES / Nebraska / Howdy Nebraska! Come to Iowa this summer for Market Day! on: April 14, 2010 09:03:37 PM
We're going into our second season of Market Day this summer, and we'd love to have you. Last year we had an amazing showing of artists and cool crafters from across Iowa and even into Minnesota and Nebraska, which actually sort of surprised us for a one-day monthly event.

So this year I'm encouraging cross-state applications. The deadline to apply for May is May 1. Market Day happens the last Saturday of every month, May-October and there's a special Black Friday sale in November. The application deadline each month is the first of said month, and you need only apply once per season.

Please visit the thread over here or just skip directly to the website. We'd love to see your goodies. Wow, that sounds dirty. Undecided
7  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: What can I do better to get into a craft show? on: July 29, 2009 08:51:17 PM
I administrate a small arts show in my day job. You probably would not be juried into ours because, yes, the shows are jewelry heavy. What's more, the jewelers are making their own glass beads, doing extensive metalwork, and have more individualistic-looking pieces. I could place your work with a number of vendors who have applied to our show in the past; most of those who consistently get in have very unique styles.

Also, I don't know about other organizers, but I find it weird to be contacted by people who weren't juried in. I know that it's helpful to get feedback, but my assumption in working with the artists who apply is that they are professionals. Professionals are accustomed to being accepted and rejected from shows. It all depends on the type of show, but there might be better ways for feedback. I work for a nonprofit, so I might be more amenable to someone asking me to coffee or catching me at an artist professional development event.

Just some info for the future. Develop an identifiable style, get your feedback through peer critiques and by making connections to people who can give it to you.
8  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: help! fan art or copyright infringement? on: July 29, 2009 08:31:07 PM
You can put a disclaimer on it, but it does no legal good. Still, you are almost certainly not going to rile Nintendo.
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